Date of Conferral





Public Policy and Administration


Karel Kurst-Swanger


Uncivil behavior in the workplace can cause absenteeism or low job performance among employees, yet little academic literature addresses this relationship, particularly in the public sector. The purpose of this phenomenological study was to use the transactional analysis of communication (TAC) model to explore the ramifications of incivility in the Veterans Health Administration (VHA). The central research questions focused on employee perceptions of incivility and effective communication within the VHA. Twelve VHA employees were recruited for participation through a snowball sampling technique. Data were collected through in-depth interviews with the participants along with some VHA archived video training. Data were inductively coded and analyzed for emergent themes. Key findings revealed that VHA lacked effective communication, and malingering occurred due to workplace incivility. It was concluded that TAC curtailed misunderstandings of social dysfunctions in communicating. Another theme that emerged is that although workplace relationships were highly esteemed by employees, they believed that communication issues hindered those professional relationships and suggested training could be a valuable tool to improve workplace communication and reduce incivility. It was recommended that similar studies of this phenomenon be conducted for greater understanding and knowledge to the discipline. TAC served to effect positive social change by educating VHA leadership and their employees on how to thwart incivility in the workplace.