Date of Award

8-2019

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Psychology

Committee Member

Fred Switzer, Committee Chair

Committee Member

Patrick Rosopa

Committee Member

Robin Kowalski

Abstract

The proliferation of telecommunication technology over the past three decades has redefined the nature of work for many. Today, employees may use such tools to work remotely, fulfilling some or all of their duties away from an office and their colleagues. Organizational researchers generally view remote work favorably, as it is tied to improvements in job satisfaction and performance. However, some behavioral researchers have identified online communication attitudes that are related to counternormative online behavior. Known as Online Disinhibition, these attitudes propagate low intensity interpersonal deviances that are analogous to what organizational researchers call Cyber-Incivility. Despite its relevance to deviance and remote work literature, no study has investigated Online Disinhibition in an organizational context.

Accordingly, this study seeks to establish Online Disinhibition's relevance to remote work by demonstrating its relation to cyber incivility through a survey study of remote workers via Amazon's Mechanical Turk. Results from a pilot study (n=51) found that roughly three-fifths of the sampling population reported some occurrence of instigated uncivil behaviors. Additionally, Online Disinhibition appears to be positively related to uncivil behaviors among these respondents. These results were replicated in a full survey study (n = 257), however, results for both hypotheses appeared to differ when Victimized Cyber Incivility was removed as a control. The interpretation of these findings, along with their limitations and implications for future research and applications are discussed.

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