An exploratory study of sexual harassment in Pakistani organizations
- 947 Downloads
Despite prior research on the influence of national regulatory and cultural factors on sexual harassment (SH) in the workplace, few studies have examined SH, its impact on victims and redress processes in Muslim majority countries (MMCs) such as Pakistan. This study uses neo-institutional theory to develop a more comprehensive framework to explore SH experienced by women in the workplace in Pakistan. Qualitative methodology is adopted to examine employees’ and managers’ perceptions of SH. Drawing on interviews with working women and human resource managers in six Pakistani organizations, this study demonstrates that even when there are formal policies designed to prevent SH, cultural factors influence policy implementation. It reveals that there is a tension between traditional culture and behavior consistent with SH policies in the workplace. This study identifies three major factors which influence SH redressal; these are socio-cultural factors (e.g., female modesty), institutional factors (e.g., inappropriate redress procedures), and managerial expertise/bias.
KeywordsSexual harassment Muslim women Pakistan Socio-cultural factors Equal employment opportunity
The authors would like to thank Professor Anil Neir for his advice and feedback to improve the quality of this article.
- AASHA. 2002. Situational analysis of sexual harassment, Annual Report. Islamabad: AASHA.Google Scholar
- Ahmad, I., & Ahmad, N. (no date). Pakistan: National studies in employment situations and workers protection. International labour organisation. http://ilo-mirror.library.cornell.edu/public/english/dialogue/ifpdial/downloads/wpnr/pakistan.pdf, accessed Aug. 5, 2012.
- Ali, F. 2010. A comparative study of EEO in Pakistan, India and Bangladesh. In M. Ozbilgin & J. Syed (Eds.). Managing gender diversity in Asia: A research companion. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar.Google Scholar
- Ali, F., & Knox, A. 2008. Pakistan’s commitment to equal employment opportunity for women: A Toothless tiger?. International Journal of Employment Studies, 16: 39–58.Google Scholar
- Alvesson, M., & Sköldberg, K. 1999. Toward reflexive methodology. London: Sage.Google Scholar
- Berger, P. L., & Luckmann, T. 1966. The social construction of reality: A treatise in the sociology of knowledge. Garden City, NY: Anchor Books.Google Scholar
- Burns, T. R., & Dietz, T. 1992. Cultural evolution: Social rule systems, selection, and human agency. International Sociology, 7: 250–283.Google Scholar
- CIA (Central Intelligence Agency). 2013. The world factbook, https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/pk.html, accessed Oct. 10, 2013.
- Denzin, N. K., & Lincoln, Y. S. (Eds.). 1994. Handbook of qualitative research. Thousand Oaks: Sage.Google Scholar
- Denzin, N. K., & Lincoln, Y. S. (Eds.). 2000. Handbook of qualitative research (2nd edn). Thousand Oaks: Sage.Google Scholar
- DeSouza, E. R., Solberg, J., & Elder, C. 2007. A cross-cultural perspective on judgments of woman-to-woman sexual harassment: Does sexual orientation matter?. Sex Roles, 56(7/8): 473–482.Google Scholar
- EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission). 2009. http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/statistics/enforcement/sexual_harassment.cfm, accessed June 22, 2010.
- Ferdoos, A. 2005. Social status of urban and non-urban working women in Pakistan— A comparative study. Unpublished Dissertation, University of Osnabrueck, Germany.Google Scholar
- Frazier, P. A., Cochran, C. C., & Olson, A. M. 1995. Social science research on lay definitions of sexual harassment. Journal of Social Issues, 51(1): 21–37.Google Scholar
- Global Gender Report. 2011. Geneva: World Economic Forum Press.Google Scholar
- Gutek, B. A., & Done, R. 2001. Sexual harassment. In R. K. Unger (Ed.). Handbook of the psychology of women and gender: 367–387. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
- Gutek, B. A., Murphy, R. O., & Douma, B. 2004. A review and critique of the Sexual Experiences Questionnaire (SEQ). Law and Human Behavior, 28(4): 457–482.Google Scholar
- Hall, P. & Taylor, R. 1996. Political science and the three new institutionalisms, Political Studies, 44: 936–957.Google Scholar
- Hartley, J. 2004. Case study research. In C. Cassell & G. Symon (Eds.). Essential guide to qualitative methods in organisational research. London: Sage.Google Scholar
- Hofstede, G. 2001. Culture’s consequences: Comparing values, behaviors, institutions, and organizations across nations, 2nd ed. Thousand Oaks: Sage.Google Scholar
- Hunt, C. M., Davidson, M. J., Fielden, S. L., & Hoel, H. 2010. Reviewing sexual harassment in the workplace—An intervention model. Personnel Review, 39(5): 655–673.Google Scholar
- ILO (International Labour Organization). 2011. Guidelines on sexual harassment prevention at the workplace, http://betterwork.org/in-labourguide/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/L-GUIDE-2011-Guidelines-on-Sexual-Harassment-Prevention-at-the-Workplace-MoMT-LG.pdf, accessed June 12, 2012.
