Monday, June 20, 2011

Incivility Survey: We're All Just Insufferable Jerks Now

We're all just a bunch of jerks.

It's pretty much the conclusion of a new Weber Shandwick and Powell Tate/KRC Research incivility poll of 1,000 Americans, in which 86% say they've experienced incivility. One wonders if the other 14% surveyed ever leave the house? But get this: 60% admit to being rude right back. We're turning into Alexis and Krystle fighting in the lily pond and waiting for Blake Carrington to bolt out of his passing limo to say, "What the devil is going on here!? Will somebody tell me?"

Ah, the quaint cute-speak of the older generations that allowed them to sound both classy and coherent even when angry. It's amazing to remember how the Dynasty water fight episode was considered ground-breaking and controversial for its use of the phrase "You miserable bitch." Gasp, get out the smelling salts! Now we have Jersey Shore and Bridezillas. We've come a long way, baby.

Our political discourse seems irretrievable at this point and the workplace isn't much better, as Roger Simon of Politico reports:
More than four in 10 Americans have experienced incivility in the workplace, with 65 percent blaming their bosses for it, and 59 percent blaming fellow employees. Younger employees were blamed by 34 percent, and access to the Internet by 25 percent (Is Angry Birds making people angrier?). Older employees did best, blamed for incivility by only 6 percent.

I've covered the topic of workplace incivility more than once, and it's not a new problem. In my experience, incivility research tends to be rather shaky because the term "incivility" can be incredibly subjective. One person's objectionable is another person's no big deal. But it is notable that more than one-third of the people surveyed blame incivility on younger employees while about two-thirds blame the boss. Maybe both sides can work it out in the lily pond?

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