Workplace Incivility Training: A Model of Training Effectiveness

Date of Completion

January 2011


Psychology, Industrial




Workplace incivility is widespread and toxic as it has deleterious implications for employee and organizational functioning. Accordingly, researchers and practitioners emphasize that organizations should take proactive steps to combat incivility. Employee training is suggested as an important component of such efforts, but no research has examined the factors that influence the effectiveness of workplace incivility training. ^ The present study addresses this need through the development and test of a multilevel model of workplace incivility training effectiveness. The central aim of the model was to address how conditions within a work group influence attitudes about incivility training and motivation to learn. Distal predictors of motivation to learn were posited to include psychological and work group climate for civility, as well as personal and ambient experiences of workplace incivility. These predictors were hypothesized to drive both positive (training discrepancy) and negative (training skepticism) pre-training attitudes, which in turn were expected to influence motivation to learn. Motivation to learn was positioned as a predictor of training outcomes. Finally, individual differences were hypothesized as moderators of individual-level effects on motivation to learn. ^ Data collected via baseline surveys were used to test relationships between the predictors and motivation to learn. To examine effects of motivation to learn, a second data collection was carried out in which employees completed surveys before and after participating in a training session on workplace incivility. Hierarchical linear modeling was used to test the hypothesized relationships. ^ Results suggest that the influence of climate for civility and incivility experiences on motivation to learn is largely indirect via pre-training attitudes. Training skepticism and training discrepancy have conflicting influences on motivation to learn, and in turn, motivation to learn has positive effects on training outcomes. Although training discrepancy is affected by contextual influences, training skepticism is influenced exclusively by individual-level predictors. No support was found for the hypothesized interactions. Findings from the present study will be valuable for practitioners as they seek to maximize trainee motivation to learn prior to administering training. In addition to elaborating on these practical implications, the strengths and limitations of the study and directions for future research are discussed. ^