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Personnel Review

Emerald Article: Reviewing sexual harassment in the workplace - an intervention model C.M. Hunt, M.J. Davidson, S.L. Fielden, H. Hoel

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To cite this document: C.M. Hunt, M.J. Davidson, S.L. Fielden, H. Hoel, (2010),"Reviewing sexual harassment in the workplace - an intervention model", Personnel Review, Vol. 39 Iss: 5 pp. 655 - 673 Permanent link to this document: http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/00483481011064190 Downloaded on: 30-04-2012 References: This document contains references to 82 other documents To copy this document: permissions@emeraldinsight.com This document has been downloaded 1817 times.

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Reviewing sexual harassment in the workplace an intervention model

C.M. Hunt, M.J. Davidson, S.L. Fielden and H. Hoel
The Centre for Diversity and Equality at Work, Manchester Business School, The University of Manchester, Manchester, UK
Purpose The purpose of this literature review is to provide an intervention model, which can be used by organisations to combat sexual harassment in the workplace. Sexual harassment has been somewhat ignored over recent years, with much of the academic literature focusing on harassment specically on workplace bullying, or psychological harassment of a generic nature. For the purpose of this review, the authors have specically reviewed individual and organisational antecedents, particularly focusing on the organisations culture and training programmes. Design/methodology/approach A review of the sexual harassment literature has been conducted to examine primary, secondary and tertiary interventions to combat sexual harassment in the workplace. Findings There are a variety of antecedents of sexual harassment which can be examined; these cover three main categories: groups and individuals; organisational and situational; and societal. Sexual harassment should be seen as an issue which needs to be addressed by the organisation, rather than simply increasing and improving an individuals skills in order to deal with harassment (Fitzgerald and Shullman). Originality/value This paper provides an up-to-date review of the sexual harassment literature and from this provides a model, which organisations can utilise when attempting to tackle the problem of sexual harassment. Keywords Sexual harassment, Best practice, United Kingdom Paper type Literature review

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Received January 2007 Revised January 2007 Accepted January 2010

Introduction The majority of sexual harassment literature appears to have been published in the 1990s, with less being published in recent years. The emergence of the term sexual harassment can be traced back to the mid 1970s in North America, however, in the UK, the rst successful case when sexual harassment was argued to be a form of sex discrimination was in 1986, which was under the Employment Protection Act (Hodges Aeberhard, 2001). Sexual harassment can be dened as unwanted conduct of a sexual nature, or other conduct based on sex affecting the dignity of women and men at work which include physical verbal and non verbal conduct (Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC), 2005). The aim of this paper is to present a review of the sexual harassment literature[1], culminating in an intervention model for organisations to combat sexual harassment in the workplace (see Figure 1). First, sexual harassment will be dened and the scale of harassment in organisations will be examined, providing information from incidence surveys. In order to formulate an intervention model it is necessary to understand the

Personnel Review Vol. 39 No. 5, 2010 pp. 655-673 q Emerald Group Publishing Limited 0048-3486 DOI 10.1108/00483481011064190

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Figure 1. Sexual harassment: intervention model

antecedents of sexual harassment and to examine how and why harassment occurs in some workplace situations and not in others. Therefore, a review of organisational antecedents of sexual harassment will be provided, looking specically at organisational culture. In addition, the paper will examine three levels of intervention, primary, secondary and tertiary, and examine solutions, which have been adopted by organisations, so as to provide a holistic perspective to the issue of sexual harassment in the workplace. Dening sexual harassment In the UK in 2005, the Employment Equality (Sex Discrimination) Regulations were amended to cover sexual harassment workplace behaviour that is often difcult to prove and until now has been largely undened in the UK. This act denes sexual

