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Interdisciplinary Committee on Organizational Studies - ICOS pres.

Subtle Social Peril: Incivility and Gender Harassment as Impediments to Diversity and Well-being at Work

Dana Kabat-Farr, Dalhousie University

The social landscape at work can prove treacherous, especially for employees who have to navigate experiences of incivility and gender harassment. In this talk, I will present a collection of findings from my research program that suggest not only are deviant behaviors costly, but they are also a way in which covert varieties of sexism and racism persist in today’s organizations. Grounded in theories of modern discrimination, I will display data that illuminates a dark side of organizational life: low-level forms of rudeness and mistreatment that are often disregarded as trivial. I suggest that to truly equal the playing field, organizations must root out interpersonal experiences that undermine women’s (and men’s) success and satisfaction. Further, I will present findings on how the process of incivility harm unfolds as a function of individual differences. However, I will also complicate this picture with my recent research that finds an unexpected potential bright-side to uncivil interactions. The goal of my work is to inform academic theory and to encourage workplace interventions that both minimize incivility and gender harassment and help those experiencing these types of stressors.
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