Behavioral Sciences & the Law

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Volume 17 Issue 4 (October/December 1999), Pages 407-551

Gender differences in evaluating social–sexual conduct in the workplace (pages 413-433)

Abstract

Qualitative interviews exploring gender differences in perceptions of sexual harassment were conducted with 100 full‐time St. Louis area employees. Women more than men reported that telling dirty/sexual jokes was a non‐harassing behavior, qualified behaviors as harassing when they happened in the workplace, and considered behaviors as non‐harassing when the man's intentions were not harmful. Men more than women reported that requesting a date was a non‐harassing behavior, qualified behaviors as harassing when the woman did not welcome the behavior, and considered behaviors as non‐harassing when they did not violate workplace norms. Logistic regression analysis predicted the respondent gender with 86% accuracy. Finally, concept mapping suggested that when women think about harassers they are concerned with power and social aptitude, while men seem to be more concerned about the responsibility and psychological adjustment of perpetrators of sexual harassment. When women think about victims of harassment they are concerned with a woman's assertiveness and work effectiveness, while men are more concerned with the psychological state of the woman and how provocative she is when they think about victims of sexual harassment. Copyright © 1999 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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