Economic Booms Prompt Sexual Harassment at Work

Sirola, N and Lee, M and Pillutla, M and Jha, N (2020) Economic Booms Prompt Sexual Harassment at Work. Academy of Management Proceedings, 2020 (1). ISSN 0065-0668

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Despite unprecedented economic growth and gender emancipation in recent decades, sexual harassment continues to be prevalent in organizations. This fact is puzzling given the dominant theoretical perspective of sexual harassment as a way for men to manage threat posed by women entering the workforce and competing for jobs, which suggests that sexual harassment should decrease with economic growth and should be least pronounced during prosperous times. We extend this traditional view, the job market perspective, with a novel theoretical model we develop, the mating-market perspective, which suggests that persistent sexual harassment during economically prosperous times might not be unexpected but rather a predictable (and, as such, manageable) product of an evolved mating-related psychological architecture. We argue that the state of the economy impacts not just career-related, but also mating-related motives, ultimately leading people to engage in more rather than less acts that can engender experiences of sexual harassment during more prosperous times. We find support for our model across two large- scale field studies (including almost 7,000 employees), which examined how actual experiences of sexual harassment relate to objective economic conditions across 450 U.S. counties, as well as an experimental replication. Our work extends the understanding of motivational underpinnings of sexual harassment and advances organizations’ ability to predict and manage one of the key workplace problems."

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: The article was published by the author with the affiliation of London Business School
Subjects: Organizational Behaviour
Date Deposited: 29 Jun 2023 17:39
Last Modified: 10 Jul 2023 11:24

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