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Combating workplace bullying by focusing on workplace incivility
journal contributionposted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 by Simon BurgessSimon Burgess, Dale TrottDale Trott
Workplace bullying is now commonly regarded as an occupational health and safety issue. Yet it is also important to fully understand the connection between workplace bullying and problems of workplace incivility, i.e., conduct that is, for example, impolite, thoughtless or rude. While such forms of conduct are well recognised as unpleasant and disruptive, they are generally less serious than workplace bullying. At the same time, however, it must be acknowledged that bullying tends to begin with problems of incivility. Consistent with this, there is good reason to believe that by assisting staff at all levels to understand and resolve problems of incivility, there is room to prevent these instances from escalating into cases of workplace bullying. This article advances three recommendations to enhance workplace civility and to thereby combat workplace bullying. The first relates to workplace training needs, the second concerns the language in which troublesome workplace conduct is described, and the third is a call for legislative reform.