, Volume 66, Issue 7-8, pp 492-505
Date: 07 Jan 2012

Observing Incivility toward Coworkers and Negative Emotions: Do Gender of the Target and Observer Matter?

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Abstract

The purpose of the present study was to examine the relationship between observing incivility toward coworkers and negative emotions for observers. We also examined the roles target and observer gender play in this relationship. Participants included 453 restaurant employees (68% female, 76% White) mostly from the Midwest region of the U.S. who completed an online survey assessing observed incivility toward male and female coworkers. They also completed measures of anger, demoralization, fear, and anxiety at work. Results showed that participants reported more negative emotionality when they witnessed incivility toward same-gender coworkers compared to opposite-gender coworkers; this relationship was especially pronounced for male observers for anger, fear, and anxiety, and female observers for demoralization. These findings highlight the importance of secondary gender-based mistreatment and emotions in organizational contexts.

Portions of this research were presented at the Work, Stress, and Health conference, San Juan, Puerto Rico 2009.