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Title: Effect of dispositional factors on computer-mediated communication use and employees' incivility : a study of a historically black university in the United States
Author: Butler Lamar, S. C.
ISNI:       0000 0004 8501 5796
Awarding Body: University of Liverpool
Current Institution: University of Liverpool
Date of Award: 2019
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This thesis diagnoses and proposes action toward addressing issues related to workplace incivility and computer-mediated communication use at my university. The conception of the idea to examine these issues originated from a meeting where one of the university's administrators mentioned the issues and suggested that there was a need to address them. Therefore, the primary objective of this study was to explore the relationships between dispositional factors and computer-mediated communication use, as well as the influence of computer-mediated communication use on (in)civility in my organizational environment. Constructed point-by-point throughout this thesis is the whole argument that such relationships exist. This study was undertaken to propose an action plan based on the following: (1) my doctoral and practical knowledge base; (2) the identification of a management issue; (3) literature about (in)civility and computer-mediated communication use; (4) arguments on methods and findings; (5) the development and design of proposed management action and (6) testing of the proposed management action in discussions with relevant stakeholders. Clark's (2013) study on workplace incivility and Kettinger and Grover's (1997) work on computer-mediated communication usage as a determinant of workplace incivility offer the basis for the framework of this study. The approach to conducting this research involved mixed method and participatory action research using the four phases of action research proposed by Coghlan and Brannick (2014). The first phase of this study examined the context of the problem to determine if the issue was worth studying. Phase 2 entailed the development of a plan for examining the issue. Taking action in phase three, involved data collection to diagnose and assess the problem. Finally, phase four involved analysis of the collected data and preparation and sharing of an action plan with employees and pertinent organizational decision makers for feedback via focus group discussion. Although the nature of action research differs from a typical traditional research, to put the study into perspective, at the diagnoses stage (Stage 3), I considered important propositions (hypotheses) based on previous studies. With regard to the data collected to diagnose the issue, the sample size was appropriate and inclusive of the organization's employee population. From the employee population of 729, the sample included 298 university respondents of which, 45.5% were faculty and 52.1% were staff. I used both descriptive and inferential statistics to analyze the data. Findings from the study indicated significant relationships between computer-mediated communication use and perceived task interdependence, perceived usefulness, gender, and employee class. Generally, results of the data collection indicate that workplace incivility does exist in the organizational environment. However, it rarely occurs in the form of a direct attack and most commonly occurs in a passive-aggressive nature. Moreover, in alignment with other studies that applied traditional research methods that have suggested a linkage between computer-mediated communication use and workplace incivility, the results of this study also show significant evidence that the use of computer-mediated communication influences workplace incivility. In addition, based on further examination of the findings based on focus group feedback, this study also specifically exposed a significant correlation between workplace incivility and the use of email as a form of computer-mediated communication. The development of a proposed action plan resulted from the feedback received from the survey. However, in response to the feasibility testing results, which suggest that the proposed action plan was feasible but not detailed or cost-effective, modifications to the plan incorporated a more detailed, cost-effective approach to resolving the organizational issue. Ultimately, based on the findings of the focus group discussions, participant-managers agreed to promote implementation of the proposed action plan based on the findings of the research. Although, the aim of the thesis was not at generalization of its findings, nonetheless, this study offers university administrators insight into the organization's incivility problem and provides implications that can potentially help to address the organizational issue. Its findings also contribute to the previous studies related to incivility in the higher education environment that typically addressed faculty and students while neglecting to include (or specifically specifying the inclusion of) staff (or others working in a supporting capacity) participants in the sample. In addition, this study contributes to previous studies that largely neglect historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in their examination of civility as it relates to the higher education industry.
Supervisor: Awolusi, Olawumi Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.B.A.) Qualification Level: Doctoral