Original Research

The validation of a workplace incivility scale within the South African banking industry

Olivia Smidt, Leon T. de Beer, Lizelle Brink, Michael P. Leiter
SA Journal of Industrial Psychology | Vol 42, No 1 | a1316 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajip.v42i1.1316 | © 2016 Olivia Smidt, Leon T. de Beer, Lizelle Brink, Michael P. Leiter | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 09 October 2015 | Published: 05 May 2016

About the author(s)

Olivia Smidt, WorkWell Research Unit, North-West University, South Africa
Leon T. de Beer, WorkWell Research Unit, North-West University, South Africa
Lizelle Brink, WorkWell Research Unit, North-West University, South Africa
Michael P. Leiter, Centre for Organizational Research & Development, Acadia University, Canada


Orientation: Workplace incivility holds consequences for both individuals and organisations. Managers are becoming increasingly aware of this phenomenon. Currently, there is no workplace incivility scale validated for use within the South African context.

Research purpose: To investigate the reliability and validity of the adapted workplace incivility scale by Leiter and colleagues for use within South Africa.

Motivation for the study: As it is currently difficult to measure workplace incivility within the South African context because of the lack of a valid and reliable scale, it is necessary to validate such a scale.

Research design, approach and method: A cross-sectional research approach was used for the study. Convenience sampling (N = 345) was used within the South African banking industry. Specifically, the factor structure, convergent validity, discriminant validity and predictive validity were investigated in order to establish the overall validity of the scale.

Main findings: The results confirmed that the scale showed a three-factor structure as bestfitting with acceptable reliability coefficients. Furthermore, discriminant validity could be shown between workplace incivility and workplace bullying, that is, supporting that these two constructs are not the same phenomenon. In terms of relationships, colleague incivility did not significantly predict any of the outcome variables and instigated incivility only being a negative predictor of job satisfaction and a borderline statistically significant negative predictor of work engagement. However, supervisor incivility predicted all the outcomes negatively.

Practical/Managerial implications: Based on the results, workplace incivility should be addressed because of the harmful effects it can have, not only on employees but also on organisations. It is therefore necessary for managers to create awareness of workplace incivility in order to ensure that it does not integrate within the organisational culture and affect individual and organisational performance.

Contribution/Value-add: The study contributes to the limited research available in South Africa regarding workplace incivility by providing a scale that is valid and reliable.


Validation, workplace incivility, workplace bullying, work engagement, organisational commitment, job satisfaction, turnover intention, South Africa, banking industry


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