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Organizational influences on sexual harassment

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building on broad theories of organizational climate and culture, this chapter examines the hypothesis that an organization's climate for sexual harassment is a critical antecedent to sexually harassing behavior and may be a direct contributor to negative outcomes beyond the personal experiences of sexual harassment / describe scale development of the Organizational Tolerance for Sexual Harassment Inventory (OTSHI), which measures the extent to which respondents perceive that sexually harassing behavior will be associated with negative consequences in their organization / data from graduate students from a midwestern university . . . and employees at a West Coast public utility . . . provide evidence of the scale's reliability and validity / implications for the role of sexual harassment climate on general well-being of employees and for creating harassment-free workplaces are discussed (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
... Although, less often studied in school environments, organizational responses to sexual harassment have been widely studied in work contexts. Perceptions about whether one's organization tolerates the sexual harassment of its members, referred to as climate tolerant of sexual harassment, have been defined as the perceived contingencies between sexual harassment and ensuing outcomes, and operationalized as whether a complaint about sexual harassment to an authority would be taken seriously, incur risk to the complainant, and whether the offender would be punished for the harassing behavior (Hulin et al., 1996). Theorized as an antecedent of sexual harassment, research supports that sexual harassment is more prevalent when it is tolerated or goes unpunished in the working environment (Willness et al., 2007), and that tolerant climate contributes to poorer occupational well-being independently of sexual harassment (Sojo et al., 2016). ...
... School climate tolerant of sexual harassment is a component of climate that is concerned with student perceptions about how those in authority (e.g., teachers, administrators) respond to complaints from girls about sexually harassing behavior (Hulin et al., 1996;Ormerod et al., 2008;. The relationship between tolerant school climate and PSH has strong support in the literature (Crowley et al., 2019;Ormerod et al., 2008;, and although less studied, theory and logic suggest that a school climate tolerant of sexual harassment will be associated with students feeling less safe at school and taking actions to increase personal safety (Astor & Benbenishty, 2019;Ormerod et al., 2008). ...
... The 15-item Perceived School Climate scale assessed perceptions about whether one's school tolerates the sexual harassment of girls (Collinsworth, 2000;Ormerod et al., 2008). Originally adapted from an organizational measure (Organizational Tolerance of Sexual Harassment scale [OTSH]; Hulin et al., 1996), this scale has demonstrated good reliability when used in a high school context (α = .88 high school girls; Ormerod et al., 2008). ...
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Although illegal, sexual harassment is endemic in US schools, with students perceiving that school officials ignore complaints of harassment. Research findings have linked school climate tolerant of sexual harassment to peer sexual harassment (PSH) and school outcomes, yet there is a need to better understand these relationships. This cross‐sectional study examined whether there was an indirect effect of school climate tolerant of sexual harassment on disengagement from school, individually and serially, through experiences of PSH victimization and feeling safe at school in a sample of 171 predominantly Black and White girls (14–19 years old) attending high school in the wider Memphis, Tennessee area. The findings supported that a climate tolerant of sexual harassment was indirectly related to school disengagement through PSH and feeling less safe. These findings add to the literature by demonstrating that a climate tolerant of sexual harassment, PSH victimization, and perceptions about personal safety are associated with harm to students’ academic outcomes in the form of school and academic disengagement. Further, the current findings suggest that a national agenda for school safety needs to consider school climate tolerant of sexual harassment in order to be effective in responding to sexual harassment and supporting student engagement.
... Unfortunately, the impact of SHW affects not only the direct victims, but also the witnesses of SHW who live in a climate characterized by these dysfunctional behaviors. As early as the late 1990s, Fitzgerald and her colleagues analyzed the potential consequences of SHW, emphasizing that perceptions of such phenomena can lead to deterioration in the physical health of both direct and indirect victims [2,13,14]. These studies suggest that perceptions of gender discrimination, sexual harassment, and other forms of organizational mistreatment can affect women's and men's well-being, even if they are not directly affected by SHW. ...
... In addition, Berdahl, Magley, and Waldo [69] found that while both genders believe that sexual coercion, unwanted sexual attention, and lewd comments are a form of SHW, men also clearly indicate that punishment for deviating from the masculine gender role (i.e., being harassed as "not masculine enough" [70]) is sexually harassing [38]. Studies show that the men most at risk are those who do not appear sufficiently masculine [14]. Thus, even when men feel anger when they perceive that a member of their own group (and thus potentially themselves) is being harassed, they do not intervene (e.g., [6]). ...
