Workplace incivility: a concept analysis

Contemp Nurse. 2015;50(1):115-25. doi: 10.1080/10376178.2015.1010262. Epub 2015 Mar 3.


This study aimed to describe the meaning of the concept 'workplace incivility' and promote consistency in its application in nursing research and practice. The methodology introduced by Walker and Avant was used to analyze this concept. A total number of 50 studies that had essentially addressed the concept of incivility in employees' work environment was selected. Ambiguous intent, violation of mutual respect, low intensity and lack of physical assault were identified as the defining attributes of workplace incivility. The necessary antecedent of workplace incivility consisted of the presence of two or more people, with one or more as the source of the incivility, and another or others as its target in the workplace. Moreover, certain individual and organisational factors were the potential antecedents of workplace incivility. Possible negative outcomes for victims, witnesses, organisations, society and perpetrators of such behaviours, such as increased cost for the organisation, reduced citizenship performance, psychological distress and anxiety were identified as outcomes of workplace incivility. Results of the current concept analysis can guide nurse managers to design interventions so that the occurrence of workplace incivility can be reduced. Further studies can focus on testing the psychometric properties of the existing workplace incivility scales, especially uncivil behaviours experienced by nurses across different societies or cultures.

Keywords: concept analysis; nursing; walker and avant; workplace incivility.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Interprofessional Relations*
  • Male
  • Nurse Administrators / psychology*
  • Nurses / psychology*
  • Organizational Case Studies
  • Organizational Culture*
  • Stress, Psychological
  • Workplace / psychology*
  • Young Adult