harassment as unwanted conduct (verbal, non-verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature) that has the purpose or effect of violating her/his dignity and/or of creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment[2]. Nevertheless, there appears to be a lack of consensus regarding the denition of sexual harassment, particularly when examining the behaviours and the circumstances in which sexual harassment occurs (Bimrose, 2004; Fitzgerald and Ormerod, 1991; Fitzgerald et al., 1995; Stockdale and Hope, 1997). There is no one denition of sexual harassment, either in terms of behaviour or the circumstances in which it occurs (Bimrose, 2004; Fitzgerald and Ormerod, 1991; Fitzgerald et al., 1995; Stockdale and Hope, 1997). Furthermore, it is important to understand what constitutes sexual harassment. The term sexual harassment is generally accepted as representing two types of behaviour. The rst is usually dened as quid pro quo, this relates to where an individual will explicitly or implicitly makes sexual requests and /or advances as an exchange for some desired result, for example a promotion. Alternatively, there is sexual harassment, which can be dened as a hostile environment; this refers to sex-related behaviours which make the victim feel uncomfortable, and thus producing a hostile work environment. The subject of hostile environments is a source of much debate, this is often the case as this form of sexual harassment is viewed as more subtle and is often termed the grey area (Smolensky and Kleiner, 2003, p. 60). Researchers have also highlighted a number of psychological dimensions to sexual harassment, these are: gender harassment, unwanted sexual attention and sexual coercion (Fitzgerald et al., 1995). Estimates regarding the incidence of sexual harassment vary. Differences regarding the denition of sexual harassment, and the various methodologies used by researchers, will ultimately have a signicant impact on the levels of sexual harassment reported. The way in which surveys ask respondents about sexual harassment and the methods used to collect data can have a profound impact on the ndings (Grainger and Fitzner, 2006; Rutherford et al., 2006). A World Health Organisation (WHO) (Heise et al., 1999) multi country study, which examined womens health and domestic violence, found that the percentage of women who were reporting sexual abuse before the age of 15 in a face-to-face interview almost doubled when women were able to report their experiences anonymously. While qualitative methodologies, such as interviews, may be seen as more effective in terms of gaining an in-depth understanding of the experiences of victims of sexual harassment, such data collection techniques may in fact produce unreliable results because of respondents reluctance to disclose such information face-to-face (Watts and Zimmerman, 2002). Thus, research into the actual methodologies used in sexual harassment studies would be extremely useful. The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) (2005) have conducted Britains rst large scale survey examining unfair treatment, perceived discrimination, bullying and sexual harassment in the workplace (Grainger and Fitzner, 2006). The survey involved face-to-face interviews with 3,936 employees across Great Britain, between November 2005 and January 2006. The survey found that few employees had experienced sexual harassment in the workplace in the last two years: less than one in every 100 (0.9 per cent). In contrast, almost four per cent of employees stated that they were aware of another person at their workplace who had experienced sexual harassment in the last

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two years. This highlights the problem of self-reporting and sexual harassment incidence gures. Women had a higher incidence of sexual harassment (1.1 per cent) than men (0.7 per cent). However, two fths (41 per cent) of British employees who stated that they had been sexually harassed were men. Less than one fth stated that the sexual harassment was still going on. Moreover, one of the most vulnerable groups was found to be employees with a disability, or long-term illness and they were ve times more likely to have experienced sexual harassment than employees without a disability (Grainger and Fitzner, 2006). Indeed, there is a scarcity of research relating to the sexual harassment of men in the workplace and there is a need for further in-depth research in this area. One must also consider that the number of complaints, which are registered, presents only a fraction of the sexual harassment experienced in the UK. Worryingly, the Industrial Society found that only ve per cent of individuals facing sexual harassment at work ever made a formal complaint against their harasser. Furthermore, gures produced by the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) suggest that of individuals who actually start tribunal proceedings, less than 10 per cent reach formal hearing proceedings (Equal Opportunities Review (EOR), 2002). The Equal Opportunities Review (EOR) (2002) survey of 112 organisations, examined how sexual harassment policies work in practice and the outcomes following complaints. The survey found that almost seven in ten employers consider sexual harassment to be a fairly important problem for employers, compared with just 17 per cent who viewed sexual harassment as a major problem, and 2 per cent who do not see it as a problem at all. A major contributing factor to there being such a variance in sexual harassment incidence gures is that it is often difcult for organisations to monitor harassment, particularly when complaints are dealt with informally. Encouragingly, seventy seven per cent of organisations in the Equal Opportunities Review survey (2002) did have some form of monitoring procedure in place. However, when examining this in more detail, it appears that there is a substantial variation between public and private organisations. Nearly all (92 per cent) of public sector organisations had a monitoring procedure, while just over half (54 per cent) of private sector organisations carried out monitoring (Equal Opportunities Review (EOR), 2002). The variance in reported gures is not only a problem in the UK. A number of European surveys have found that between 40 per cent and 90 per cent of women questioned have suffered some form of sexual harassment during their working lives (European Commission, 1998). The wide variation in sexual harassment incidence data highlights the importance of conducting more research in this area. Without knowing the true extent of the problem in the workplace, it is difcult to determine whether sexual harassment polices and procedures are, in fact, effective. In summary, although specic legislation exists with regard to sexual harassment in the workplace, interpretations as to what this means in specic behavioural terms vary. Furthermore, identication and prevalence rates of sexual harassment remain problematic due to differential methodologies and a lack of formal monitoring. Situational/organizational antecedents of sexual harassment It is being increasingly recognised that some work situations appear to be associated with increased incidents of sexual harassment and it has been suggested that sexual

