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Sexual harassment from customers is prevalent and costly to service employees and organizations, yet little is known about when and why customers harass. Based on a theoretical model of power in organizations, we propose that sexual harassment is a function of employees' financial dependence on customers (i.e., tips) and deference to customers with emotional labor ("service with a smile") jointly activating customer power. With a field survey study of tipped employees who vary in financial dependence and emotional display requirements (Study 1), and an online experiment that manipulates financial dependence and emotional displays from the customer's perspective (Study 2), our results confirm that these contextual factors jointly increase customer power and thus sexual harassment. Our research has important practical implications, suggesting that organizations can reduce customer sexual harassment by changing compensation models or emotional labor expectations in service contexts. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved).
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A Perfect Storm: Customer Sexual Harassment as a Joint Function of
Financial Dependence and Emotional Labor
Timothy G. Kundro
, Vanessa Burke
, Alicia A. Grandey
, and Gordon M. Sayre
Department of Management and Organization, University of Notre Dame
Department of Psychology, Pennsylvania State University
Department of Organizational Behavior, Emlyon Business School
Sexual harassment from customers is prevalent and costly to service employees and organizations, yet little
is known about when and why customers harass. Based on a theoretical model of power in organizations, we
propose that sexual harassment is a function of employeesnancial dependence on customers (i.e., tips)
and deference to customers with emotional labor (service with a smile) jointly activating customer power.
With a eld survey study of tipped employees who vary in nancial dependence and emotional display
requirements (Study 1), and an online experiment that manipulates nancial dependence and emotional
displays from the customers perspective (Study 2), our results conrm that these contextual factors jointly
increase customer power and thus sexual harassment. Our research has important practical implications,
suggesting that organizations can reduce customer sexual harassment by changing compensation models or
emotional labor expectations in service contexts.
Keywords: sexual harassment, emotional labor, power
Recent sociopolitical movements have brought societal and
scholarly attention to the pervasiveness and costs of sexual harass-
ment (Medeiros & Grifth, 2019;Ohlheiser, 2017), particularly
toward service providers (Johnson & Madera, 2018). In two sur-
veys, a decade apart, the majority of service employees reported
experiencing sexual harassment from customers (Gettman &
Gelfand, 2007;Madera, 2018). Sexual harassment from customers
predicts poorer health and work attitudes, even beyond the effects of
harassment by supervisors or coworkers (Barling et al., 2001;
Fitzgerald & Cortina, 2017;Gettman & Gelfand, 2007;Yagil,
2008). Although these costs to employee well-being are problematic
in their own right, sexual harassment also increases the likelihood of
employee turnover (Fitzgerald et al., 1997;Sims et al., 2005) which
is a particularly costly outcome for the organization (Merkin &
Shah, 2014).
Despite the pervasiveness and known costs of sexual harassment,
extant research offers little insight into specic contextual predic-
tors. Organizational climate, reporting policies, and gender ratios
(Tenbrunsel et al., 2019;Willness et al., 2007) predict harassment
by insiders (i.e., coworkers and supervisors) but do not explain
harassment from outsiders (i.e., clients and customers) who are less
inuenced by such internal organizational factors (Gettman &
Gelfand, 2007). However, research across domains has consistently
found that individuals who hold more power are more likely to
engage in sexual harassment (Berdahl, 2007;Gettman & Gelfand,
2007). To identify work factors that elicit customer sexual harass-
ment, this research suggests it is important to identify factors that
give customers power, or the capacity to inuence the employees
behavior or outcomes (Keltner et al., 2003). We propose that two
work norms in the service industrytipping and emotional labor
jointly increase customer power to create the perfect stormfor
sexual harassment.
Our inquiry makes theoretical, empirical, and practical contribu-
tions to the literature. First, this article uniquely incorporates Tosts
(2015) theorizing about when structural power, the stable and
objective work conditions that give people control over others
resources, activates psychological power, the momentary feelings
and cognitions that emerge when holding power over others
(Anderson & Berdahl, 2002;Galinsky et al., 2003). Specically,
this theoretical model argues that structural power activates psy-
chological power when behavioral deference is shown to the actor
(Tost, 2015). We propose that emotional labor to produce service
with a smile(Hochschild, 1983) signals deference to the customer,
increasing the likelihood that structural power from tipping elicits
psychological power in the customer, which thereby increases
likelihood of sexual harassment. Thus, we uniquely explain cus-
tomer sexual harassment by integrating management theory about
power and sociological theory about emotional requirements in
service contexts.
Furthermore, this study offers new, complementary, and action-
able evidence. Suggestions that customer sexual harassment occurs
when employees depend on tips (Mensah, 2019;Restaurant
Opportunities Centers United, Forward Together & others, 2014)
or are required to perform emotional labor (Deadrick & McAfee,
2001;Grandey et al., 2015) have scarce empirical evidence. We are
the rst to test whether the joint effect of tipping and emotional labor
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This article is intended solely for the personal use of the individual user and is not to be disseminated broadly.
Timothy G. Kundro
For research assistance, the authors would like to thank Dennis Gallo and
Ariana Freire. Data collection was funded in part by the Pennsylvania State
University College of Liberal Arts and the Leadership Center at Wharton.
Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Timothy
G. Kundro, Department of Management and Organization, University of
Notre Dame, United States. Email:
Journal of Applied Psychology
© 2021 American Psychological Association
ISSN: 0021-9010
elicits sexual harassment due to customer power. We triangulate
ndings through a eld survey of employeesperceptions (Study 1)
and an experimental vignette from the customersperspective
(Study 2) to maximize external and internal validity and condence
in our conclusions (McGrath, 1981). Finally, this evidence con-
tributes to practical implications about the ethicality of tipping and
emotional expectations (Barry et al., 2019;Deadrick & McAfee,
2001;Lutkus, 2016) for the many employees in the service industry
(U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2019).
Theoretical Background
Sexual harassment is a broad term referring to any unwanted sex-
related behavior appraised as offensive, threatening, or stressful
by the target (Schneider et al., 1997). We focus on the most
prevalent forms of sexual harassment by customers: sexual hostility
(e.g., crude comments or jokes) and unwanted sexual attention
(e.g., comments about appearance, touching, or requests for phone
number; Fitzgerald & Cortina, 2017;Madera, 2018;Mensah, 2019).
Sexual harassment is conceptualized as an abuse of power
(McLaughlin et al., 2012): Individuals who control othersre-
sources feel powerful, which leads to dominant, self-serving, and
inappropriate behaviors toward targets
(Berdahl, 2007;Cleveland &
Kerst, 1993;Fitzgerald & Cortina, 2017;Keltner et al., 2003;
Willness et al., 2007). To explain when the service context elicits
this abuse of power, we draw on a theoretical framework that
differentiates external conditions of power from internal psychological
states of power (Tost, 2015). Broadly, this model suggests that stable
work conditions (i.e., compensation practices) increase structural
power, but may not elicit dominant behavior like sexual harassment
unless episodic conditions (i.e., deferential behavior) activate psycho-
logical power. We apply this model to propose that customers
objectively hold more structural power as employees are more depen-
dent on tips, which elicits sexual harassment when coupled with
deferential positive displays (i.e., emotional labor) during the interac-
tion due to the activation of customerspsychological power (see
Figure 1).
