2.3 Civility Matters

The Golden Rule. Ethical reciprocity. Civil and considerate conduct. The tenet of ‘do unto others’ was recorded in literature and laws in ancient Babylonia, Egypt, China, Greece, and Rome. I would like to invite you to consider how the simple act of paying attention to others has transformative effects on our relationships at home, at work, and at school.

What is civility?
Civility is a set of skills, values, and character traits that include consideration for others, fairness, kindness, and manners as we engage with others in everyday life. It is a concept as old as time that is seeing its revival through the work of P.M. Forni and his books Choosing Civility and The Civility Solution: What to Do When People Are Rude.

P.M. Forni is a professor at Johns Hopkins University and the co-founder of the Johns Hopkins Civility Project “aimed `at assessing the significance of civility, manners and politeness in contemporary society.”

Dr. Forni explains the role civility plays in society, at the workplace, in education, and at home in this brief video:


What does civility have to do with business or the workplace?

The Washington Post’s Joyce E. A. Russell explains how civility will allow you to build a long-term relationship with your customers and strengthen the loyalty of your co-workers, employees, suppliers, and partners.

Some see incivility as a lack of manners. Others have even told me they think civility is a sign of weakness. Whatever the reason, there is no excuse for treating people with a lack of respect and professionalism or showing just plain bad manners.

Why is civility on the job such an important issue? Incivility reflects poorly on the workplace. It sends a message to customers about the firm and is related to increased consumer complaints. It also affects employee loyalty — why would your talented people want to stay when rudeness is the norm? A lack of civility also drains productivity because employees are spending emotional time stressed out about one another. Read more…


Ethical Leadership
Tim Cook is the CEO of Apple Inc., the largest company in the world. Consider his thoughts regarding leadership and the roots of his philosophy.

How can civility help in all in our interpersonal communications?
Brené Brown is a renowned researcher and speaker right here at the University of Houston. Her influential and enlightening work allows us to consider how we can relate to one another to form more meaningful relationships. Click here to learn about Dr. Brown’s work.

Brene Brown: Empathy

Brene Brown: The power of vulnerability


Civility checklist:

Based on Dr. Forni’s book Choosing Civility.
Image source: http://speakyourpeaceswc.org


Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

Foundations of Management Information Systems Copyright © 2019 by Emese Felvegi; OpenStax; University of Minnesota Libraries; and Saylor Academy is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.