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Testing the effects of an intervention aimed to increase civility in Swedish workplaces
Malmö University, Faculty of Culture and Society (KS), Department of Urban Studies (US). Malmö University, Centre for Work Life and Evaluation Studies (CTA).ORCID iD: 0000-0002-2077-0243
Malmö University, Faculty of Culture and Society (KS), Department of Urban Studies (US). Malmö University, Centre for Work Life and Evaluation Studies (CTA).
Malmö University, Faculty of Culture and Society (KS), Department of Urban Studies (US). Malmö University, Centre for Work Life and Evaluation Studies (CTA).ORCID iD: 0000-0002-2207-0996
Malmö University, Faculty of Culture and Society (KS), Department of Urban Studies (US). Malmö University, Centre for Work Life and Evaluation Studies (CTA).
2023 (English)In: The future is now - the changing world of work: Book of abstracts, 2023Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Research goals and why the work was worth doing

Over the past two decades, research has demonstrated that workplace incivility is a ubiquitous work environment issue, which can have deleterious consequences for both individuals and organizations (Schilpzand et al., 2016; Cortina et al., 2017). Workplace incivility refers to low-intensity rude behavior in the workplace (Andersson & Pearson, 1999). The effects of incivility can be far-reaching, as it may spread in the workplace (Foulk et al., 2016; Holm et al., 2021). 

One promising avenue to address incivility has been the use of civility interventions. Actively promoting civility in the workplace may reduce the risk for incivility, and increase civility and respect (Leiter et al., 2011; 2012). However, recent research has shown less consistent results of civility interventions when applied in other cultural contexts than North America (e.g., Sawada et al., 2021), or in other workplaces than hospitals (e.g., Grantham, 2019). More information is therefore needed on the effects of implementing civility interventions in the workplace, particularly exploring mechanisms and moderators in the intervention process. The aim of the present study is to test the effects of an intervention aimed to increase civility in Swedish workplaces.

 

Theoretical background

The present study is based on the principles developed in the Civility, Respect and Engagement in the Workplace (CREW) intervention (Osatuke et al., 2013).  CREW was developed by the United States Department of Veteran Affairs in 2005. CREW was a culture-based workplace intervention promoting civility in the workplace in the departments’ VA-hospitals, with documented successful outcomes (Osatuke et al., 2009). Two research studies tested the effect of the CREW intervention in hospitals in North America, showing both short- and long-term effects of the intervention on workplace behavior, attitudes, and absence (Leiter et al., 2011; 2012). However, little is still known about how civility interventions operate in other contexts than hospitals, and which mechanisms or boundary conditions that influence the impact of civility interventions.  

 

Design/Methodology/Approach/Intervention

The present study has a quasi-experimental waitlist-control design. Participating workplaces are assigned to one of two conditions, an intervention condition or waitlist. The intervention group participates in a series of monthly workshops during the period of September 2022 – January 2023. The workshops address topics such as workplace culture, with the aim to promote workplace civility and reduce the risk of workplace incivility. The waitlist serves as the control group. Pre- and post-surveys are conducted to investigate possible effects of the intervention on measures of workplace (in)civility, norms for civility, social work environment factors, as well as work-related well-being. 

 

Results (expected)

Baseline survey data have currently been gathered from about 200 individuals across 13 workplaces in a Swedish municipality. The intervention group is currently undergoing the workshop series. The follow up post-survey is planned for January of 2023. When post-measures have been completed, possible change in measures of workplace civility, norms for civility, and workplace incivility will be explored. Change in social work environment factors, as well as work-related well-being, will also be explored. The intervention is expected to result in increased civility and norms for civility, as well as reduced incivility over time. 

 

Limitations

Workplaces were not assigned to the intervention or control condition via cluster randomization. Instead, it was based on practical aspects such as feasibility and scheduling in the participating organizations. Moreover, the follow-up measure is carried out only a few weeks after completion of the final workshop. Possible effects on behavior or well-being may take longer time to develop. Lastly, the measures are self-reported by participants.

 

Conclusions – research and or practical implications/Originality/Value

Results from the post-measure surveys will be presented at the congress. The originality of the project lies in exploring the effects of an updated version of a civility intervention, in a context outside of hospital settings in North America. The study will also provide information about potential mechanisms and moderators involved in the intervention process. Practically, the knowledge that results from the study could be of use in future attempts to improve the social work environment in workplaces by working with the workplace culture.

 

Relevance to the Congress Theme

The study is relevant to several of the congress themes, e.g. 6. Group dynamics, 8. Organizational design and development, 15. Stress and dysfunction, and 18. Well-being.

 

Relevant UN SDGs

Goal 3. Good health and well-being

Goal 8. Decent work and economic growth

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2023.
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Organisational studies; Arbete och organisation
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:mau:diva-59745OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mau-59745DiVA, id: diva2:1760579
Conference
EAWOP - 21st European Association of Work and Organizational Psychology Congress, 24-27 May 2023, Katowice, Poland
Funder
AFA Insurance, 210121Available from: 2023-05-30 Created: 2023-05-30 Last updated: 2023-08-25Bibliographically approved

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Holm, KristofferCowen Forssell, RebeckaJönsson, SandraBjörk, Josefin

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