harassment is more prevalent in occupations which are male dominated (European Commission, 1998). However, Kohlman (2004) found that sexual harassment is prevalent whether men or women dominate the occupation, which would suggest that the gender of the victim is not a causal effect. Sexual harassment tends to be prevalent in organisations where there are increased power differentials between men and women (Veale and Gold, 1998) and power is an extremely important issue to focus on when discussing situational and organisational factors. When the sex ratio of the organisation is skewed, being either male or female dominated, the dominant genders sex role will spill over the role expectation of the job (Gutek, 1985). Sex role spill over is dened as the carrying over of gender based expectation regarding certain behaviours that are seen as inappropriate in the workplace (Fitzgerald and Shullman, 1993). Power differentials are likely to have an impact on all forms of psychological violence, the power may be formal i.e. status, or informal i.e. experience. Sexual harassment appears to be more likely in situations where there is a substantial power difference between men and women. This is increasingly the case for careers where female employees have gradually improved their position and status in relation to their male counterparts. In these careers, instances of sexual harassment may in fact be the result of exclusionary behaviour by male colleagues (Di Martino et al., 2003). Job insecurity can be seen as an additional antecedent of sexual harassment, as job insecurity can be based on the power of managers over subordinates which may be used to exert inuence (Bjorkqvist et al., 1994). A change in management has also been seen to be an antecedent of sexual harassment in organisations (HSA (Health and Safety Authority, Ireland), 2001). Sexual harassment has been shown to be prevalent in certain social situations (Dekker and Barling, 1998; Pryor et al., 1995) and in organisations with certain characteristics. A framework for understanding the causes and precursors of sexual harassment and sexually harassing behaviour has been termed the Person X Situation Analysis. Pryor et al. (1993) suggest that a combination of personal factors (e.g. attitudes towards women, self-esteem and experience) and situational factors (e.g. permissive culture, status, opportunity) contribute to repeated sexually harassing behaviour. Gutek (1985) suggest that sexual harassment is more likely to be apparent in highly sexualised settings and work environments. For example, if the organisation appears to tolerate sexual behaviour, sexual harassment is in fact more likely to occur in that organisation (Haavio-Mannila et al., 1988). Perry (1983) found that sexual harassers could often have reputations for exhibiting sexually exploitative behaviour. Pryor et al. (1993, p. 73) state that personality and attitudinal factors may importantly contribute to sexually harassing behaviour. The Person X Situation interaction would dictate that men who are likely to sexually harass usually only behave in that way when there are circumstances where the social norms actually permit that form of behaviour. When examining organisational antecedents of sexual harassment it is imperative to examine the organisational culture, this will help to address actions, which may be perpetuating uncivil behaviours. Leadership styles within an organisation may also have an impact on the scale of bullying and harassment. Two types of leadership style have been associated with harassment and bullying an authoritarian and a laissez faire style (OMoore, 2000; Vartia, 1996; Einarsen et al., 1994; Di Martino et al., 2003). As many organisations tend

