SCORE (Strengthening a Culture Of Respect and Engagement) Overview

SCORE Overview

SCORE is a facilitated workgroup program run over 5 x 90 minute sessions, scheduled 3 to 4 weeks apart. SCORE invites all workgroup members to participate in the sessions. SCORE begins with an employee survey to identify the workgroup’s strengths and challenges while providing a benchmark for assessing progress.

SCORE works as a facilitated group process, delivered by a facilitator, preferably working with a co-facilitator who is an employee of the participating organization. The facilitators work with group, leading them through the process, with the internal co-facilitator supporting the workgroup between each session.

The primary condition for SCORE is that members of a workgroup want to strengthen their social climate to be more respectful and accepting. It does not need to be a unanimous decision, but it requires people to actively participate in the process. Workgroups implement SCORE themselves – SCORE is not done to a workgroup.

SCORE Overview1

The Objective

The goal of SCORE is increased respect among people as well as a greater capacity for all employees to meet the challenges of working in highly pressured and stressful environments. Progress is assessed through a baseline and follow-up survey as well as through institutional data on absenteeism, complaints, retention, bullying and other incidents.


Research Element (Pre, During and Post Program)

The beauty of the SCORE program is its evidence based approach to dealing with bad behaviour and burnout. Following on from over 40 years of research across the world on what drives incivility and poor behaviour, SCORE has learned from the impactful components of a previous program called CREW (Civility, Respect and Engagement at Work) deployed across the US Veterans Health Administration (Veteran’s Hospitals) to provide targeted interventions in a broader organisational setting.

A critical part of the SCORE program is a pre-program survey to understand the current drivers of incivility across the organisation. A standard approach is then to select the workgroups for the first wave based on these results. As workgroups undertake the SCORE program, pulse surveys conducted during the program and a post-program survey at the completion of the SCORE program track the results. These surveys are also used to continue Dr Leiter’s global research in his field of expertise.

SCORE is very highly researched with a number of academic papers and journals describing effectiveness of the program. One relevant article is from a recent ABC story:

SCORE Overview2 Winner

In September 2019, Steople (previously known as PeopleScape) won the Australian College of Organisational Psychologists (APS) 2019 Workplace Excellence Awards for its collaboration with Michael Leiter on The SCORE Program: Strengthening a Culture Of Respect and Engagement (SCORE) under the Organisational Development Category.

SCORE Overview 3 Sessions

Session 1: Acknowledging Respect

The first session introduces the core ideas of SCORE. The facilitator informs participants of the process, aims and expectations. The group develops ground rules to assure psychological safety and confidentiality. The activities develop participants’ capacity to make sense of social cues in day-to-day interactions.

Session 2: Promoting Respect

A major focus of Session 2 is appreciating the power of reciprocity for good or ill. Although people often respond rudely to rudeness, they often respond kindly to kindness. This session emphasises the potential of actively promoting respect as a means of strengthening the workgroup culture.

Session 3: Responding to Disrespect

In addition to promoting the positive, SCORE develops participants’ capacity to respond to the negative. Session 3 considers options when people behave badly towards one another. The activities consider issues of power—what changes when the other person has a position of authority or influence? How can members of the workgroup support one another in responding effectively to disrespect?

Session 4: Working Regardless

Ideally, people trust and respect everyone they encounter at work. However, responsibilities at times requires them to work with people whose competence or good intentions they doubt. Session 4 explores this conundrum, considering practical options that give priority to the workgroup’s mission. Although people may wish that they could avoid such situations entirely, at times they are unavoidable.

Session 5: Integrating Respect into Worklife

Strengthening a workgroup culture is a way of life, not a one-time miracle cure. In Session 5 participants develop practices, rituals, games, and meeting agenda items that keep respect as a matter of concern and action and build on the progress to achieve ongoing success.


Interested? Contact Michael P. Leiter, PhD:




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