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Despite the numerous advances made in Italy over the years in the study of sexual harassment in the workplace (SHW), research has focused exclusively on victims, perpetrators, and their relationships, and not on the consequences that the experience of sexual harassment can produce in witnesses. The present study aims to address this gap by examining how the indirect experience of SHW, in conjunction with variables such as gender, age, self-efficacy, and coping strategies, affects the mental health status of witnesses of SHW. A sample of 724 employees completed a questionnaire that included a modified version of the Sexual Experience Questionnaire (SEQ), the Oldenburg Burnout Inventory (OLBI), the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ), the Satisfaction With Life Scale (SWLS), and the Emotional Self-Efficacy Scale (RESE). Of the group, 321 participants reported witnessing sexual harassment in the workplace (28.2% of women and 16.2% of men). Results show that witnesses were younger than participants who described themselves as non-witnesses. Results also show that women and men who were witnesses were more likely to suffer the emotional and psychological consequences of the experience than non-witnesses. In addition, female witnesses expressed more positive emotions than men, which enabled them to manage their anxiety and emotional states when triggered in response to sexual harassment in the workplace. Finally, a significant association was found between perceptions of mental health and age, gender, experience with SHW, and self-efficacy strategies. The findings underscore the importance of sexual harassment intervention in the workplace, women and men who witness sexual harassment suffer vicarious experiences, psychological impact, exhaustion, disengagement, and negative feelings.
... We adopt the same type of hypothetical job choice experiment where respondents choose between fictional job offers with randomized wages and work conditions (Wiswall and Zafar 2018;Mas and Pallais 2017;Eriksson and Kristensen 2014;Maestas et al. 2018;He, Neumark, and Weng 2021). 3 We incorporate sexual harassment into the experiment by showing respondents vignettes of sexual harassment incidents that took place in the fictional workplaces (as in Hulin, Fitzgerald, and Drasgow 1996). These vignettes mimic the types of anecdotes or rumors that a prospective employee might hear about a potential employer. ...
... Rather than guaranteeing a "zero harassment risk" or "some harassment risk" in a contract, information about sexual harassment usually arrives by word of mouth. Vignettes of harassment incidents mimic this type of imprecise anecdote or rumor that a job seeker might hear about a potential employer (following Hulin, Fitzgerald, and Drasgow 1996). Additional advantages of vignettes include avoiding the term "sexual harassment" and respondents' interpretations of that terminology, as well as the ability to include several harassment 21. ...
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We describe how sexual harassment contributes to sex segregation and pay inequality in the labor market. Combining nationally representative survey data and administrative data, we show that both harassment and wages vary strongly and systematically across workplaces. Women self-report more harassment from colleagues and managers in male-dominated workplaces where wages are relatively high, and men self-report more harassment in female-dominated workplaces where wages are low. These patterns imply two ways that harassment may contribute to gender inequality. First, harassment deters women and men from applying for jobs in workplaces where they are the gender minority. A survey experiment with hypothetical job choices supports this mechanism. Respondents are highly averse to accepting jobs in workplaces with a higher harassment risk for their own gender, but less averse when people of the opposite sex are at higher risk. A second way that harassment contributes to inequality is by making workplace gender minorities leave their workplaces for new jobs. An analysis of workplace transitions supports this mechanism. Women who self-report harassment are more likely to switch to new workplaces with more female colleagues and lower pay.
... Supporting this framework, a meta-analysis of 41 studies indicates a strong effect of organizational climate and job gender context on SH victimization [4]. Tolerance for SH and lack of sanctions are predisposing factors [16], while imbalanced sex ratio [4] and hegemonic masculinity norms valuing toughness and aggression as the "epitome of masculinity" [17,18] work in tandem to increase SH [19]. These contextual elements are generally considered as individual perceptions rather than group-level measures, resulting in over-estimation of associations [15]. ...
... In addition to the SH measurement concerns discussed above, this study has a number of limitations, including the small female sample size and small sample size of LGBT individuals, resulting in large confidence intervals. Lack of information about acceptance of and retaliation against SH in the workplace, shown to be strongly predictive of MST [16,23] also limits the interpretation of the environmental context condusive of MST. In addition, the cross-sectional nature of the study limits the understanding of the continuum of harm and prevents any causal interpretation although our conclusions are mostly consistent with findings of prospective studies. ...