Structural Power: Dependence on Customer
In service contexts, we argue that customers hold more structural
power when they control the rewards and valued outcomes of the
employee, or more specically their tipping-based income (Azar,
2005;Lynn & Simons, 2000;McCarty et al., 1990). Gratuities
(i.e., tipping) from customers are a widespread norm in the U.S. and
other countries (Azar, 2009), contributing $45 billion per year to
employee income in the U.S. restaurant industry (Azar, 2011). The
degree of structural power held by customers depends on the
organizations compensation models. When organizations pay em-
ployees lower than minimum wage (e.g., $2.13 rather than $7.25;
U.S.), tips comprise a vast majority of employeesincome (U.S.
Department of Labor, 2019). This compensation structure increases
customersstructural power because employees become more
dependent on customer gratuities (Azar, 2005;Emerson, 1962).
When asked, customers report knowing that many service employ-
ees depend on tips to make a living (Lynn, 2009), though this may
vary by whether organizations compensate with a living wage
(Zetlin, 2019).
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Figure 1
Conceptual Model
Note. Black boxes indicate the service work context; white boxes indicate reactions to the context. S1 =Study 1, a eld survey from the service employees
perspective; S2 =Study 2, an experimental vignette method from the customers perspective.
Feelings of power, or psychological power, is a multifaceted concept that
consists of implicit and explicit forms (Apers et al., 2019), which can result
in prosocial behavior (Tost, 2015) and avoidant orientations (Keltner et al.,
2003). However, in the service context where the customer does not have an
ongoing relationship with the employee, power is more likely linked to a
dominant and approach orientation (i.e., Gruenfeld et al., 2008).
In fact, we suggest that structural power from compensation
structures may not always activate customerspsychological power
unless episodic conditions make their control over rewards salient.
Indeed, Tosts (2015) model species that structural power only
leads to psychological power when episodic factors activate mental
representations of power. According to the model (Tost, 2015),
structural power activates psychological power the feeling or
belief that one has the capacity to inuence others (Anderson et al.,
2012)when deferential behavior is shown to the actor. In service
contexts, deference is expected toward customers (as illustrated by
the customer is always rightmantra) and is often shown through
emotional labor.
Emotional Labor: Deference to Customer
Smiling is considered a behavioral signal of deference during
social interactions, as those with less power are more likely to smile
toward higher power actors, regardless of their actual feelings
(Hecht & LaFrance, 1998). These deferent behaviors signal that
apowerful persons needs or views are more important than those
of the other individuals(Tost, 2015, p. 38). Positive displays in a
service context signal that the employee is friendly, helpful, and
open to requests(Hochschild, 1983, p. 93), which ultimately have
positive impressions on customers (Diefendorff et al., 2006;Pugh,
2001). Thus, service jobs often expect employees to engage in
emotional labor to produce service with a smileand meet perfor-
mance standards (Diefendorff et al., 2006;Rafaeli & Sutton, 1987).
Work contexts with higher emotional labor requirements evoke
more consistent and frequent positive displays from employees
toward customers (Bono & Vey, 2007;Grandey & Gabriel,
2015). In other words, employees are more likely to show greater
behavioral deference to customer requests and feelings in work
contexts with higher emotional labor requirements (Allen et al.,
2010;Hall et al., 2006).
Applying Tosts (2015) model to the service context, we argue
that the required positive displays in higher emotional labor work
contexts act as episodic indicators of deference to customers. The
deference makes salient the structural power from tipping depen-
dence and activates customer psychological power, or the per-
ceived capacity to inuence employees. In contrast, in lower
emotional labor work contexts, positive displays are not required
and less consistently shown to customers. In these contexts,
structural power is unlikely to activate customer psychological
power due to the lack of deference shown in the interac-
tion. Thus,
Hypothesis 1: Structural power (i.e., dependence on customers
tips) predicts higher customer psychological power when emo-
tional labor (i.e., deference in displays to customers) is also
In general, psychological power increases the likelihood of
approach-oriented and dominant behavior (Keltner et al., 2003).
Individuals who experience power are thus more likely to
engage in sexual harassment because they develop self-serving
motives, believe they can act in deviant ways with impunity, and
objectify others as a means to an end (Anderson & Berdahl, 2002;
Galinsky et al., 2003;Guinote, 2017;Sturm & Antonakis, 2015).
Thus, when contextual conditions activate psychological
power, people are more likely to dominate and coerce others in
deviant ways, such as by making sexualized comments or objecti-
fying a target (e.g., Berdahl, 2007;Cleveland & Kerst, 1993;
Tangri et al., 1982). As such, we argue that that psychological
power is a key proximal predictor of sexual harassment from
Consistent with this prediction, research has shown that when
professional women perceived clients as powerful, based on the
clientsportfolio value to the company, they were more likely
to report experiencing client sexual harassment (Gettman &
Gelfand, 2007). We extend this to contexts with one-time service
encounters between employees and customers. As per our
guiding model (Tost, 2015), we propose interactive effects such
that work contexts with higher structural power and emotional
labor increase customer sexual harassment by activating customer
psychological power. Thus, the more that employees are depen-
dent on customerstips and expressively deferent to customers
wants and needs, the more customers will feel powerful, and are
then likely to engage in sexual harassment toward them. In
other words,
Hypothesis 2: Customer psychological power explains the
conditional indirect effect of structural power (i.e., dependence
on customerstips) and emotional labor (i.e., deference to
customers) on customer sexual harassment.
A pilot study supported the basic assumption that customer sexual
harassment is more likely in work contexts where customers tip (vs.
not) and emotional labor is the norm.
Contexts that differ in
customer tipping might be confounded with other work character-
istics, such as social status and customer contact. Thus, we hold
constant tipping contexts, and focus on variability in employee
dependence on tips in two studies with complementary designs:
aeld survey of tipped employees holding a variety of jobs (Study
1) and an experimental vignette study from the customers perspec-
tive in a restaurant (Study 2). These studies constructively replicate
our model and complement each other in terms of external and
internal validity.
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We focus on emotional labor as contextual features: job requirements
and observed displays (Grandey & Gabriel, 2015). Emotional labor can also
be studied as employeessurface acting (modifying expressions to produce
faked displays) or deep acting (modifying feelings to produce genuine
displays). These are both likely to produce deferent positive displays so
we did not expect distinct effects. A separate study comparing the effect of
faked and genuine positive displays conrmed no difference in perceived
power or intentions to harass (see here:
Eligible participants were hospitality (i.e., hotel and restaurant) employ-
ees (N=176). More frequent sexual harassment was reported when employ-
ees also received tips (M=1.63, SD =.91) versus not (M=1.34,
SD =.62; b=.28, SE =.12, p=.018).
Study 1 was exempted per the Pennsylvania State Universitys Institu-
tional Review Board (STUDY00012461: Health in the Service Industry).
Study 2 received approval from the Pennsylvania State Universitys Institu-
tional Review Board (STUDY00010668: Perceptions of People).
All online supplementary materials can be found at this address: https://
Study 1 Method: Employee Perspective
Participants and Procedure
We recruited participants from Amazons Mechanical Turk
(MTurk) with a prescreening survey to identify employees working
at least 35 hr a week who received regular tips from customers
(e.g., cashier, server, or hotel clerk). Our prescreening identied 142
eligible employees who were invited to complete the survey. Of
those, we received completed responses from 92 (35% female, 62%
White, M
=34.08, SD =9.27).
See the Appendix for scales and Table 1 for descriptive statistics.
For structural power, participants directly reported the extent of
nancial dependence on customer tips, operationalized as the percent
of their total income from customerstips. For emotional labor,
participants rated three items about positive display requirements
toward customers (α=.78; 1 =not at all to 4 =very important) to
effectively perform the job (Grandey et al., 2013). For psychological
power, three items (α=.71; 1 =strongly disagree,5=strongly
agree) measured perceived customer power as customerscapacity to
control employeesoutcomes and behavior, as per the denition
(Anderson et al., 2012;Tost, 2015).
Finally, respondents rated the
frequency (α=.93; 1 =never,5=many times)ofsexual harass-
ment from customers in the past 6 months, using six items from an
established measure (Gettman & Gelfand, 2007).
A conrmatory factor analysis on the 12 self-reported items was
conducted using the lavaan package in R (Rosseel, 2012). The three
multi-item measurespositive display requirements, perceived
customer power, and sexual harassmentwere modeled using
item level indicators. As shown in Table 2, the three-factor model
t the data better than a two-factor model that combined customer
harassment and power items [χ
(diff) =53.81, p<.001]. We then
tested our hypotheses with the path analysis model in lavaan,
consistent with rst-stage moderated mediation described by
Edwards and Lambert (2007) and shown in Figure 1. To reduce
multicollinearity, we mean centered nancial dependence and
positive display requirements, and then computed the interaction
term and bootstrapped condence intervals to test the effects of
nancial dependence at higher/lower levels (+/1SD) of positive
display requirements (Hayes, 2015).
Study 1 Results and Discussion
See Table 3 for results. Consistent with Hypothesis 1, the relation-
ship of nancial dependence with perceived customer power was
moderated by positive display requirements (b=.02, SE =.01,
p=.001). Graphing the slopes (see Figure 2)showstherelationship
of nancial dependence and customer power was more positive when
positive display requirements were one standard deviation above the
mean (b=.021, SE =.004, p<.01) than when they were one
standard deviation below the mean (b=.002, SE =.004, p=.64).
In support of Hypothesis 2, we found a stronger positive indirect effect
of nancial dependence on sexual harassment through perceived
customer power when positive display requirements were higher
(indirect effect: b =.005, SE =.002, 95% CI [.001, 010]), compared
to when they were lower (indirect effect: b =.001, SE =.001, 95% CI
[.001, .003]). Importantly, the index of moderated mediation was also
signicant (b=.004, SE =.002, 95% CI [.001, .008]).
These results support the notion that structural power and
emotional laborindicated by nancial dependence on customers
and positive display requirementsjointly predict the frequency of
customer sexual harassment via perceptions of customer psycho-
logical power. These results replicate and extend prior survey work
showing employees perceptions of client power are related to the
perceptions of sexual harassment (Gettman & Gelfand, 2007).
However, conclusions about our theoretical model are limited given
the cross-sectional survey approach, which only investigated the
employeesperception of customerspower. This means that re-
lationships may be confounded by response biases, and we cannot
conrm if positive display requirements result in observable
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Table 1
Descriptive Statistics and Correlations for Study 1 (Employee Perspective)
Variables M SD 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
1. Age 34.08 9.27
2. Gender .35 .48 .04
3. Minority .38 .49 .19 .13
4. Tenure 6.36 5.51 .59*** .04 .16
5. Hours worked per week 43.80 8.31 .05 .09 .07 .11
6. Financial dependence (centered) .00 23.35 .21*.02 .04 .22*.09
7. Positive display reqs (centered) .00 .60 .11 .11 .02 .18 .02 .16 (.78)
8. Financial dependence ×Pos. display reqs 2.25 13.90 .07 .01 .12 .02 .05 .25*.05
9. Perceived customer power 3.74 .84 .09 .05 .06 .10 .12 .21*.19 .16 (.71)
10. Sexual harassment frequency 1.82 1.00 .16 .01 .17 .15 .14 .40*** .06 .17 .28** (.93)
Note.N=92. Gender is a binary variable where 1 =Female and 0 =Male; Minority is a binary variable where 1 =Not-White and 0 =White. Cronbachs
alphas are reported on the diagonal.
*p<.05. ** p<.01. *** p<.001 (two-tailed).
More details about the sample and compensation can be found in our folder. We did not gather additional data because (a) the population of
eligible tipped participants was limited and (b) changes from the coronavirus
pandemic stopped or changed service interactions. All participants who
began the survey completed it in its entirety.
Please see our folder where we provide validation evidence for this
measure with a different sample.
deferent positive displays that activate customersstate of psycho-
logical power. In Study 2, we address these limitations with an
experimental test of the joint effects of nancial dependence and
positive displays on customer power and harassment.
Study 2 Method: Customer Perspective
In Study 2, we conducted an experimental study on MTurk to
manipulate the two work conditions and assess how they inuence
customersmental representation of power and intent for sexual
harassment in a one-offinteraction, which is consistent with
service encounters. This approach focuses on the customer (i.e., the
power holder), which permits us to be more nuanced about how
psychological power is activated as per our theoretical model.
Tost (2015) proposes that psychological power can be activated in
two separate ways: (a) a conscious awareness of ones capacity to
inuence another person and their outcomes, known as sense of
power (Anderson et al., 2012) and (b) an implicit cognitive network
of associations with power that is learned from experience or
observation, such as condence, approach orientation, and self-focus
(Lang et al., 2012;Keltner et al., 2003). According to Tost, (2015)
these different forms of psychological power operate independently.
In other words, structural power can activate associations with power
without an individual ever experiencing a conscious sense of power
(Smith & Galinsky, 2010). To test this possibility, we assess sense of
power as the extent customers explicitly know they can control or
inuence the employeesoutcomes, and associations with power as
the extent the customer is approach oriented and condent that the
employee feels positively toward them. By measuring both from the
customersperspective during the interaction, we conduct a more
thorough test of the theory to understand which form of psychological
power is activated and explains harassment.
Finally, we compare customer power over the employee with
another mechanism, attraction to the employee, to rule out the
generally discounted explanation that sexual harassment is a mis-
guided attempt to show sexual interest, rather than power abuse
(Berdahl, 2007;Curtis, 1998;Grandey et al., 2015).
We focused on male participants as the most frequent instigators of
sexual harassment in service contexts (Fitzgerald & Cortina, 2017;
Pryor, 1987;Jagsi et al., 2016). We recruited 244 adult men for an
online experimental study, where 229 (94%) completed the survey.
To ensure quality data, we excluded 40 participants who failed an
attention check (please respond disagree for this question; adapted
from Meade & Craig, 2012) and 18 who reported they were not
attracted to women (see Tracy & Beall, 2011),
resulting in a nal
sample of 171 (66% White, M
=33.35 years; SD =9.94).
A power analysis estimated at least 128 participants to detect a
medium effect with 80% power.
Participants were randomly assigned to one condition based on a 2
(high structural power vs. low structural power) ×2 (high emotional
labor vs. low emotional labor) factorial design. We followed best
practices for the experimental vignette method (Aguinis & Bradley,
2014) to design immersive and realistic scenarios. Participants took
the perspective of a customer arriving at a local restaurant Urban
Eats; all saw an image of the approaching waitress, read a transcript
of the exchange, and then saw an image of their nal receipt.
Structural power and emotional labor were manipulated with
text and images (see Appendix B and folder for complete
materials). For structural power,thehighnancial dependence
condition informed participants that customers are top priority
and included a receipt that had a line to enter a tip with a reminder
that tips are appreciated;thelownancial dependence condition
informed participants that staff are a top priority and included a
receipt that did not have a line to enter a tip with a reminder that
employees are paid a fair wage such that tips are appreciated but
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Table 2
Results of Conrmatory Factor Analysis
Models χ
Study 1
Hypothesized three-factor model 95.82 51 .93 .91 .098 .096
Two-factor model 149.63 53 .85 .82 .141 .129
Study 2
Hypothesized four-factor model 80.99 48 .98 .97 .064 .061
Three-factor model (A) 315.33 51 .84 .80 .176 .141
Three-factor model (B) 202.97 51 .91 .88 .133 .063
Note. CFI =comparative t index; TLI =TuckerLewis index; RMSEA =root mean square error of approximation; SRMR
=standardized root mean
square residual within. Structural power was a single item in both studies so was not included in this analysis. In Study 1, the two-factor model combined
psychological power and sexual harassment. In Study 2, the three-factor model (A) combined sense of power and associations with power; three-factor model
(B) combined associations with power and sexual harassment.
To be included, participants had to complete our mechanism and DV
measures. However, one participant did not complete the pleasant manipu-
lation check, two did not complete the submissiveness manipulation check,
and one did not complete the attractiveness items. The direction and
signicance of our results do not change when excluding these participants
from the rest of our analyses.
More details about recruiting and compensation can be found in our folder. We removed participants who reported not being attracted to
women to compare sexual attraction as a competing mechanism. There were
not any signicant differences in demographics for careless responders
versus nal sample.
never expected.Participants rated (1 =strongly disagree,
7=strongly agree)totheitem,Customers in this restaurant
can inuence the outcomes of the server.The manipulation was
effective (M
=5.54, SD =.99; M
=4.28, SD =1.57; F
[1, 168] =41.10, p<.001). Emotional labor was manipulated
by a photo of a female server showing an emotional expression
of high deference (positive display) or low (neutral display), using
images from the Chicago Face Database (Ma et al., 2015). The
positive display was more pleasant(M
=6.20, SD =0.66;
=3.77, SD =1.66; F[1, 167] =149.58, p<.001) and
=4.20, SD =.79; M
=3.90, SD =
.90; F[1, 166] =5.33, p=.02).
See Appendix A for all items. For the two ways of eliciting
customer psychological power, sense of power was measured with
four items (α=.89; 1 =strongly disagree,7=strongly agree)from
Anderson et al. (2012) and associations with power with three items
(α=.90; 1 =strongly disagree,7=strongly agree) about approach
orientation and condence in the employeesinterest, adapted from
Pazda et al. (2012). As a comparison mechanism, attractiveness was
measured with three items (α=.91; 1 =strongly disagree,7=
strongly agree). Sexual harassment was measured as intentions
(α=.93; 1 =extremely unlikely,7=extremely likely) for inappro-
priate sexual attention using three items from Study 1.
A conrmatory factor analysis on the 13 self-reported items from
the four measuressense of power, associations with power, sexual
harassment, and attractionwas conducted using the lavaan pack-
age in R (Rosseel, 2012). As shown in Table 2, the hypothesized
four-factor model was better than a three-factor model where the
power items loaded onto the same factor [χ
(diff) =234.34,
p<.001]. Though associations with power and sexual harassment
had a strong relationship, a model where they loaded onto the same
factor was a worse t to the data [χ
(diff) =121.98, p<.001]. We
proceeded with the four-factor measurement model. First, a 2 ×2
ANOVA was conducted to compare mean by condition (see Figure 3).
Next, we tested the indirect effect of structural power on sexual
harassment simultaneously through both forms of psychological
power, with a path analysis model in lavaan and bootstrapped
condence intervals as in Study 1.
Study 2 Results and Discussion
See Table 4 for descriptives and Table 5 for results. As per
Hypothesis 1, we tested the interactive effects of structural power
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Table 3
Standardized and Unstandardized Coefcients From Path Analysis, Study 1 (Employee Perspective)
Dependent variable
Customer power Sexual harassment
Est. SE 95% CI Est. SE 95% CI
Financial dependence .01*** .003 .006, .017 .02** .005 .006, .024
Positive display requirements .35*.148 .059, .654 —— —
Financial dependence ×Positive display requirements .02** .005 .007, .025 —— —
Customer power —— .24** .092 .066, .431
.16 ——
.20 ——
Indirect Effects Est. SE 95% CI
Financial dependence Customer power Sexual harassment
Higher positive display requirements .005*.002 .001, .010
Lower positive display requirements .001 .001 .001, .003
Index of moderated mediation .004*.002 .001, .008
*p<.05. ** p<.01. *** p<.001 (two tailed).
Figure 2
Interaction of Financial Dependence and Positive Display Require-
ments on Perceived Customer Power, Study 1
Low Financial Dependence High Financial Dependence
rewoP remotsuC d
High Pos.
Display Reqs.
Low Pos. Display
and emotional labor conditions on our two different forms of
psychological power. For sense of power, the conditions did not
signicantly interact, F(1, 167) =.69, p=.41, failing to nd sup-
port for Hypothesis 1. However, for associations with power, we
found the predicted interaction, F(1, 167) =4.84, p=.029, as
shown in Figure 3a. In support of Hypothesis 1, when there was
a positive display, high (vs. low) nancial dependence evoked
greater associations with power (M
=4.14, SD =1.71; M
3.38, SD =1.62; F[1, 167] =4.24, p=.04) but not when there
was a neutral display (M
=3.34, SD =1.67; M
SD =1.57; F[1, 167] =1.04, p=.31). The interaction of nancial
dependence and positive display also directly predicted sexual
harassment, F(1, 167) =5.68, p=.018, as shown in Figure 3b.
Given the signicant interaction effect on associations with
power, as well as the conditional direct effect on harassment, we
tested the conditional indirect effects proposed in Hypothesis 2 with
the associations of power measure.
Results revealed a signicant
positive indirect effect of nancial dependence on sexual harass-
ment through associations with power when there was a positive
display (b=.67, SE =.33, 95% CI [.04, 1.35]) but not when there
was a neutral display (b=.31, SE =.30, 95% CI [.91, .28]).
The difference between the indirect effects was also signicant
(index of moderated mediation: b =.98, SE =.45, 95% CI
[.11, 1.88]). Thus, Hypothesis 2 was supported with this form
of power.
We also tested a competing view, or that positive displays are
misconstrued by customers holding structural power as attraction,
which results in sexual harassment. The interaction of nancial depen-
dence and display conditions did not predict attractiveness (b=.08,
SE =.34, p=.81), and after controlling for attractiveness, the indirect
conditional effect through associations with power was still signicant
when there was a positive display (b=.71, SE =.32, 95% CI
[.10, 1.35]), but not a neutral display (b=.30, SE =.29, 95% CI
[.88, .28]), with a signicant difference between the two (index of
moderated mediation: b =1.01, SE =.44, 95% CI [.16, 1.87]).
Moreover, when accounting for associations of power, there was
not a signicant effect of perceived attractiveness on sexual harassment
(b=.13, SE =.08, p=.10). Thus, our results are not explained by
perceived attractiveness.
In summary, we found support for Hypotheses 1 and 2 with
customersassociations with power, but not sense of power, using a
controlled online experiment. We nd that structural power and
emotional labor jointly activate power-related beliefs and action
orientation after interacting with the server, which then explains
intent for inappropriate sexual attention toward the server. The
results support Tosts (2015) suggestion that the conscious sense
of power is not always necessary to elicit approach-oriented and
deviant behavior, and instead suggests customer sexual harassment
comes from work conditions eliciting implicit associations
with power.
General Discussion
Our primary aim was to understand whenand whyservice
employees face sexual harassment from customers. In doing so, we
adopted a power perspective to argue that sexual harassment
emerges when there is increased customer psychological power
(Anderson & Berdahl, 2002;van Kleef et al., 2008), pointing to
structural power and emotional labor as joint contextual antece-
dents. Across two different studies that balanced internal and
external validity (Crandall & Sherman, 2016), we found conver-
gent support for our hypotheses. In Study 1, we found that
employees who work in higher structural power contexts and
have higher emotional labor requirements are the most likely to
perceive that customers have power, which ultimately predicts
sexual harassment. In Study 2, an experimental study conrmed
that the high structural power and high emotional labor manipula-
tions activated associations with power, which predicted greater
intentions for sexual harassment.
We contribute to an emergingand importantbody of research
on customer sexual harassment. Although most research has inves-
tigated when organization insiders engage in sexual harassment,
theories and ndings in this domain lack relevance and generaliz-
ability in the service context (Gettman & Gelfand, 2007). Building
on prior work, we examine a contingency perspective that suggests
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Table 4
Descriptive Statistics and Correlations for Study 2 (Customers Perspective)
Variables M SD 12 3 45 6 7 8 9
1. Age 33.35 9.94
2. Minority .34 .47 .06
3. Financial dependence .52 .50 .10 .12
4. Positive display .47 .50 .07 .05 .01
5. Financial dependence ×Positive display .25 .43 .01 .02 .55*** .61***
6. Sense of power 4.27 .81 .06 .12 .02 .02 .06 (.89)
7. Associations with power 3.63 1.66 .08 .15 .05 .08 .17*.56*** (.90)
8. Attractiveness 5.29 1.16 .04 .08 .05 .29*** .16*.20** .25*** (.91)
9. Sexual harassment intentions 2.68 1.81 .17*.19*.06 .12 .21** .69*** .82*** .28*** (.93)
Note.N=171 for all variables except attractiveness, where N=170 due to missing data. Manipulated variables are nancial dependence (1 =high tipping
dependence, 0 =low tipping dependence) and positive display (1 =positive display, 0 =neutral display).
*p<.05. ** p<.01. *** p<.001 (two tailed).
When there was a positive display, nancial dependence predicted
harassment intent (M
=3.33, SD =1.97; M
=2.45, SD =1.64; F
[1, 167] =4.97, p=.03), but not when there was a neutral display (M
2.27, SD =1.70; M
=2.68, SD =1.77; F[1, 167] =1.23, p=.27).
Following recommendations from the study by Kirk (2012), we did not
include other potential mechanisms in this model (i.e., sense of power or
attractiveness). However, the direction and signicance of our results do not
change when we include either or both of these variables in our analyses.
psychological power only emerges when structural power (i.e.
nancial dependence) and emotional labor requirements, are both
higher. Our ndings highlight how emotional labor activates the link
between structural and psychological power by encouraging epi-
sodic displays of deference to the customer. Indeed, when emotional
labor is low, and employees do not show deference customers
feelings with a constant smile, customers do not develop psycho-
logical power due to their control over tipping. Thus, our studies
show that tipping and emotional labor play an integral role in
activating customer psychological power. Our research contributes
to larger conversations on the link between pay and unjust treatment
(Cauleld, in press), while identifying two unique facets of the
service industry that evoke sexual harassment.
Similarly, our research contributes to the view that emotional labor
requirements are problematic in that they constrain self-determined
behavior and increase unfair treatment of employees (Barry et al.,
2019;Grandey et al., 2015). Specically, our study is the rst to show
that deference to customers, operationalized as enacting required
positive displays, can elicit unfair treatment in the form of sexual
harassment. Notably, some scholars have argued that costs of emo-
tional labor can be mitigated by using deep-acted or genuinely
portrayed emotional regulation (Grandey, 2003;Humphrey et al.,
2015). However, an additional study revealed that genuine smiles had
similar effects as faked smiles on power and sexual harassment (see It is possible, however, that faking a smile is a likely response
to sexual harassment and increases burnout due to that effort. We call
on future research to test such extended costs.
Importantly, our research shows this dark side of emotional labor
depends on structural power given to customers in the form of tipping
compensation. A practical implication of our joint effects is that
management can improve working conditions by either loosening
emotional labor requirements (Barry et al., 2019;Deadrick &
McAfee, 2001;Lutkus, 2016)orreducingemployeerelianceon
customer tips. For example, companies are starting to consider other
compensation models beyond customer tipping (Zetlin, 2019). Ad-
dressing one of the two of these may be sufcient to reduce customer
sexual harassment, with important practical implications for health and
turnover (Barling et al., 2001;Fitzgerald et al., 1997).
Limitations and Future Directions
The conclusions of these two studies must be evaluated in light of
several limitations. Sexual harassment was either perceived by service
employees or reported as intentions by participants playing the role of
customer; these may be colored by recall biases and social desirabil-
ity, respectively. Although obtaining actual behavior is ideal, in-
person lab studies pose ethical concerns (Cozby, 2007) that when
addressed are costly to psychological realism (Bauman et al., 2014).
Research suggests that intentions to engage in deviant behavior are
predictive of actual behavior (Ajzen, 1991;Chang, 1998), and a
typical service context between strangers is similar to our anonymous
research context. Thus, our approach balances these trade-offs.
Our two studies have methodological limitations. All variables in
Study 1 were self-reported at one point in time, meaning that
confounds likely exist and causal order cannot be conrmed. In
Study 2, we manipulated structural power and emotional labor to
permit causal conclusions, but power and harassment were mea-
sured the same time. Both studies focus on White employees; other
groups may have distinct experiences (Berdahl & Moore, 2006).
Future research should manipulate other demographic and work
conditions and obtain measures of power and harassment seperated
by time or source (Rucker et al., 2011).
Finally, we sought to understand how customers abuse their
power with sexual harassment, but power can also elicit prosocial
behaviors when the power holder feels responsible for the target
(Tost & Johnson, 2019). For instance, customers with higher
psychological power who have collaborative or developmental
relationships with the service provider (i.e., beauty stylists or
teachers) may use their power by posting positive online reviews
or recommending the employee to others. We encourage the future
work to explore conditions when customer structural power en-
hances prosocial approach-oriented behavior.
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Table 5
Unstandardized Coefcients From Path Analysis, Study 2
Dependent variable
Associations with power Sexual harassment
Est. SE 95% CI Est. SE 95% CI
Financial dependence .35 .34 1.02, .32 .05 .16 .28, .36
Positive display .32 .36 1.00, .37 —— —
Financial dependence ×Positive display 1.11*.50 .11, 2.09 —— —
Associations with power —— .89*** .05 .79, .97
.04 ——
.67 ——
Indirect effects Est. SE 95% CI
Financial dependence Associations with power Sexual
Positive display .67*.33 .04, 1.35
Neutral display .31 .30 .91, .28
Index of moderated mediation .98*.45 .11, 1.88
Note. N =171.
*p<.05. *** p<.001 (two tailed).
Sexual harassment is a problematicand remarkably pervasive
element of the service industry. Our research suggests that nancial
dependence and emotional labor requirements combine to create the
perfect stormthat create customer psychological power which
leads to sexual harassment. By demonstrating that two deeply
ingrained elements of the service industry elicit sexual harassment
by customers, it is our hope that this research can be used to prevent
such behavior in the future.
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Appendix A
Study 1: Survey Items (Employee)
Emotional Labor: Positive Display Requirements
How important are the following behaviors to be evaluated as
performing your job effectively?
Being friendly and having a good attitude.
Being sensitive and understanding to others.
Maintaining composure and hiding anger.
Psychological Power: Perceived Customer Power
Where I work :::
::: customers have more power than I do.
::: I have to act in a way that pleases customers.
::: customers directly inuence the extent that employees
get rewarded and recognized.
Sexual Harassment: Sexual Hostility and Unwanted
Sexual Attention
In the past year, how often have you been in a situation where a
customer or client :::
::: told sexual jokes or stories when you were nearby.
::: made sexualized hand gestures or expressions.
::: made offensive remarks about your appearance, body,
or off-work activities.
::: made repeated requests to go out for meals or drinks,
despite your saying no?
::: asked for your personal contact information (e.g., cell
phone or social media access).
::: touched you in a way that made you feel
Study 2: Survey Items (Customer)
Psychological Power: Sense of Power
I think I have a great deal of power.
If I want to, I get to make the decisions.
I can get her to listen to what I say.
I can get her to do what I want.
Psychological Power: Associations With Power
If I asked for her phone number shed probably give it
to me.
If I told her she was attractive, shed probably be
If I asked her out, shed probably say yes.
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(Appendices continue)
Sexual Harassment: Unwanted Sexual Attention
I would be likely to :::
Consider making requests for drinks or a date.
Consider exchanging phone numbers.
Touch her in a joking manner.
Employee Attractiveness
How attractive do you nd this person?
How good-looking do you nd this person?
How charming do you nd this person?
Appendix B
Study 2 Experimental Manipulation Images
Note. See our folder for complete details. See the online article for the color version of this gure.
Received June 15, 2020
Revision received December 30, 2020
Accepted January 16, 2021
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... MTurk provides access to a more diverse and representative sample of participants (Buhrmester et al., 2011;Casler et al., 2013), with data quality comparable or better than traditional recruitment methods such as undergraduate or MBA student samples (Hauser & Schwarz, 2016;Ramsey et al., 2016). These data were part of a broader data collection effort, including data used in a previous publication (Kundro et al., 2022). The only overlapping variable between the two articles is the percent of income from tips, which is used as a control in the present article. ...
... For example, rideshare drivers in New York City have successfully bargained for a wage floor, which can prevent dips in earnings from changing passenger volumes (Holley, 2018). Shifting from tipped work to a fair hourly wage is another approach that is gaining traction (National Public Radio, 2016) and may also offer other benefits like less sexual harassment from customers (Kundro et al., 2022). Organizations could also pursue ways of spreading bonuses and commission pay over a longer timeframe to smooth out some of this volatility. ...
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Every day, millions of individuals rely on fluctuating financial rewards in the form of customer tips, commissions, piece-rate, and performance-based pay. While these compensation systems are increasingly common, the volatility in pay that they create may harm employee health. Based on conservation of resource theory assumptions that money is a valued resource, I propose that volatility in pay represents resource insecurity, with costs to health. Across an experience sampling study of tipped workers (Study 1) and longitudinal studies of gig workers (Study 2) and those in sales, marketing, and finance (Study 3), findings demonstrate the harmful effects of pay volatility. Specifically, pay volatility had direct or indirect effects on physical symptoms, insomnia, sleep quality, and sleep quantity. Volatile pay was found to induce a scarcity mindset, where individuals ruminate and direct cognitive resources toward remedying the source of scarcity, with worse health outcomes as a result. Neither mindfulness nor savings rate moderated the effect. Exploratory analyses in Studies 2 and 3 revealed that one's dependence on volatile pay acted as a moderator that strengthened effects. Overall, performance-based pay creates pay volatility, which is linked to psychological threat and poor physical health for employees in a broad range of industries. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved).
... It was also found that the client was the third-most-reported agent. This is worrying given that the rights of thousands of women who have demanding jobs in customer service and hotel service may be violated [62,63,64,65], in addition to the invisible costs that can affect productivity. This is particularly sensitive in the case of female direct sales workers. ...
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This research demonstrates the impact of equitable management as a protective factor against workplace sexual harassment (WSH) and its consequences on labor productivity. It also shows that there are invisible costs for colleagues who witness WSH, through counterproductive behaviors, such as sabotage or production deviance, with an indirect decrease in labor productivity. We used a structured questionnaire that was answered by 827 women from 37 small, medium, and large private companies in the Lima Metropolitan Area, Peru. We designed a conceptual model and tested it using structural covariance equations. The results indicate that 33.5 % of women have been sexually harassed over the last 12 months, an average of 6.6 times, while 18.9 % of women have supported co-workers who were victims of WSH. Being sexually harassed at work decreases labor productivity by 43.1 % and increases the intention to desert the company by 15.2 %. Witnessing WSH increases the intention to drop out by 11.3 % and increases counterproductive behaviors by 39.6 %. We found that equitable management is a preventative factor for WSH. Equitable management not only decreases the probability of the occurrence of WSH by 2.2 times but also—if it exists—reduces its pernicious impact on productivity through various indirect effects. Equitable management can reduce the labor productivity costs caused by WSH by 4.6 times.
... In addition, stronger associations also occur between employees' job performance and their organizational commitment (Brett et al., 1995). Workers who are more economically dependent may also experience more mistreatment at work as their reliance on compensation decreases their perceived power (Kundro et al., 2022). Additionally, Zhang et al. (2012) theorized that economic dependence may moderate the relationship between embeddedness (in one's community and organization) and turnover. ...
Job insecurity is a pervasive and impactful global concern, eliciting stress and affecting the health and well-being of employees worldwide. The present study ( N = 679) examined the relationship between job insecurity and health and well-being and the moderating role of economic dependence and job satisfaction. When workers depended on their job as a source of income or when they were highly satisfied with their work, the relationship between job insecurity and health and well-being was exacerbated. The findings shed light on the complexities of individual variability in the relationship between job insecurity and health and well-being.
... As the original scales of our study were developed in English, we followed translation and backtranslation procedure to ensure the accuracy of translating English items into Chinese. Referring to previous high-level journal articles, 40,41 employees rated the extent to which they agreed with each item on a 7-point scale (1 = strongly disagree, 7 = strongly agree). Specific measurement items of the scale are shown in Table 1. ...
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Purpose: The purpose of this study is to investigate whether the emotional labor of service employees affects customer service misbehavior and repurchase intention and to explore the mechanism and boundary conditions. Methods: We collected a total of 252 pairs of employee-customer valid matching data and used SPSS 24.0 and Mplus7.0 statistical analysis tools to perform statistical analysis and hypothesis testing. Results: The results showed that employees' surface acting has a significant positive impact on customer misbehavior and negative impact on repurchase intention via perceived face threat, while deep acting has a significant negative impact on customer misbehavior and positive impact on repurchase intention via perceived face threat. And customer face threat sensitivity not only moderates the relationship between service employee emotional labor and customer perceived face threat but also moderates the indirect effect of surface acting on customer misbehavior and repurchase intention via customer perceived face threat. Conclusion: Based on face theory, this study explained how and when emotional labor of service employees may affect customer service misbehavior and repurchase intention. These results contribute to the emotional labor and customer service misbehavior literature by introducing perceived face threat as an underlying mechanism and face threat sensitivity as a boundary condition. In addition, this study suggests that service-oriented enterprises should pay attention to the management and guidance of employees' emotional labor and try their best to let employees show deep acting rather than surface acting.
... Pina & Gannon, 2012). Additionally, particularly in industries where customers wield power over workers and workers are financially dependent upon customers (e.g. for tips), customer-initiated harassment may be more common (Kundro et al., 2021). Particularly at the onset of the pandemic, job security was likely to be low and financial dependence high. ...
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As COVID-19 spread and organisations shut down, many workers continued working through adverse conditions. This study appropriates Stockholm syndrome to highlight privilege and power differentials between essential and non-essential workers during the pandemic. One hundred and twelve U.S. workers (Mage = 35.91, 50.9% female, 49% essential workers, Mhours worked per week = 48.11) completed an online survey during the height of national lockdowns (April to June of 2020). Results of correlations and a one-way multivariate analysis of variance suggest that Stockholm syndrome and sexual harassment are strongly related and that essential workers scored higher on both Stockholm syndrome and sexual harrassment than non-essential workers. The present study supports Stockholm syndrome as a framework for studying workplace injustice and contributes to novel literature regarding how the pandemic has exacerbated social inequities. Practical implications draw from existing literature on sexual harrassment and demonstrate the need for awareness of worker mistreatment during challenging times.
Purpose Drawing on social exchange theory, this study aims to investigate the relation of customer sexual harassment (CSH) and customer-oriented organizational citizenship behaviors (customer-oriented OCB), as well as the mediation of customer–employee exchange (CEX) and the moderation of hostile attribution bias. Design/methodology/approach The hypotheses were examined through a field study performed in six hotels in three Chinese cities and an experimental study. Findings The results revealed that CSH undermined the quality of CEX, leading employees to withdraw from customer-oriented OCB. Additionally, the hostile attribution bias of service employees reinforced the direct relationship between CSH and CEX and its indirect relationship with customer-oriented OCB via CEX. Practical implications The findings suggest that hospitality organizations should endeavor to reduce the occurrence of CSH, and that by valuing and encouraging the development of high-quality CEX, they can mitigate its detrimental effects. Special attention should also be paid to hospitality employees holding strong hostile attribution bias. Originality/value First, to the best of the authors’ knowledge, this is one of the first studies to explore the influence of CSH on customer-oriented OCB among hotel employees. In addition, examining the effect of CSH from the social exchange perspective represents a new theoretical approach. The finding also contributes to the literature on CEX by identifying an important antecedent. Finally, by investigating hostile attribution bias as a moderator, this research provides insights into how individual differences moderate the destructive influence of CSH.
This article explores the sexualized nature of the gay tourism industry and examines how ‘pink dollar’ organizations tacitly encourage incidences of sexual harassment from customers. Drawing on qualitative data from two popular gay tourism destinations, the article shows the embeddedness of sex, as a selling point, in the industry which creates blurred lines between service, sexuality, and sex. This consequently leads to sexual harassment by customers which is accepted and to which workers consent. Consent is driven by the hyper‐sexualization of the workplace and the power imbalance within the service triangle and the interaction with the customer and the precarious nature of the sector. Mirroring Burawoy’s (1979) idea of employees consenting (giving in) to organizational norms, we contribute to theory by suggesting that the power imbalance constructed within the service triangle gives high interactive power to the customer to harass workers without evident consequences for their misbehavior, whilst the latter consent and accept this as part of the job, due to the limited support from management.
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The past four decades of scholarship on emotional labor—the regulation of feelings and expressions performed to fulfill interpersonal work role expectations—has transformed our understanding of the purpose and outcomes of managing emotions at work. In last decade's comprehensive review by Grandey and Gabriel (2015), emotional labor research was described as stalled, with a need for detours around roadblocks related to three areas: (1) conceptualization and measurement of emotional labor; (2) more attention to the why and when emotional labor occurs; and (3) a wider set of performance and well‐being criteria. In our focused review of the most recent decade, we highlight how scholars navigated around the roadblocks, pointing out the remaining speedbumps and calling attention to the ways that research in Personnel Psychology contributed to these new directions. We conclude with a map pointing scholars toward the intersection of emotional labor with three grand challenges for the future of work: employee mental health, diversity and inclusion, and remote/virtual work and novel work arrangements—three topics that are needed extensions of where emotional labor scholarship has previously been. As such, our review builds an open road for the acceleration of emotional labor scholarship. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
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Service workers often endure sexual harassment from customers in the course of performing their work duties. This article includes two studies based upon psychological contract theory. Customer sexual harassment (CSH) is posited as a psychological contract breach, which predicts an affective response (i.e., psychological contract violation), and in turn, work and health-related outcomes. Both studies tested models using samples of customer service women from various professions. Using path analysis, Study 1 found support for the proposed model, finding significant indirect effects between CSH and emotional exhaustion and affective commitment via psychological contract violation. Study 2 expanded upon the results, finding additional evidence of mediation for burnout (emotional exhaustion, cynicism, professional efficacy), affective commitment, job satisfaction, and turnover intentions. This study adds to growing research highlighting the health and work-related costs of allowing CSH to persist. Results support the application of theory and raise concerns that organizations may be viewed as complicit in CSH, which in turn, is linked with health and job-related outcomes. Examining contract violation, a subjective appraisal of the organization, serves as a contribution to sexual harassment literature, which has focused on appraisal of the harassment itself and has not directly followed from theory. Future research could examine specifics regarding how harassment experiences might impact organizational perceptions via psychological contract theory. Drawing upon CSH and psychological contract literatures, approaches to prevention and intervention are discussed.
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A question facing nearly all private firms is whether they may keep employee pay secret. Many think it is obvious that firms are obligated to disclose a good deal of pay information once we properly appreciate the severity of pay discrimination in our economy and the autonomy-related interests that would be served by pay disclosure. This article puts forth a dissenting voice against the vast majority of recent commentary. It exploits a fissure between reasons we have to support certain coercive regulations and reasons firms have to act in the absence of such regulation. While acknowledging that we may need transparency regulations for firms that fail to act morally, it argues that otherwise moral firms need not disclose pay on the surveyed grounds.
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Building on career self-management perspectives, this study extends the literature on the link between personality and income as an indicator of objective career success by tracking income over time and by studying not only explicit but also implicit personality constructs, separately and integrated. Hypotheses on effects of explicit (Big Five traits) and implicit (Big Three motives of affiliation, power, and achievement) personality on income and income growth trajectories were tested using a growth model that tracked income over a 4-year time span (N = 311 participants; k = 1244 observations). Results revealed that income had a positive linear growth trajectory over time and employees with higher scores on emotional stability and intellect had higher levels of income at the starting point of the study. Emotional stability and conscientiousness additionally predicted the slope of the trajectory over the 4-year period. Lower implicit affiliation was associated with more income growth over time and implicit personality predicted income growth beyond a model only consisting of explicit personality. Results of this study broaden our understanding of predictors of income growth and present a comprehensive overview of (explicit/implicit) personality-income relations over time. Both theoretical and practical implications are discussed.
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Our understanding of emotional labor, while conceptually and empirically substantial, is normatively impoverished: very little has been said or written expressly about its ethical dimensions or ramifications. Emotional labor refers to efforts undertaken by employees to make their private feelings and/or public emotion displays consistent with job and organizational requirements. We formally define emotional labor, briefly summarize research in organizational behavior and social psychology on the causes and consequences of emotional labor, and present a normative analysis of its moral limits focused on conditional rights and duties of employers and employees. Our focus is on three points of conflict involving rights and duties as they apply to the performance of emotional labor: when employees’ and organizations’ rights conflict, when employees’ rights conflict with their duties, and when organizations’ rights conflict with their duties. We discuss implications for future inquiry as well as managerial practice.
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Very little is known about the targets’ appraisal process related to when targets blame the organization for sexual harassment. Thus, the purpose of the current study was to examine targets’ appraisal process of blaming the organization for sexual harassment incidents across multiple experiences of sexual harassment. Specifically, the current study used an experience sampling method (ESM) that captures a within-person approach to determine how the intensity of sexual harassment incidents affects the appraisal of fear of retaliation and perceived distress, which then influence organizational blame for sexual harassment across multiple experiences of sexual harassment. The study used a sample of 76 college students working in frontline service jobs who completed ratings of the variables three times, one month apart for a total of 228 ESM observations nested within participants. Random coefficient modeling was used to analyze multilevel models. The results showed that the intensity of sexual harassment incidents does lead to organizational blame. The results also showed that fear of retaliation and perceived distress mediated the relationship between the intensity of sexual harassment incidents and organizational blame. The most important implication for theory is the current article’s focus on the within-person appraisals over multiple incidents, showing that across multiple incidents of sexual harassment, the same employee has varying degrees of fear of retaliation, perceived distress, and organizational blame. Thus, the results of the current study underscore that each sexual harassment incident and employee appraisal differs on an event-by-event basis.
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Sociocognitive research has demonstrated that power affects how people feel, think, and act. In this article, I review literature from social psychology, neuroscience, management, and animal research and propose an integrated framework of power as an intensifier of goal-related approach motivation. A growing literature shows that power energizes thought, speech, and action and orients individuals toward salient goals linked to power roles, predispositions, tasks, and opportunities. Power magnifies self-expression linked to active parts of the self (the active self ), enhancing confidence, self-regulation, and prioritization of efforts toward advancing focal goals. The effects of power on cognitive processes, goal preferences, performance, and corruption are discussed, and its potentially detrimental effects on social attention, perspective taking, and objectification of subordinates are examined. Several inconsistencies in the literature are explained by viewing power holders as more flexible and dynamic than is usually assumed. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Psychology Volume 68 is January 03, 2017. Please see for revised estimates.
This study examined the influence of job-client gender context and personal characteristics on sexual harassment vulnerability of hotel employees in Accra, Ghana. Data for the study were solicited from 583 employees working in 55 hotels and analyzed using descriptive statistics, Chi-square test of independence and Kruskal-Wallis tests. Result of the study indicates that young and unmarried front office and food and beverage female employees are relatively predisposed to sexual harassment in hotel workplaces. Sexual harassment victimization in the hotel workspaces is associated with daily routine activities of employees as well as demographic characteristics whereas job-client gender context appears limited in explaining the sexual harassment vulnerability of hotel employees.
We examine the effect of power on powerholders’ egocentric versus prosocial orientation toward others. We argue that power, particularly in collaborative settings such as teams and organizations, induces a sense of responsibility to those over whom one has power. This sense of responsibility is driven by two mechanisms: (1)norms about the benevolent use of power in organizations and (2)awareness that subordinates are dependent on the powerholder. This sense of responsibility also has important consequences. In particular, we argue that it induces feelings of solidarity, a prosocial form of identification with subordinates, which in turn leads powerholders to engage in behavioral solidarity (behaviors that prioritize subordinates’ interests over powerholders’ self-interests). We test these ideas in a series of three pre-registered experiments and one field survey. We discuss the implications of our findings for research on the social psychology of power and organizational theories of power.
This article reviews research on sexual harassment, particularly that pertaining to academia, to understand its underlying causes. Arguing that sexual harassment is an ethical issue, we draw on the field of behavioral ethics to structure our review. We first review ethical climate antecedents at the individual, leader, organizational, and environmental levels and examine their effects on both the occurrence of and responses to sexually harassing behaviors. This discussion is followed by an exploration of research that speaks to the cognitive processes of bounded ethicality-including ethical fading, motivated blindness, and the slippery slope-and their role in facilitating and perpetuating sexual harassment. We conclude by highlighting the value to be gained by integrating research on sexual harassment with research on behavioral ethics and identifying several practical steps that can be taken to curb sexual harassment in academia. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Psychology Volume 70 is January 4, 2019. Please see for revised estimates.
Recent events in the workplace, government, and college campuses in the US have brought the issues of sexual harassment and assault to the forefront of media and public discussion. IO psychologists are uniquely suited to help address these issues by aiding in intervention development. Specifically, IO psychologists can provide key insight regarding the context, design, development, and evaluation of sexual harassment and assault training efforts. Although some empirical evidence suggests that trainings are effective in the short-term, there is little evidence to suggest long-term attitudinal or behavioral change outside of the training environment. Much of the research in this area, however, has focused solely on the training intervention, excluding the pre- and post-training environment. Thus, the present effort focuses on designing trainings that promote transfer, as well as improving measurement of desired outcomes, to provide a framework for improving sexual harassment and assault training. This framework addresses how individual differences, needs analysis, training design, evaluation, and post-training support contribute to lasting change while addressing the unique challenges associated with sexual harassment and assault. Lastly, this framework provides guidance for improving research in this area as well as practical suggestions for improving training programs.