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to adopt either of these styles, examination of how and why certain leadership styles lead to an increase in bullying and sexual harassment would be useful. The US Equal Employment Commission (2003) states prevention is the best tool to eliminate sexual harassment in the workplace. The EEOC argues that the best way to prevent sexual harassment is by communicating to all employees that sexual harassment will not be tolerated in the workplace and thus ensuring that the organisations culture supports this (Dougherty and Smythe, 2004). Organisations need to ensure that they actively promote their policies throughout the organisational hierarchy (Keily and Henbest, 2000). While sexual harassment can be seen as an isolated incident, it can also be one, which permeates the whole organisational culture (Dougherty and Smythe, 2004); however this area of study remains underdeveloped (Wood, 1992). Taking a consultative approach in the establishment and implementation of policies is a positive step, as is ensuring that there is a common view of harassment so that all employees know what is, and is not, acceptable in the workplace (Thomas, 2004). One must also consider the individual, social and cultural settings when discussing the issue of sexual harassment (Handy, 2006). When examining organisational and situational antecedents of sexual harassment it is important to examine various organisational factors, such as leadership styles and the culture of the organisation. It may be useful for organisations to examine their leadership styles, gender ratios and the overarching culture of the organisation before they attempt to implement a sexual harassment policy or initiative. Primary intervention Policies and training Primary interventions or preventive measures aim to address the root cause of the problem, preventing problems from developing (Quick, 1999). However, empirical research documenting the efcacy of sexual harassment policies preventing or reducing sexual harassment is scarce (Bell et al., 2002, p. 161). Bell et al. (2002) discuss the potential of using a preventive health model when addressing sexual harassment, using the well-known health problem of cardiovascular disease to illustrate this. Cardiovascular disease has multiple causes and develops gradually over time, through a variety of stages. Equally, sexual harassment is a well-known problem, which also has multiple antecedents and can develop through a number of stages over time. An organisation may have risk factors or precursors, for example unequal gender ratios and high power differentials between male and female employees. Without the adoption of preventive measures such risk factors could lead to low-level harassment, such as inappropriate jokes or touching. The harassment may escalate to sexual coercion, rape or assault, what Bell et al. (2002, p. 16) dene as the advanced stages of sexual harassment, if the organisation has failed to implement preventive measures. When taking a preventive management perspective, it is essential to implement policies and initiatives before the problem develops; it is also much easier to discuss the issues of sexual harassment at this stage. At this point, which can be dened as the primary stage, the organisation and the employees have certain characteristics which have the potential of merging together to create an unhealthy organisation, whereby sexual harassment is embedded in the culture of the organisation. Bell et al. (2002, p. 162) advocate the importance of a strong organisational culture, which aims to show intolerance of sexual harassment. It is also important to ensure broad involvement in

