Bystander Reactions to Workplace Incivility: The Role of Gender and Discrimination Claims


  • Samantha Sinclair


Will men and women receive the same support at work when they claim to have been discriminated against? This paper reports a scenario-based experimental study (N = 240, 50.4% women, M age = 25.65) that investigated bystanders’ reactions to an incident where a co-worker is treated in a condescending manner by another co-worker. The results showed that women reacted more strongly to the incivility incident and were more willing to support and defend the co-worker. As expected, the gender difference in helping intentions was especially prominent when the co-worker attributed the incident to gender discrimination, compared to a control condition with an attribution unrelated to gender. Further, when the incident was attributed to discrimination, the female co-worker evoked somewhat stronger helping intentions than the male co-worker, suggesting the presence of gender bias. The results are discussed in relation to the prototype perspective of perceived discrimination.