Join getAbstract to access the summary!

How Incivility Shuts Down Our Brains at Work

Join getAbstract to access the summary!

How Incivility Shuts Down Our Brains at Work

re:Work with Google,

5 min read
3 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Incivility at work is not only unpleasant but can keep you from being productive.

Editorial Rating



  • Applicable
  • Eye Opening
  • Engaging


When Dr. Christine Porath finished college and started work at a sports management and marketing firm, she gained firsthand experience of incivility in the workplace. She found that when an executive encourages a culture of incivility, employees down the ladder respond by treating each other poorly, leading to low employee commitment and high turnover. This experience informed her mission to study incivility and its effects on workplace behavior. In this brief, informative talk, Porath outlines the price of incivility at work, which will inspire you to treat others with respect.


The tone of workplace interactions can have a profound effect on performance.

Small interactions can have a significant impact in a workplace environment. When a culture of mutual respect abounds, co-workers feel seen, appreciated and valued. When incivility reigns, people feel excluded, discounted and small, and those feelings influence performance. Some 80% of respondents to a survey reported that, after experiencing incivility, they waste work time ruminating about the interaction, and more than two-thirds admit that they deliberately withhold their best efforts at work following a brush with incivility.

The primary reason people lash out at work is overwhelming stress. Incivility can start with a leader and ripple down through the ranks of the workplace, leading to widespread frustration and discontent. When a workplace culture is saturated with incivility, people’s health and well-being suffer, performance declines...

About the Speaker

Christine Porath is a professor of management at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business. She’s the author of Mastering Civility and Mastering Community. In 2018, she presented a popular talk entitled “Why Being Respectful to Your Coworkers Is Good for Business” at TEDxUniversityofNevada.

Comment on this summary