Bystanders’ Reactions to Sexual Harassment

Abstract

The purpose of this investigation was to examine bystanders’ reactions to observing sexual harassment. Undergraduate students (n = 107 and n = 122, respectively) in the Southwest U.S. participated in two experiments in which they read about cases of sexual harassment and responded with their preferred punishment for the offenses. Findings from both studies demonstrate the importance of (a) a proactive organizational culture, (b) handing down punishments for sexual harassment that match both the severity of the infraction and the culture of the workplace, and (c) remaining cognizant of the potential differences in the ways women and men respond to observing sexual harassment in the workplace.

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Correspondence to Claudia Benavides-Espinoza.

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Benavides-Espinoza, C., Cunningham, G.B. Bystanders’ Reactions to Sexual Harassment. Sex Roles 63, 201–213 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11199-010-9781-7

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Keywords

  • Harassment
  • Diversity culture
  • Organizational justice