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Background Sexual harassment (SH) is prevalent in military settings and dependent on the workplace environment. Few studies have investigated this issue in non-US military settings nor have examined how contextual and individual factors related to Military Sexual Trauma (MST) vary by gender. Methods This study draws on a national sexual survey in the French military including 1268 servicemen and 232 servicewomen. We examined four sexual stressors (repeated sexual comments, sexual coercion, repeated unwanted verbal sexual attention and sexual assault (SA)) and two combined measures of verbal SH (comments, unwanted attention) and MST (all forms). We conducted multivariate logistic regressions to identify contextual and individual factors related to these outcomes. Results 36.7% of women and 17.5% of men experienced MST in the last year and 12.6% and 3.5% reported SA. Factors associated with verbal SH differed from those related to SA. The odds of verbal SH were elevated among men who had sex with men (OR = 3.5) and among women officers (OR = 4.6) while the odds of SA were elevated among men less than 25 years (OR = 3.5) and women with less than a high school diploma (OR = 10.9). The odds of SH increased by 20% to 80% when men worked in units with higher female representation, higher prevalence of MST (sexual comments, or sexual assault, coercion, repeated unwanted attention) and lower acceptance of women in the miliatry. The odds of SA also increased by 70% among men working in units with higher female representation and higher prevalence of sexual oppression. The odds of SA against women were particular high (OR = 5.7) in units with a high prevalence of sexual assault, coercion, or repeated unwanted attention. Conclusion MST is common in the French military, with women experiencing more severe forms than men. Our resuls call for programmatic action to reduce workplace factors related to verbal SH and SA in the French military.
... When an individual perceives that their organization tolerates sexual harassment, they are more reluctant to report (Hulin et al., 1996;Offermann and Malamut, 2002) and have worse outcomes (Settles et al., 2006;Sojo et al., 2016). To identify concrete opportunities to change this perception, the institution might want to collect data around the community's perceptions of and experiences with the institution's response to sexual harassment when it occurs. ...
... • The Organizational Tolerance of Sexual Harassment Inventory, which "measures the extent to which survey participants perceive that sexually harassing behavior will be associated with negative consequences in their organization" (Hulin et al., 1996). ...
... (Pollard, Tayler and Daher, 2007) found that there is wage discrimination in all the countries whether it is developed or underdeveloped. (Hulin et al.,( 1996) felt that sexual harssement in organization will result in female employees leaving the organization. ...
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In India women are better off today both in Home front as well as in work place but at the top of Industry and Government remain stubbornly male. Although more women are working they are still paid less and most of time their growth in organizations are curtailed. Research shows that only few women occupies the top position In this context the paper tries to examine the perception of women employees on gender equality and the problems faced by them. For this purpose questionnaire was distributed to women employees working in public and private sector and data collected was analyzed with suitable statistical tools and the results were interrupted there on.
... Organization tolerance can increase the occurrence of workrelated sexual harassment (103). Thus, it is significant progress that the current national laws in China have required employers to take reasonable measures to prevent and correct sexual harassment in the workplace. ...
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Background China has recently upgraded its anti-sexual harassment laws and regulations. The first-ever Chinese Civil Code, which took effect in 2021, has explicitly defined sexual harassment and imposed affirmative duties on employers to prevent and correct work-related sexual harassment. This study aims to map the status quo of China's anti-sexual harassment legal system and explore its progress and limits in dealing with workplace sexual harassment.Methods We reviewed China's anti-sexual harassment laws at the national, provincial, and municipal levels and observed how they were enforced in courts. All judicial cases of workplace sexual harassment published by Chinese courts between January 2021 and June 2022 were examined. From a comparative law perspective, we then identified the progress and drawbacks of China's legislative and judicial responses to workplace sexual harassment.ResultsChina's current anti-sexual harassment legal system, while have made commendable progress, has its drawbacks: the definition of sexual harassment remains to be clarified and expanded to make it clear that sexual harassment is a form of gender discrimination and can include hostile environment harassment that is not directed against a specific person; the employer's obligations to prevent and correct sexual harassment need further delineation; employers lack guidelines for establishing a fair and effective grievance procedure; the difficulty of proving sexual harassment in litigation remains unsolved; the employer liability doctrine for sexual harassment lacks clarity; workers not in a traditional employment relationship receive inadequate legal protection from work-related sexual harassment.Conclusions The issues mentioned above merit consideration in China's future law revisions and judicial practice. In China and other societies where gender inequality remains high, it is recommended to regulate sexual harassment as a form of discrimination and to set clear compliance standards for employers in preventing and correcting sexual harassment.
... Although no integrated definition of SH occurs (Hulin et al., 1996;Pina et al., 2009;Stockdale et al., 2014;Sabbag et al., 2018), there is clear unanimity about harassment being offensive, humiliating, and intimidating behavior which usually comprises the abuse of power given by the gender order of society and organizations (Cairns, 1997;Nicolson, 1997;Magley et al., 1999;Huerta et al., 2006;Cabras et al., 2018Cabras et al., , 2022. Similarly, a behavior can be regarded as SH if it is undesirable or without the free approval of the victims. ...
