Workplace rudeness happens all of the time, can have health consequences: study

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Rudeness in the workplace happens a lot and can comprise serious effects — including health-related — on the victims, a new report says. 

«It’s utter frequent. It happens all of the time in the workplace,» Sandy Hershcovis told The Homestretch on Thursday.

Hershcovis is the outrun researcher on Targeted workplace incivility: The roles of belongingness, embarrassment, and power, a union study from the University of Calgary’s Haskayne School of Business and London Prepare of Economics and Political Science.

«People have reported rates of up to 99 per cent of man having experienced workplace incivility or also witnessing it. It’s a very prosaic experience and we wanted to understand how it affected people.»

The report defines rudeness as low vehemence, ambiguous behaviour.

«It was a deviant behaviour and it could include things with, walking by someone without saying ‘Hello,’ or talking over someone while they are in joining, stuff like that. It is ambiguous whether they are intending to hurt you,» Hershcovis explained.

Sandy Hershcovis

Sandy Hershcovis, lead researcher on a new workplace rudeness inquiry, says it happens more than most people might weigh and there are some serious consequences. (David Bell/CBC)

She says the consequences can be huge than many people might believe.

«We found that human being who were treated rudely at work experienced higher levels of superabundance, lower levels of belongingness. They felt like they didn’t fit it, and those rewrote into higher feelings of job insecurity and more negative health products, including stomach problems, headaches and sleeplessness.»

Hershcovis adds the effects can ultimately for days or longer and are more intense when it’s a manager or supervisor.

«Co-workers can casually banter and insult each other without getting noticed as much. When superiors do that, people are much more attuned and much more thin-skinned to it.»

Organizations are starting to wake up to the problem, especially universities, she said.

«When people are treated rudely, they intuit like they don’t fit in, they are not valued in the organization. Witnesses have a job. They can go to the target or victim and speak to them, console, make them towards like they do fit in,» Hershcovis said.

«I think that would go a eat ones heart out way to mitigating the effects that we found.»


With files from The Homestretch

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