Cultivating Respect and Candor in the Workplace


Respectful workplace cultures make a difference. Academic institutions that are seen as positive places in which to work will attract and retain high capable talent. Teams can manage conflict collaboratively and cope with workplace challenges and change better when workplace cultures are respectful. Other benefits of respectful workplaces include: improved morale, job satisfaction, retention, teamwork, engagement, and productivity. Yet, when there is a lack of respect or incivility in the workplace, a dysfunctional team environment is created in which relationships breakdown and productivity declines. Survey data suggest that 27% of respondents have current or past direct experiences with abusive conduct at work and 21% have witnessed it (

Methods and/or Description of Project

Workplace bullying has been reported in various health professions including education and nursing (Johnson, S. L. and Rea, R. E., 2009). Workplace bullying interferes with and possibly sabotages work from getting done. It is repeated, health-harming mistreatment of one or more persons (the targets) by one or more perpetrators and is abusive conduct that is threatening, humiliating, or intimidating (Workplace Bullying Institute U.S., 2014). According to the Workplace Bullying Institute U.S., the majority (68%) of bullying is same-gender aggravation; 62% of bullies are men; 58% of targets are women; and women bullies target women in 80% of cases (2014). Euphemisms intended to trivialize bullying and its impact on people who are bullied include: Incivility, Disrespect, Difficult People, Personality Conflict, Negative Conduct, Ill Treatment. Often, these terms are used in our professional situations to describe or minimize the bullying behaviors that are occurring within physical therapy practice settings or professional association interactions.


The purpose of this program is to discuss ways in which to foster respectful and productive workplace cultures. Strategies to foster candor and respectful behaviors will be identified and methods used to help individuals push back on disrespectful behaviors will be examined. Participants will be encouraged to contribute to interactive discussions throughout the session.

Conclusions/Relevance to the conference theme: The Pursuit of Excellence in Physical Therapy Education

Academic and clinical faculty play a crucial role in establishing and sustaining the culture of the workplace through the behaviors they model and through the behaviors they expect from their team members. Positive workplace cultures are built by demonstrating respectful behaviors consistently. Low negative behaviors such as rudeness, discourteousness, swearing or shouting at individuals, excluding certain people, or not acknowledging all team members equally impact performance and can and should be addressed so they don’t negatively impact the culture.


Achor, S. (2010). The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology that Fuel Success and Performance at Work. New York, New York: Crown Publishing Group.
Cohen, J., Cardillo, R., & Pickeral, T. (2011). Creating a Climate of Respect. Vol. 69(1).
Mental Health Commission of Canada 2012, Psychological Health & Safety: An Action Guide for Employees. Mental Health Commission of Canada, Calgary & Ottawa.
Sutton, R. I. (2010). The No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace & Surviving in One that Isn’t. Business Plus.
Workplace Bullying Institute

Course Objectives

Discuss data related to workplace incivility.
Identify behaviors associated with civility and respect.
Examine benefits of respectful workplace cultures in physical therapy education.
Discuss the direct impact that academic and clinical faculty have on fostering respectful workplace cultures.
Identify strategies to foster candor and respectful behaviors within teams.
Examine methods to help individuals push back on disrespectful behaviors.
Discuss action plans for changing cultures of incivility.

Instructional Methods

Lecture, Small Group work, Case scenarios (skill development), Multi-media

Tentative Outline/Schedule

1.5 hours (90 min.)
10 min. Behaviors Associated with Civility and Respect
10 min. Trends in Workplace Incivility
10 min. Benefits of Respectful Workplace Cultures in Physical Therapy Education
15 min. Impact: Role of Academic and Clinical Faculty in Fostering Respectful Workplace Cultures
15 min. Strategies to Foster Candor and Respect within Teams
10 min. Methods: Pushing Back on Disrespectful Behaviors
10 min. Changing Cultures of Incivility: Action Planning
10 min. Wrap Up and Q&A

BACK to Abstract Results

  • Control #: 2527699
  • Type: Educational Session
  • Event/Year: ELC2016
  • Authors: Dr. Jennifer Green-Wilson, Janet Bezner, Ira Gorman
  • Keywords:

BACK to Abstract Results