Monday, July 5, 2010

The Cost of Bad Behavior: How Incivility Is Damaging

Book Club... And Then Some!

The Cost of Bad Behavior: How Incivility Is Damaging


by Christine Pearson and Christine Porathail

Book Review by
Richard L. Weaver II, Ph.D.
This is a well-organized, thorough examination of incivility.  Chapters 1-4 introduce the concept of incivility (its prevalence and characteristics), Chapters 5-11 discuss its costs, whom it hurts and how, and Chapters 12-17 describe in detail what individuals, organizations, and society can do to promote a civil environment.  Reading through all the causes for incivility in the workplace—they are many and varied—one not only begins to understand the nature of incivility, but some of the unfortunate characteristics of our society as well and how demographics, competition, selfishness, time compression, information access, and individual stress contribute to the problem and make it worse. 

Pearson and Porath’s definition—“the exchange of seemingly inconsequential inconsiderate words and deeds that violate conventional norms of workplace conduct"—and the examples they offer of workplace incivility, will make it clear how pervasive such conduct is.

The costs they discuss of bad behavior—decreased individual/team performance, stress/burnout, turnover, and reputation damage—drive their points home. 

Reading this book should be imperative for all organizations, not just those interested in obtaining the highest return on their investments.

The research and documentation is extensive, the writing is both clear and compelling, and their wealth of real-life stories, make this book an outstanding choice.  Also, in the final chapters, the authors offer specific methods for recognizing and responding to the signs of incivility, even though they acknowledge as well, that there are no easy answers.this


This book is available from The Cost of Bad Behavior: How Incivility Is Damaging

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