Assessing Workgroup Norms for Civility: The Development of the Civility Norms Questionnaire-Brief

Abstract

Purpose

This research describes the development and validation of the Civility Norms Questionnaire-Brief (CNQ-B), a 4-item measure designed to assess workgroup climate for civility. Climate for civility is defined as employee perceptions of norms supporting respectful treatment among workgroup members.

Design/Methodology/Approach

Five samples (N = 2,711) of adult employees, including two from distinct organizations and three from multiple organizations, responded to the CNQ-B and additional measures.

Findings

Evidence for the internal consistency, and convergent and discriminant validity of the CNQ-B was observed. Additionally, evidence for the criterion-related and incremental validity of the CNQ-B was demonstrated as it was a significant predictor of later-assessed incivility experiences and accounted for significant variability in work attitudes beyond incivility experiences and related measures.

Implications

The CNQ-B is a psychometrically sound instrument despite being composed of only four items. The CNQ-B can be used by researchers and practitioners alike to assess climate for civility, to study climate for civility as a precursor to incivility experiences, and to target workgroups that could benefit from interventions (e.g., training) to enhance civility and reduce incivility.

Originality/Value

This is one of the first studies to conduct a rigorous psychometric assessment of a measure of workgroup climate for civility that is grounded in theory and research on workplace civility and incivility. At four items, the CNQ-B is the shortest assessment tool currently available that is designed for this purpose.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    We thank Christine Porath for sharing four possible items in this item development phase (Porath et al. 2004). None of these remained, however, in the final CNQ-B.

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Acknowledgments

This research was supported in part by Grant Number 5T01OH008610-07 awarded to Vicki Magley from CDC-NIOSH. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of NIOSH.

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Correspondence to Benjamin M. Walsh.

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Walsh, B.M., Magley, V.J., Reeves, D.W. et al. Assessing Workgroup Norms for Civility: The Development of the Civility Norms Questionnaire-Brief. J Bus Psychol 27, 407–420 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10869-011-9251-4

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Keywords

  • Workplace incivility
  • Workplace civility
  • Workplace norms
  • Climate
  • Scale development