But we’re here to help! Positive buffers of the relationship between outsider incivility and employee outcomes
Management and Entrepreneurship
incivility from sources outside the organization (e.g., customers, patients) is increasingly recognized as an important workplace stressor, having been linked to a variety of negative outcomes. It is therefore becoming more important to understand not only the negative effects of outsider incivility, but also potential buffers of these negative effects. As such, the current study sought to explore the impact of outsider incivility directed towards emergency workers (called “victim” incivility) and to identify and test potential positive psychological buffers of the relationship between victim incivility and burnout, physical symptoms and objective absenteeism. Specifically, utilizing a resource perspective, we sought to determine whether work engagement and empathy buffered these negative effects. Survey data from 208 firefighters at two time points showed that victim incivility predicted burnout, physical symptoms and absenteeism, and that both engagement and empathy ameliorated some negative outcomes of victim incivility, including burnout and physical symptoms. Theoretical and practical implications of the research are discussed and areas for future research are proposed.