Dr Deirdre O'Shea & Dr Janie Bosak (DCU)

Thesis Working Title

The significance of workplace interventions in the reduction of incivility and aggressive behaviours in the Irish healthcare industry

Incivility refers to ambiguous low-intensity and discourteous behaviour.  Incivility can be considered an event in the workplace associated with emotions.  Combining the insights from Affective Events Theory and Interpersonal Sense-Making model of work meaning, may provide insights into the multi-level antecedents that lead to perceptions of incivility in the workplace.  Additionally, the organisational environment, culture, and work design play extremely important roles in defining what is acceptable and non-acceptable behaviour in the workplace.  Thus, combating incivility requires a multi-level approach.  The focus of this research will be healthcare professionals in Ireland as it has been shown that incivility is a prevalent issue in the healthcare sector. This proposed research will conduct three studies which will incrementally provide insights into (a) the role of multi-level factors contributing to incivility and (b) the impact of continued incivility on healthcare employees. 

The first study will be longitudinal and will investigate the effects of incivility among managers and their employees through surveys, which will be administered monthly for a period of six months.  The second study will be an experimental study, which will manipulate perceptions of incivility using vignettes, with the aim to discover the cumulative and buffering effects of various organisational characteristics. The results of the second study will serve to inform the most relevant design and content of the intervention for study 3.  Thus, the third study will involve designing, implementing, and evaluating workplace interventions.  It is projected that the results will have a significant impact on the policies related to employee workplace behaviours and conduct.  Additionally, it will assist management in applying suitable interventions in addressing incivility and aggression. It is also anticipated that the results will enhance management courses and the existing mandatory civility training programmes of healthcare professionals.