Organizational Responses for Preventing and Stopping Sexual Harassment: Effective Deterrents or Continued Endurance?
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- Nelson, C.G., Halpert, J.A. & Cellar, D.F. Sex Roles (2007) 56: 811. doi:10.1007/s11199-007-9239-8
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Survey data from a student population of experienced workers was used to examine perceptions of organizational responses to sexual harassment. Results revealed significant differences in the perceived seriousness of gender harassment, unwanted sexual attention, and sexual coercion. Moreover, women viewed all three types of harassment as being significantly more serious than men. Terminating perpetrators’ employment, providing a verbal/written reprimand, and mandating an apology were rated as being the most common organizational responses to sexual harassment. A significant positive relationship existed between perceived organizational response severity and effectiveness in combating harassment. Results partially supported the notion that more severe responses are associated with greater effectiveness in communicating organizational intolerance of harassment. Contrary to hypotheses, ratings of organizational response effectiveness and appropriateness were not dependent upon harassment type. Further, organizational responses that involved transferring or reassigning victims were not viewed as less severe punishment for perpetrators than were most responses that involved the perpetrator directly.