May 26, 2023

The article “A New Definition of Rude Work Behavior” from Korn Ferry explores the topic of workplace incivility and offers fresh research and perspective on what constitutes rude behavior in the workplace. The author argues that the traditional definition of workplace incivility has become outdated and that it’s time to expand our understanding of what is considered rude behavior. 

There’s a massive gray area that organizations might want to start filling in, experts say. One workplace’s blunt exchange of ideas between coworkers could look like an inappropriate, expletive-laden tirade at another. What constitutes rude varies by industry, geography, and even age. When nearly everyone was in the workplace, communicating and enforcing an organization’s behavioral folkways was relatively easy.


Experts suggest there are three categories of rude behavior that are most prevalent in the workplace. The first is exclusion, where individuals are left out of conversations or events, intentionally or unintentionally. The second is disrespect, which includes acts such as interrupting others, speaking over them, or belittling their contributions. And the third is lack of recognition, where employees’ contributions and achievements are not acknowledged. 

81% of professionals said that workplace rudeness has at least some impact on company performance
60% of professionals say that their coworkers are ruder now than they were before the pandemic

The article emphasizes the importance of addressing and defining rude behavior in the workplace—while offering guidance for leaders and managers to create a culture of civility and safety. Leaders are encouraged to model respectful behavior, acknowledge and address rudeness when it occurs, and provide training and education to employees on how to be civil and respectful to one another. 

The absence of professional standards creates a particularly acute problem for recent hires, experts say. The onus has often been on new employees to find out whether such behaviors as interrupting colleagues is frowned upon or encouraged. KORN FERRY

Overall, the article provides a valuable perspective on the issue of workplace incivility and highlights the need for organizations to take proactive steps to address this issue. By expanding our understanding of what constitutes rude behavior and taking steps to promote a culture of respect and civility, organizations can create a more positive and productive work environment for everyone. 

Read the full article from Korn Ferry



Veronica Bocian