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Introduction: In the literature, no integrated definition of sexual harassment (SH) occurs but there is clear unanimity about SH being offensive, humiliating, and intimidating behavior. Within academic settings, SH has severe negative effects on students’ physical or emotional well-being as well as on their ability to succeed academically. Methods: The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between sex, gender roles, and the ways to manage SH (assertive and nonassertive reactions) in university students. It was hypothesized that female students would report more nonassertive reactions compared to male students. In addition, following the Bem theory on gender roles and using the self-report tool by the same author, it is hypothesized that female and male students, who are classified as feminine, will report more nonassertive responses, whereas male and female students, who are classified as masculine, will report more assertive responses. Our hypothesis was tested with a sample of 1,415 university students (593men, 41.9%, and 822 women, 58.1%) who completed a questionnaire approved by the local ethical review board for research from the end of January 2019 to the first half of February 2019. Results: Contrary to our hypothesis, results showed that women react more than men in both assertive and nonassertive modalities. In addition, our results confirmed the main effect of both sex and gender roles on students’ assertive and nonassertive reactions to SH in academia. Conclusion: Educational programs about SH may prove useful in preventing its occurrence. Gender equality plans in academia can improve a nonsexist and safe environment for students. It is urgent to improve transparency and accountability of policies on the management of SH: academic institutions need to formulate a procedure to facilitate SH reporting, considering the sensitive balance of confidentiality and transparency issues. Support for the victims (social services, healthcare, legal representation, and advice concerning career/professional development) must be included.
... The weak and inconsistent correlations between masculine identification and harassment intentions and threat suggest that men may not be motivated to harass simply because they identify as men, but rather they harass when that identification is threatened. Future research should explore other person-centered explanations for harassment intentions, such as power embodiment (Dinh et al., 2022;Stockdale et al., 2020), as well as situational intentions such as being in an organization that tolerates sex-based harassment (Hulin et al., 1996). ...
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We introduce a new inventory measuring sex-based harassment intentions and threat perceptions grounded in gender status threat theories (Berdahl, 2007; Stephan et al., 2016). In Study 1 (N = 568 men), an initial Sex-Based Harassment Inventory (SBHI) was developed with 12 scenarios depicting gender status threats to which respondents rated the likelihood to engage in gender harassment, unwanted sexual attention, supportive conduct, and their perceptions of threat. The final version of the SBHI contained six scenarios with four items each. Gender harassment and unwanted sexual attention intentions loaded on a single, reliable factor, labeled harassment intentions. Two other factors measured threat perceptions and supportive behavior intentions. harassment intentions correlated significantly with threat perceptions, likelihood to sexually harass (Pryor, 1987), hostile and benevolent sexism (Glick & Fiske, 1996), and masculine identification (Glick et al., 2015). In Study 2 (N = 391 men), a non-threat version of the SBHI was compared to the threat version. Threat perceptions mediated the effect of scenario version on harassment intentions, which was stronger at moderate to high levels of hostile sexism and social dominance orientation. Consistent with Berdahl’s theory, these studies present promising initial evidence for the validity of the final version of the SBHI and the links between gender status threat and sex-based harassment intentions to gender status threat.
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Objectives: Sex-based harassment remains a pernicious and pervasive problem in organisations, as evidenced by the recent #MeToo movement. Little is known about how this issue affects women in the paramedic profession. This study explores the sex-based harassment experiences of women working in a large Australian ambulance service, focusing on harassment from co-workers and managers. Methods: Long-form, semi-structured interviews were undertaken with women paramedics (n = 30) as part of a larger qualitative study of the careers and work experiences of women paramedics. Interviews were recorded and transcribed verbatim, and thematic data analysis was employed to develop rich descriptions of paramedics' experiences. Results: Of the 30 participants, 25 had experienced sex-based harassment from male colleagues. Most commonly this took the form of gender harassment - that is, comments and jokes designed to belittle and demean women on the basis of their gender. Several participants experienced sexualised forms of harassment, including unwelcome sexual attention and propositions. Participants expressed reluctance to report the behaviour through organisational channels because of the perceived futility of doing so and the potential for reprisals and career repercussions. The preferred responses to harassment were informal, and included avoidance, humour, direct appeals and work withdrawal. Conclusions: Sex-based harassment has a range of damaging consequences for victims and the organisations in which they work. This study is the first to explore how Australian women paramedics experience sex-based harassment in their work. The study has implications for policy and practice to improve gender equality within ambulance services and highlights the need for further research into the extent and nature of the problem across the paramedic profession.
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