Theses Doctoral

Professional and Petty: An Investigation Into the Social and Individual Conditions That Promote Instigated Acts of Workplace Incivility Between Black Professionals

Pegues, DeMarcus A.

The crabs-in-a-barrel (CIB) mentality—a specialized form of incivility that occurs among members of the same ingroup (i.e., intragroup incivility)—is an understudied yet destructive and consequential intragroup phenomenon. As previous studies on the CIB mentality among the Black community have primarily focused on targets of the deviant behavior, this study trailblazed by serving as the first to employ a mixed methods design to investigate the environmental, perceptual, and affective antecedents of instigated Black-on-Black (B-o-B) incivility in the workplace. More specifically, the present study adopted a social-interactionist approach to investigate whether various aspects of work climate (i.e., institutional discrimination, interpersonal prejudice, and competitive work climate); affective states (i.e., emotional taxation); and workgroup composition factors (i.e., perceived collective and competitive minority threats) were positively associated with instigated B-o-B incivility in the workplace. To that end, a cross-sectional design was employed with a U.S. based sample of 523 full-time Black professionals across various organizations and industries. The proposed hypotheses were tested using logistic regression analyses.
Overall, the results showed that collective minority threat and experienced incivility were the most consistently significant predictors of instigated B-o-B incivility in the proposed model—with experienced incivility showing the greatest effect on the outcome variable between the two. Moreover, participants reported that there were 10 primary reasons and/or justifications for acting uncivilly towards another Black employee at their job within the past year. This study provides further support and validation to the notion that the CIB phenomenon represents another variant of the workplace incivility construct. Additionally, this study broadens the workplace incivility discussion and research stream by offering unique insight into the perspectives of racial minority instigators of uncivil behavior at work. The results hold considerable implications for practitioners and organizations seeking to better understand, and address, the issue of intragroup incivility in the workplace—particularly as it relates to Black professionals. Theoretical implications and directions for future research are also discussed.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Social-Organizational Psychology
Thesis Advisors
Coleman, Peter T.
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
May 15, 2018