the process, right through the organisational hierarchy. A formal sexual harassment policy can help to set behavioural guidelines, which potential harassers may be deterred by and may encourage potential victims of sexual harassment to report harassment (Gruber and Smith, 1995). However, policies alone are not necessarily sufcient to deal effectively with sexual harassment. It is essential that a zero tolerance perspective is communicated to and understood by all employees (Thomas, 2004) (i.e. persons in positions of authority, who might otherwise exercise their discretion in making subjective judgments regarding the severity of a given offense, are compelled to impose a pre-determined punishment regardless of individual culpability or extenuating circumstances). Bell et al. (2002), also, advocate the use of organisational assessments, and regular training (see Figure 1). Despite the importance of implementation of policies and procedures, there is a lack of empirical studies to show how and why effective implementation is vital to the success of an anti-harassment policy (Bagihole and Woodward, 1995). Policies which are based on protectionist ideals can lead to increasing sex segregation and prohibition of all relationships, even those which are consensual (Zippel, 2003). Therefore, it is important for organisations to implement policies, which are based on empowerment, encouraging the resistance of sexual harassment through the formal support of victims and the unconditional punishment of perpetrators. Workplaces with explicit policies on sexual harassment and those, which adopt a proactive approach, tend to have fewer problems with sexual harassment (Pryor et al., 1993). Byers and Rue (1991, p. 206) state, training must be directed toward the accomplishment of some organisational goal. Furthermore, training should raise awareness and clarify any misconceptions regarding sexual harassment and inform management of their roles and responsibilities if it is to be successful (York et al., 1997; Laabs, 1995). Case studies can be an effective method to employ in training programmes. Takeyama and Kleiner (1998) suggest that case studies may then be used to conduct role-playing where participants are able to practice their interpersonal skills in a variety of challenging situations. Another method of learning is called modelling experiences, where individuals learn through observation, rather than from direct experience. This is particularly pertinent, as employees should learn to avoid sexual harassment by training (indirect means), rather than through forms of punishment, following an incident. In addition to case studies, organisations can also employ role negotiation techniques. Licata and Popovich (1987) examined the possibility of using role theory as a framework for understanding sexual harassment problems and using role negotiation techniques as a way of resolving work conicts. Licata and Popovich (1987, pp. 35-6) describe role negotiation as a technique, which requires each group member to examine and state their own roles as well as the role expectations of other individuals in the group. They go on to assert that when role negotiation techniques are used as part of a sexual harassment training programme, they:
[. . .] can open the channels of communication and provide participants with an opportunity to state their expectations of their supervisors and co-workers.

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While the work of Licata and Popovich (1987) was conducted two decades ago, the role negotiation technique has some useful ideas for organisations to consider in the design

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of anti harassment programmes. Although it does have limitations, depending on the hierarchical nature of the organisation. Training can be an effective method to employ at the primary intervention stage and can include such methods as internet-based training, role plays, group discussion, board games, video/DVD based training, sensitivity training and lectures (Arthur and Doverspike, 2005; Wexley and Latham, 2002). Training can be used to inform staff of sexual harassment and can help to equip individuals with the necessary skills to deal with sexual harassment if it occurs (see Figure 1). A bottom up approach to training and policy design, which focuses on unfreezing the established beliefs, behaviour and norms within the organisation, may be effective in establishing commitment throughout the organisational hierarchy (Deadrick et al., 1996, p. 68). The key to the bottom up approach is for complete involvement and ownership of the policies and programmes which are developed. Organisations need to base their change process on a three-step model: problem recognition; employee learning and development; and evaluation of change effectiveness. Training effectiveness Deadrick et al. (1996) conclude that evaluating change throughout the organisation is imperative when implementing a change process, yet there appears to be an absence of empirical investigations evaluating the effectiveness of training programmes (Arthur and Doverspike, 2005). One of the few studies to investigate effectiveness examined what factors were likely to inuence a government workers perception of the effectiveness of sexual harassment training (Newman et al., 2003). The study found that on average men and older workers were more likely to perceive training as effective, when compared with women and younger workers. This is particularly interesting considering women and younger workers are usually those who are more likely to be exposed to sexual harassment. There also appeared to be a tendency for individuals with higher levels of education at relatively higher grades and those who were divorced, to perceive the training as less effective. Studies have also investigated the effectiveness of workshops and training videos and found that they can be successful for informing individuals of sexually harassing behaviours and attempting to combat the problem of sexual harassment (York et al., 1997; Barak, 1994; Beauvais, 1986). Beauvais (1986) found that respondents awareness and sensitivity regarding the issue of sexual harassment increased following training workshops. Although there appears to be descriptive literature discussing sexual harassment training interventions, with much of it originating from organisations in the United States (Howard, 1991), there is a dearth of research evaluating the outcomes of sexual harassment training initiatives and programmes (Fitzgerald and Shullman, 1993). When discussing the effectiveness of sexual harassment training programmes, it is important to examine how employees views regarding sexually harassing behaviour change over time. A study by Antecol and Cobb-Clark (2003) analysed the relationship between sexual harassment training and employees views about what behaviours actually constituted sexually harassing behaviour. The study found that women were signicantly more likely to consider that unwanted sexual behaviours could be constituted as sexual harassment, when compared with men. Furthermore, women and men were more likely to consider that unwanted sexual behaviour, was sexual harassment, if it was initiated by a supervisor, when compared with a co-worker. More

