As Society Becomes Meaner, the Workplace is Becoming a Sanctuary

With uncivil behavior on the rise, Americans are finding that the one place most likely to provide refuge from society’s increasingly pervasive and offensive behavior and language is the workplace, according to a new findings reported by communications and engagement firm Weber Shandwick.

According to the seventh annual Civility in America poll conducted by Weber Shandwick and Powell Tate with KRC Research, 69 percent of Americans identify a “major” civility problem, a record high since the inception of the poll in 2010.

An even greater number of Americans — 75 percent — say that incivility in America has risen to crisis levels, a significant increase from 70 percent in January 2016. The most recent survey was conducted in December 2016.

However, nearly nine in 10 employed Americans (86 percent) say that their place of employment is civil.

Further, nearly two-thirds (63 percent) agree that people are more civil at work than outside of work.

Whether there is a financial motivation to act civilly on the job (uncivil behavior could derail a promotion or lead to termination), or because workers know collaboration gets the work done, it seems that the workplace has the potential to be largely an incivility-free zone or refuge from the harsh incivility that has taken root in our public squares.

This is a remarkable finding given how pervasive incivility is in our society.

For the past seven years, the Civility in America survey has tracked a perception among Americans that there is a severe civility deficit in our nation.

When asked to write in what incivility means to them, respondents most typically refer to it as “rudeness,” “uncivilized” and “anti-social.”


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