Moving Forward: Tips for Resolving Conflict and Promoting Civility in the Workplace

Sunday, 17 November 2013: 11:20 AM

Nancyruth Leibold, EdD, RN, MSN, BSN, PHN, LSN
School of Nursing, Minnesota State University-Mankato, Mankato, MN
Laura Marie Schwarz, DNP, RN
School of Nursing, Minnesota State University, Mankato, Mankato, MN

Learning Objective 1: Identify workplace issues that result from incivility in the workplace.

Learning Objective 2: Describe conflict resolution strategies that can be applied to incivility issues in the workplace.


Incivility is a type of conflict that results in a variety of workplace issues around the globe. Disruptive behaviors impact effective communication and errors, compromise patient safety and possibly increase patient mortality (Rosenstein & O’Daniel, 2008).  Spence Laschinger, Leiter, Day, and Gilin (2009) reported that nurse satisfaction and lower turnover rates are related to workplace civility.  Incivility in the workplace is also related to medication safety (Covell, 2010).  In addition, uncivil behaviors, such as intimidation can contribute to poor patient satisfaction (Joint Commission, 2008). Incivility cannot go unchecked in the workplace.  Interventions are needed to address the issues of incivility. This presentation focuses on strategies a nurse may apply in the workplace for Resolving Conflict and Promoting Civility. When nurses are uncivil in the workplace, conflict resolution skills are one tactic that can be applied to manage the conflict.


The use of interventions to resolve conflict in a positive forum before it escalates any further is one valid intervention to address incivility and promote civility in the workplace. Role playing is used in this presentation to demonstrate application of the strategies for dealing with incivility.  An application conflict resolution worksheet specific to addressing incivility is also shared in this presentation. 


The use of conflict resolution skills to deal with incivility has mixed results.  It works well in some situations to de-escalate and resolve incivility with some nurses.  It is one strategy to use to address incivility, however is not the one and only or final solution.


Addressing workplace conflict is the role of all nurses in every setting.  The use of positive, moving forward tips to apply is one step closer to diminishing incivility in the workplace.  Incivility is a complex issue that requires a magnitude of varied interventions to address.