than three in four of the employees reported that they had attended some form of sexual harassment training at some time during the previous 12 months. The majority of respondents stated that training had increased their sensitivity regarding the issue of sexual harassment, or that they were more aware of the feelings of other individuals in the workplace. However, research-examining perceptions of what constitutes sexual harassment has shown different results. For example, a pilot study by Icengole et al. (2002) found that male respondents tended to report more accurate perceptions of sexual harassment behaviours by both supervisory and co-workers, than women. Respondents were asked to rate whether it was sexual harassment for a supervisor to ask an employee to have sex with them and then promise to help them with their job prospects. Six per cent of male respondents and 16 per cent of the female respondents believed that this behaviour was never or hardly ever sexual harassment. Furthermore, 10 per cent of male respondents, compared with 19 pe cent of female respondents, stated that is never or hardly ever sexual harassment for a supervisor to ask an employee on a date with the promise that it will help the employee with job prospects (Icengole et al., 2002). It appears that a multi method approach to sexual harassment training can be effective in reducing the occurrence of sexual harassment in the workplace. Case studies, role negotiation techniques, modelling experiences and group discussion are just some of the techniques which can be employed to raise awareness. However, the long-term impact of such training has yet to be established, with studies relying on immediate reactions to training rather than on real changes to attitudes and behaviour. Furthermore, despite the success of some training methods in increasing knowledge and changing attitudes towards sexual harassment, this bottom up approach is not sufcient if sexual harassment is to be successful eliminated from organisations. A top down approach is a vital aspect in dealing with sexual harassment, conveying the message that this form of behaviour is unacceptable and that it will not be tolerated in any form. The resulting secondary interventions that arise from this top down approach are discussed in the following. Secondary interventions This stage refers to how an organisation responds when faced with sexual harassment, for example ensuring that an effective complaints procedure is in place (see Figure 1). Thomas (2004) found that universities which had a more consultative approach and ensured that there was an informal network of advisers available for employees, rather than linear approach i.e. ling complaint with line manager, had higher reporting rates. Furthermore, universities who employed a network approach were nearly twice as likely, as those without a network, to have ve or more cases reported to them over a period of one year. This study raises the issue of incidence rates. Some may argue that an organisation, which has a high incident rate of sexual harassment, is an unhealthy organisation with ineffective policies. However, it may show that the organisation has employed an effective method of dealing with harassment and, as such, empowers and enables individuals to report cases of sexual harassment, rather than it being hidden within the organisation. For organisations to establish effective complaints procedures it is important to understand the victims responses to sexual harassment and how victims cope with sexually harassing behaviours and ling complaints. Knapp et al. (1997) established a