- Katou, A. A., Budhwar, P. S., Woldu, H., & Al-Hamadi, A. B. 2010. Influence of ethical beliefs, national culture and institutions on preferences for HRM in Oman. Personnel Review, 39(6): 728–745.Google Scholar
- MacKinnon, C. A. 1979. Sexual harassment of working women: A case of sex discrimination. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
- Malik, A., & Khalid, G. K. 2008. Work/life conflicts and desired work hour adjustments: Banking perspective in Pakistan. International Review of Business Research Papers, 4(5): 267–276.Google Scholar
- McCann, D. 2005. Sexual harassment at work: National and international responses. Geneva: International Labour Organization.Google Scholar
- Merkin, R. 2008. Cross-cultural differences in perceiving sexual harassment: Demographic incidence rates of sexual harassment/sexual aggression in Latin America. North American Journal of Psychology, 10(2): 277–290.Google Scholar
- Meyer, J. W. 2009. Reflections: Institutional theory and world society. In G. Kruecken & G. S. Drori (Eds.). World society: The writings of John W. Meyer. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- North, D. C. 1990. Institutions, institutional change and economic performance. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Patel, R. 1991. Socio-economic political status, and women and law in Pakistan. Karachi: Faiza Publishers.Google Scholar
- Powell, W. 2007. The new institutionalism, in the international encyclopedia of organization studies. Thousand Oaks: Sage.Google Scholar
- Prasad, A. & Prasad, P. 2002. The coming age of interpretive organizational research. Organizational Research Methods, 5(1): 4–11.Google Scholar
- Pryor, J. B., DeSouza, E. R., Fitness, J., Hutz, C., Kumpf, M., Lubbert, K., Pesonen, O., & Erber, M. W. 1997. Gender differences in the interpretation of social-sexual behaviour: A cross-cultural perspective on sexual harassment. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 28(5): 509–534.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Sakallı-Uğurlu, N., Salman, S., & Turgut, S. 2010. Predictors of Turkish women’s and men’s attitudes toward sexual harassment: Ambivalent sexism, and ambivalence toward men. Sex Roles, 63: 871–881.Google Scholar
- Samir, N., Mohamed, R., Moustafa, E., & Abou Saif, H. 2012. Nurses’ attitudes and reactions to workplace violence in obstetrics and gynaecology departments in Cairo hospitals. Eastern Mediterranean Health Journal, 18(3): 198–204.Google Scholar
- Schwandt, T. A. 1998. Constructivist, interpretivist approaches to human inquiry. In N. K. Denzin & Y. S. Lincoln (Eds.). The landscape of qualitative research: Theories and issues. Thousand Oaks: Sage.Google Scholar
- Scott, W. R. 2001. Institutions and organizations, 2nd ed. Thousand Oaks: Sage.Google Scholar
- Sidiqi, D. M. 2003. The sexual harassment of industrial workers: Strategies for intervention in the workplace and beyond. CPD-UNFPA working paper series no. 26, Centre for Policy Dialogue, United Nations Population Fund Publication.Google Scholar
- Terpstra, D. E., & Baker, D. B. 1986. Psychological and demographic correlates of perceptions of sexual harassment. Genetic, Social, and General Psychology Monographs, 112(4): 461–478.Google Scholar
- Till, F. J. 1980. Sexual harassment: A report on the sexual harassment of students. Washington, DC: National Advisory Council on Women’s Educational Programs.Google Scholar
- Weeden, R., Rosen. C., Carberry, E. & Rodrick, S. 2001. Current practices in stock option plan design, 2nd ed. Oakland, CA: The National Center for Employee Ownership.Google Scholar
- Yin, R. K. 1981. The case study as a serious research strategy. Knowledge: Creation, Diffusion, Utilization, 3(1): 97–114.Google Scholar