Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Paul Spector, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Jennifer Bosson, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Logan Steele, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Walter Borman, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Michael Coovert, Ph.D.


agreeableness, cyber incivility, email communication, gender


Workplace incivility is unfortunately common among employees in today’s workplace. The increase in usage of email, texting, smartphones, and social media for interpersonal workplace communication has led to an increase of these mediums being used in an uncivil manner. While there has been a growth of general workplace incivility research conducted in the past two decades, the extant literature lacks sufficient primary studies that examine technology-related workplace incivility. This research project aims to add to the burgeoning literature in the technology-related incivility content domain. First, it examined the prevalence of email incivility reported by workers and found a much lower prevalence (28.32%) than previously published research in this domain. The researcher conducted a thematic analysis on de-identified rude emails submitted by university faculty; this analysis became the foundation for developing a taxonomy of email incivility. Data from a subsequent survey led to validating and refining this email incivility taxonomy. The final taxonomy is comprised of eight email incivility characteristics: accusations, aggression, contextual factors (e.g., prior history of incivility), inappropriate recipients, inappropriate requests, structural elements, tone, and typographical emphasis. Through a series of four email incivility pilot studies and an experimental study focusing on voicemail incivility, the researcher measured several individual differences to test statistical relationships with ratings of incivility across ambiguous stimuli. Gender differences were consistent across the studies, in that more women than men rated ambiguous stimuli as uncivil. Among the other individual differences measured, only hostile attribution bias consistently predicted ratings of incivility, while agreeableness had varying results, whether measured at the factor or facet-level. The most frequently cited emotional responses to receiving uncivil emails at work were being upset, angry, annoyed, frustrated, and feeling belittled.