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Explaining Incivility in the Workplace: The Effects of Personality and Culture


Wu Liu, Department of Management and Marketing, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hung Hom, Kowloon, Hong Kong, China; e-mail:


This study examines individual and cultural antecedents of incivility in the workplace, using a sample of MBAs and EMBAs from Taiwan and the United States. We predicted that individual achievement orientation would enhance incivility, based on Dollard’s frustration aggression hypothesis, and that those who were higher in direct conflict self-efficacy (i.e., beliefs in one's skills in managing direct conflict) would be higher in incivility. These predictions were supported. We also predicted, and found, that collectivism orientation constrains these main effects, so that for those high in collectivism, the impact of achievement orientation and direct conflict self-efficacy is weak or nonexistent. Implications for conflict management are discussed.