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Don’t rock the boat: The moderating role of gender in the relationship between workplace incivility and work withdrawal

Natasha M. Loi (School of Behavioral, Cognitive and Social Sciences, University of New England, Armidale, Australia)
Jennifer M.I. Loh (School of Psychology and Social Science, Edith Cowan University, Perth, Australia)
Donald W. Hine (School of Behavioral, Cognitive and Social Sciences, University of New England, Armidale, Australia)

Journal of Management Development

ISSN: 0262-1711

Article publication date: 2 March 2015

Abstract

Purpose

There is a vast array of literature which investigates the concept and impact of workplace incivility. Evidence suggests that compared to male employees, female employees tend to experience and put up more with workplace incivility. However, there is limited research on how this affects female employee’s willingness to complete work-related tasks. The purpose of this paper is to set out to examine whether gender moderates the role between tolerance for workplace incivility and those behaviours characterised by work withdrawal.

Design/methodology/approach

In total, 317 employees from a range of business industries and governmental agencies completed a quantitative survey of measures relating to their work withdrawal behaviour and their perception of their workplaces’ tolerance for uncivil behaviours.

Findings

Results revealed that when females perceived high levels of tolerance for workplace incivility, they decreased their work withdrawal behaviour. No relationship between tolerance for workplace incivility and work withdrawal was found for males.

Research limitations/implications

The homogeneity of the sample, that is, the sample comprised predominantly of white-collar, White Australian workers.

Practical implications

Improve managers and organisations’ knowledge and understanding about deviant workplace behaviours – especially between male and female employees.

Originality/value

The paper adds to the work in the workplace incivility, diversity-gender and equity research area. Specifically, it highlights how male and female employees react when they perceive that their workplace tolerates deviant behaviours. This knowledge will inform managers and their organisations of a more effective way of managing conflict.

Keywords

Citation

Loi, N.M., Loh, J.M.I. and Hine, D.W. (2015), "Don’t rock the boat: The moderating role of gender in the relationship between workplace incivility and work withdrawal", Journal of Management Development, Vol. 34 No. 2, pp. 169-186. https://doi.org/10.1108/JMD-12-2012-0152

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited