Department

University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Dept. of Psychology

Publisher

University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Place of Publication

Chattanooga (Tenn.)

Abstract

Sexual harassment has become a prominent issue in workplaces and society as a whole. However, to effectively address the issue of sexual harassment and identify methods to reduce it in the workplace, it needs to be clearly defined and understood. Sexual harassment manifests in three forms which often overlap and are antecedents of one another: gender harassment, unwanted sexual attention, and sexual coercion (The National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine, NASEM, 2018). Gender harassment is the most common form of sexual harassment and is characterized by crude behavior, hostility, objectification, and exclusion rooted in the basis of gender (NASEM, 2018). Examples of gender harassment include insults based on one’s gender and remarks about one’s physicality (NASEM, 2018). Unwanted sexual attention is sexual advances, either physical or verbal, that are unwanted, including sexual assault and pressure for a sexual or romantic relationship (NASEM, 2018). Finally, sexual coercion is when employment status or opportunities are conditional on engaging in sexual relations or activities (NASEM, 2018). I am creating a bystander intervention program to reduce the occurrences and prevalence of sexual harassment in the workplace through establishing a community that takes responsibility of eliminating sexual harassment and an organizational culture of mutual respect and civility. Bystander intervention programs teach and empower individuals to interfere when observing behaviors and situations indicative of sexual harassment and discrimination (Orchowski & Gidycz, 2018). Specifically, this bystander intervention program will rely on a top-down approach and target organizational leaders to be the catalysts and models for organizational change. The more that an organization is perceived to be tolerant of sexual harassment, there is a higher likelihood for sexual harassment to occur (NASEM, 2018). Therefore, training leaders to confront harassment will hopefully establish organizational norms, beliefs, and expectations that sexual harassment will not be tolerated in the workplace. Additionally, research suggests that when leaders publicly confront sexism, there are higher perceptions that those behaviors will reduce sexist events in the future (Gervais & Hillard, 2014). Lastly, it has been shown that people are less likely to confront an individual with higher power than those possessing equal or lesser power (Ashburn-Nardo et al., 2014). Directing this training at leaders will increase the likelihood that people will take action in confronting because there will be a lower cost to benefit ratio than subordinates confronting superiors. Leaders will also serve as models for employees to base their future behaviors on.

Date

October 2018

Subject

Industrial and organizational psychology

Document Type

posters

Language

English

Rights

Under copyright.

License

http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/

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Sexual Harassment Bystander Intervention Program: Targeting Leaders to Enhance Organizational Culture

Sexual harassment has become a prominent issue in workplaces and society as a whole. However, to effectively address the issue of sexual harassment and identify methods to reduce it in the workplace, it needs to be clearly defined and understood. Sexual harassment manifests in three forms which often overlap and are antecedents of one another: gender harassment, unwanted sexual attention, and sexual coercion (The National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine, NASEM, 2018). Gender harassment is the most common form of sexual harassment and is characterized by crude behavior, hostility, objectification, and exclusion rooted in the basis of gender (NASEM, 2018). Examples of gender harassment include insults based on one’s gender and remarks about one’s physicality (NASEM, 2018). Unwanted sexual attention is sexual advances, either physical or verbal, that are unwanted, including sexual assault and pressure for a sexual or romantic relationship (NASEM, 2018). Finally, sexual coercion is when employment status or opportunities are conditional on engaging in sexual relations or activities (NASEM, 2018). I am creating a bystander intervention program to reduce the occurrences and prevalence of sexual harassment in the workplace through establishing a community that takes responsibility of eliminating sexual harassment and an organizational culture of mutual respect and civility. Bystander intervention programs teach and empower individuals to interfere when observing behaviors and situations indicative of sexual harassment and discrimination (Orchowski & Gidycz, 2018). Specifically, this bystander intervention program will rely on a top-down approach and target organizational leaders to be the catalysts and models for organizational change. The more that an organization is perceived to be tolerant of sexual harassment, there is a higher likelihood for sexual harassment to occur (NASEM, 2018). Therefore, training leaders to confront harassment will hopefully establish organizational norms, beliefs, and expectations that sexual harassment will not be tolerated in the workplace. Additionally, research suggests that when leaders publicly confront sexism, there are higher perceptions that those behaviors will reduce sexist events in the future (Gervais & Hillard, 2014). Lastly, it has been shown that people are less likely to confront an individual with higher power than those possessing equal or lesser power (Ashburn-Nardo et al., 2014). Directing this training at leaders will increase the likelihood that people will take action in confronting because there will be a lower cost to benefit ratio than subordinates confronting superiors. Leaders will also serve as models for employees to base their future behaviors on.