McDonough School of Business
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Master Civility in the Workplace

Master Civility in the Workplace

Christine Porath, associate professor of management at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business, has been instrumental in raising the issue of the negative effects incivility has on workers, the workplace, and companies.  Unfortunately, despite efforts by her and others, incivility in the workplace is on the rise.

In her new book, Mastering Civility: A Manifesto for the Workplace, Porath explains why it pays to be civil and recommends how leaders, managers, and employees can create a more positive work environment. 

“If you’re experiencing incivility, don’t brush it off,” wrote Porath.  “Seemingly minor words and deeds have an impact—not just on individuals but also on teams.  It’s time for all to take it more seriously.  Otherwise, the harm we cause or experience will likely build and perhaps, one day, become devastating.”

Throughout her career, Porath has researched the work experiences of tens of thousands of people across six continents in nearly every industry and type of organization, including start-ups, Fortune 500 giants, nonprofits, and government agencies. She has discovered the one question that defines an individual’s professional success more than any other: “What do you want to be?”

“Just because you’re not leading an organization doesn’t mean you can’t still make it better for anyone,” said Porath. “In fact, my research confirms that your kindness, consideration, and respect can have a potent effect, creating a positive dynamic of civility that others will respond to and build on.”

Mastering Civility is a practical guide for leaders trying to build civil workplaces and for anyone trying to become more effective and influential at work. It is divided into four sections: Part One describes incivility and its associated costs; Part Two asks readers to evaluate how they treat others and what they can do increase their influence and effectiveness; Part Three presents a four-step approach to making organizations more civil; and Part Four offers advice on what people who are a target of incivility should do.

“Take this advice and science in this book, and make your team, organization, and society just a little bit better,” said Porath.