Location! Location. Location? Investigating the impact of status and context on incivility in academia

A. Irwin* (Corresponding Author), C. Irvine, B. Bekes, E. Nordmann

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Incivility has been reported as having an adverse impact on student learning, faculty staff retention and student commitment within Higher Education. As such this behaviour has the potential to reduce student achievement and could have a financial impact. The aim of this research was to examine the impact of teaching context (lecture versus tutorial) and instigator status (staff versus student) on the perception and impact of incivility in academia. Study 1 recruited Scottish participants and utilised a vignette-based approach to evaluate status and context effects across four teaching scenarios. Study 2 recruited participants from the UK and Ireland and used an online survey to gather quantitative and qualitative data investigating uncivil behaviours within lectures and tutorials. The results indicate that the uncivil behaviours absenteeism, non-participation, ignoring and unrelated behaviours were all more frequent during a lecture than a tutorial. Uncivil behaviours were associated with a higher emotional impact within tutorials and an assertive response. In terms of status student behavior was perceived as more uncivil than the equivalent staff behavior, yet a higher emotional response was reported for staff as opposed to student incivility. These results indicate the need for a tailored context-specific approach to addressing incivility within Higher Education.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)30-48
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Further and Higher Education.
Issue number1
Early online date22 Jan 2020
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Incivility
  • status
  • context


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