seal  Purdue News

July 10, 2003

Expert talks about civility, violence in workplace

The Mississippi shooting rampage should be a wake-up call for people to be more sensitive to the interpersonal problems that could contribute to such violence, says a Purdue University communications expert.

"Employees are experiencing increasing demands at work; they are working longer hours, changing jobs more often, sleeping less and experiencing a lot of change and uncertainty in this economy," says Beverly Davenport Sypher, who studies communication in the workplace. "It's no wonder they are more temperamental, emotionally exhausted and interpersonally challenged."

Sypher is concerned about the more subtle and harmful kinds of interactions that may not be violent but, nonetheless, have significant effects on workers' health and well-being. She says the increase in workplace incivility, which includes bullying, belittling, lying, threats, namecalling, intimidation and other such aggressive acts, can lead to violence.

Sypher can talk about communicative choices and their role in creating healthy and satisfying workplaces.

CONTACT: Sypher, (765) 494-0664,