Rude behaviour at work can encompass many behaviours, from ignoring a colleague, to making disparaging comments, to interrupting someone during a meeting. These behaviours may seem quite mild, but the effects can be far reaching and have been linked to: employee burnout, increased stress, increased quitting intention, decreased motivation and feelings of isolation and anxiety. It’s important to understand more about rude behaviours, the factors that influence these behaviours and how best people can cope with rudeness in the workplace. This knowledge can then be used to reduce the impact of rudeness and help support the victims of rudeness.
The APHF team have conducted rudeness research across three main contexts thus far – academia, mental health and veterinary practice (read more via the research links below). The key focus of this research is to understand how people experience rudeness, how they respond and cope with this behaviour, and the factors influencing the experience. Some key findings include:
- Perception of rudeness can vary across different contexts (e.g. rudeness in a lecture theatre is viewed as less noticeable and impactful than rudeness within a smaller workshop / tutorial setting).
- Attitudes towards rudeness can be influenced by perceived causes (e.g. if rudeness is considered to be generated through stress or mental health issues this is more likely to be accepted, or dealt with via empathy, than rudeness that is considered to be linked to a bad mood or internal characteristics / personality).
- Rudeness can have an adverse impact on mental health, wellbeing, self-confidence and lead to withdrawal from work. This was particularly evident for veterinary participants, many of whom experience rudeness frequently, from multiple sources.
- Coping mechanisms tend to focus on maintaining professionalism, talking about the issue with colleagues, reflecting on work practices, and external activities such as hobbies and exercise to mitigate post-event impacts. A supportive work environment is key to dealing with rudeness and reducing any adverse impacts.
If you would like to get involved in this research, or learn more about this topic, contact Dr Irwin (firstname.lastname@example.org).