Supervision Incivility and Employee Psychological Safety in the Workplace

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 Jan 29;17(3):840. doi: 10.3390/ijerph17030840.


Much of the supervision incivility research has focused on the supervisor-subordinate dyad when examining the effects of supervision incivility on employee outcomes. Our study examines a trickle-down effect of supervision incivility across three hierarchical levels, i.e., from the department leader (middle manager), through group leader (supervisor), and to group members (employees), and how it affects group psychological safety. Drawing on a sample of 346 employees and 78 group leaders in 78 work groups, our research found a negative relationship between department leader incivility and group psychological safety, and that this negative relationship was mediated by group leader incivility and moderated by group leader attribution for performance-promotion or injury-initiation motives. We further discuss the theoretical and practical implications of these findings.

Keywords: employee psychological safety; supervision incivility.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Group Processes*
  • Humans
  • Incivility*
  • Leadership
  • Motivation
  • Occupational Health*
  • Social Perception
  • Workplace / psychology*