Witnessing Incivility Among Employees: Effects on Consumer Anger and Negative Inferences About Companies

38 Pages Posted: 14 May 2010 Last revised: 1 Jul 2015

See all articles by Christine Porath

Christine Porath

University of Southern California - Marshall School of Business; Georgetown University - Department of Management

Deborah J. MacInnis

University of Southern California - Marketing Department

Valerie Folkes

University of Southern California - Marshall School of Business

Date Written: May 12, 2010

Abstract

The authors introduce the incivility construct and demonstrate that witnessing an incident of employee-employee incivility causes consumers to make negative generalizations about (a) others who work for the firm, (b) the firm as a whole, and (c) future encounters with the firm; inferences that go well beyond the incivility incident. We demonstrate the process by which these effects occur, showing that anger at the uncivil employee induces these effects. We find that anger leads to rumination about the uncivil encounter and causes customers to make quicker and more negative generalizations about related entities. We also identify boundary conditions for the relationship between incivility and negative generalizations. These process and boundary condition results add theoretically to the literature on incivility as well as work on anger’s effect on information processing.

Keywords: anger, incivility, inferences, consumer behavior

Suggested Citation

Porath, Christine and MacInnis, Deborah J. and Folkes, Valerie, Witnessing Incivility Among Employees: Effects on Consumer Anger and Negative Inferences About Companies (May 12, 2010). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1605805 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1605805

Christine Porath

University of Southern California - Marshall School of Business ( email )

701 Exposition Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90089
United States

Georgetown University - Department of Management

3700 O Street, NW
Washington, NY 20057
United States

Deborah J. MacInnis (Contact Author)

University of Southern California - Marketing Department ( email )

Hoffman Hall 701
Los Angeles, CA 90089-1427
United States

Valerie Folkes

University of Southern California - Marshall School of Business ( email )

701 Exposition Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90089
United States

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