Race as a Moderator of the Relationship Between Personality Factors and Supervisor-Instigated Incivility
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Previous literature has documented both the mediating relationship of particular personality traits on incivility in the workplace, a counterproductive work behavior that is detrimental to both organizations and individual employees, as well as target race as affecting vulnerability to uncivil treatment on the job. The present study investigates the role of supervisor and target race in this relationship between personality and incivility. I hypothesized that similarities between race of the instigator and the target will moderate the relationship of certain personality factors on incivility. A total of 92 students at a large, diverse Southern university completed a self-report questionnaire composed of measures of demographics, personality, and workplace climate. A dummy variable was then constructed indicating whether or not the race of the instigator matched the race of the target and a moderation analysis was conducted for each of four separate personality traits (Extraversion, Agreeableness, Neuroticism, and Conscientiousness). No support was found for the hypothesis. Although the moderator model could not be supported, research should continue to investigate any potential interactions between personality and race on the incidence of incivility in the workplace. As organizations continue to focus on promoting an inclusive work environment that welcomes diversity, they should remain conscious of how these subtle and often unintentional behaviors could be interpreted as rude or discourteous.