This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

When Incivility Becomes Bullying: Assessing Cyberbullying in a Virtual Work Environment




Johnson, Brandon

Type of Degree





Myriad constructs (e.g., harassment, incivility, bullying, abusive supervision, deviance) are subsumed under the larger phenomenon that is workplace mistreatment. To date, no researchers have empirically investigated the underlying assumptions by which these constructs supposedly differ. This lack of investigation has resulted in a fragmented body of research on workplace mistreatment. Several researchers (e.g., Aquino & Thau, 2009; Herschovis, 2011) have called for a need to synthesize relevant literature in this area. The current research represents an attempt to empirically support the need to synthesize literature in this area by examining two workplace mistreatment constructs that are on the same spectrum—incivility and bullying. Several researchers (e.g., Einarsen, Hoel, Zapf, & Cooper, 2011; Monks et al., 2009) have looked at the identifying characteristics that define the construct of workplace bullying in a traditional sense. However, these researchers have not necessarily accounted for the way the workplace is changing. Specifically, there has been limited research on the phenomenon of bullying within a network of people whose jobs exist outside traditional workplace boundaries such as physical space, time, or other limits imposed by traditional job descriptions (Broadfoot, 2011). The current research found that individuals experiencing incivility often reported greater perceptions of bullying than individuals who explicitly experienced bullying.