The Workplace Civility Crisis: A New Book

My new book on workplace incivility has just been released by Springer publishing.

I wrote this book because I recognize that the quality of relationships among people at work makes a meaningful contribution to a workgroup’s wellbeing and productivity. Beyond these practical implications, the dynamics of civility and incivility among people at work provide important insights into basic psychological processes connected with group membership and the ways people engage with their work.

The book builds from five core propositions:

    1. People want to belong to social groups

    2. People notice how others view their status within their social group

    3. Workgroup climates are self-perpetuating

    4. Improving workgroup civility benefits from psychological safety

    5. Improving civility requires a reflective process.

A major theme in the book is that groups can improve the level of civility and respect in their worklife through a reflective process.

    Values. That process begins with clear, shared values about the quality of working relationships.

    Reflection. Those values become more active and meaningful when team members have thoughtful conversations about their relationships.

    Action. Those conversations gain substance when team members take action, beginning with practicing civility within a psychologically safe group environment.

    Application. This practice becomes consequential when team members integrate new ways of interacting in their day-to-day worklife.

An important message from the book—and from the research on which rests—is that workgroups can change for the better.

An important limitation from the book—and from that same research—is that change is an effortful process. It requires groups to make a serious commitment to change, to dedicate time to a changes process, and to focus their attention on bringing that change about.

Neither an inspired group leader nor a visionary executive can develop a workgroup. Positive change is a shared commitment. The process is part of the impact.


  1. Dear Dr. Leiter:

    I agree with you. commitment is a key issue and also a fragil one. Members of the group must be also creative and must share common goals and fair rewards. Leaders should provide the scenario for commitment, taking care of balance among group members, their values, their performance and rewards.
    I think it is rhe only way a workgroup could concentrate in commitment.

  2. Thanks Heriberto
    Creativity is a powerful part of the solution to workgroup challenges. An important role for leaders is developing an environment in which people feel free to explore new ideas.

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