ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2017, Vol. 25 ›› Issue (2): 319-330.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2017.00319

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Beyond incivility in the workplace: Using civility interventions to proactively deescalate workplace incivility

YAN Yu; LI Jiali   

  1. (Department of Psychology, School of Philosophy, Wuhan University, Wuhan 430072, China)
  • Received:2016-01-26 Online:2017-02-15 Published:2017-02-15
  • Contact: YAN Yu, E-mail:


Workplace incivility not only has adverse impact on employees, it may also lead to an escalation where one act of incivility can provoke more serious responses from the targets. Such situations could result in extreme forms of negative interpersonal interactions and the development of an organizational climate of general workplace disrespect. On the contrary, civility can enhance the harmony of interpersonal relationship and has positive impacts on employees. Based the findings of the escalating effect of workplace incivility from current literature, this paper describes multiple paths and causes of the workplace incivility escalation from the perspectives of targets and observers of incivility. Moreover, employing cognitive appraisal theory of emotion, we develop a model on how incivility becomes to escalate through appraisal and emotion, as well as the factors involving in this process. Furthermore, to promote the transformation of workplace incivility into civility, we review the previous studies of the CREW interventions of workplace civility and further analyze the positive influence of civility both on individual and organizational effectiveness and wellbeing.

Key words: workplace incivility, escalation, civility, CREW intervention