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typology on an analysis of the existing literature and combined Grubers (1989) categorizations to formulate a two-by-two typology of responses to sexual harassment. Knapp et al. (1997) believe that supported responses are more effective when dealing with harassment and state that confrontation, negotiation and advocacy seeking are all ways in which a victim can effectively confront the problem of sexual harassment, although the efcacy of these approaches depend on a number of circumstances, such as work/group characteristics, power relations and individual characteristics. A study by Sigal et al. (2003), which used two samples; a multicultural sample from a medium sized New York University and a black sample from a historically black university, supports the typology dened by Knapp et al. (1997). Sigal et al. (2003) investigated the effects of victims coping responses and the type of setting on students reactions to a sexual harassment scenario and found that active coping strategies are effective methods of dealing with sexual harassment. Moreover, negative assumptions of the victim were not held when active coping responses were used. In contrast, Mann and Guadagnos (1999) found that when a victim reported harassing behaviour in an academic setting they were then perceived as less feminine and likeable and less trustworthy than a victim who did not report the sexual harassment. This is also supported by Stockdale (1998), who found that women who used confrontational strategies when coping with sexual harassment were more likely than women who used passive coping strategies, to experience negative perceptions of their working environment and have poorer employment outcomes, e.g. changing jobs. These contrasting ndings highlight the importance of conducting further research to examine different coping strategies. External coping strategies have been found to be associated with negative psychological outcomes. However, Wilkinson and Campbell (1997, p. 209) found that emotionally focused coping strategies, i.e. denial, are less effective than problem-focused strategies, i.e. confronting the problem. Nevertheless, one must consider how sexual harassment is dened (Sigal et al., 2003). Mann and Guadagno (1999) included touching of the victim by a professor and a veiled threat in their scenario, while the scenarios in Sigals (2003) study used more overt sexual harassment and the professor/supervisor used a variety of coercive approaches. Sigal et al. (2003) concluded that rather than focusing totally on the creation of policies and training and counselling, organisations should also strive to create a climate, which is hostile to any form of sexual harassment and one, which is sympathetic and supportive to the victim. There are both formal and informal responses to sexual harassment. The majority of informal responses to sexual harassment include individual attempts by the victim of sexual harassment to confront the harasser (Firestone and Harris, 2003; Bingham and Scherer, 1993; Harris and Firestone, 1997). Formal responses to sexual harassment tend to include institutional procedures. In this case, formal channels within the organisation may be utilised, however a target of sexual harassment may have doubts whether their complaint will be taken seriously and if the organisational polices and procedures will be able to support them (Firestone and Harris, 2003; Hulin et al., 1996; Rowe, 1996). The decision of whether or not to report sexual harassment can be a complex one. Not all organisations have a clear sexual harassment policy or procedure for handling complaints, and even those that do may not be widely known to employees. Examining the complaints procedure in the UK Ministry of Defence, Rutherford et al. (2006) found

that only ve per cent of survey respondents who had suffered a particularly upsetting experience actually made a formal written complaint. Of the respondents who had a particularly upsetting experience, 8 per cent did not know how to make a complaint. Reasons for not ling a complaint were similar to why respondents were not willing to tell anyone about their experience, i.e. wanting to handle the situation themselves (67 per cent); fear of being labelled a troublemaker (39 per cent); feeling that nothing would be done about it (39 per cent); fear of the complaint having a negative impact on their career (35 per cent); or feeling they would not be believed (19 per cent). Nearly half of the respondents who had made a formal complaint were dissatised with the length of time it took to resolve the issue. Over half of the respondents who had made a formal complaint stated that there had been negative consequences as a result of ling a complaint, with sixty-four per cent considering leaving the Services (Rutherford et al., 2006). Furthermore, over 90 per cent of applicants in an Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) survey (2000) were either not very satised or not at all satised with the way in which their complaint was handled in the workplace. Some felt that they were made out to be the one at fault: My harasser was treated with sympathy while I was ostracized and yelled at, or were told not to take the harassment seriously. Over half of survey respondents stated that they had left the employment where the harassment occurred, or were sacked or forced to resign. Other respondents reported that they were on long-term sick leave or that although the sexual harassment had stopped, bullying continued. Moreover, Earnshaw and Davidson (1994) found that tribunals are limited in their effectiveness, as the majority of victims ling a complaint had lost their job by the time of the hearing. It is evident from these studies that the decision of whether or not to report sexual harassment is a complex one. This is further intensied when considering that sexual harassment is often a continuous set of events, rather than one isolated incident. Therefore the victim may experience a range of different emotions throughout these events (Ware Bolagh et al., 2003). In addition, women may also fear that there will be an unfavourable outcome from reporting sexual harassment.

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Tertiary interventions Once sexual harassment has occurred, the primary concern of tertiary interventions is for the victim. Rehabilitative procedures should ensure that the victims and/or any other individuals working lives are returned to normal as quickly and effectively as possible (Di Martino et al., 2003). Di Martino et al. (2003) illustrate a case study where an advice centre was established to help support victims of sexual harassment in the University of Vienna, Austria (Bukowska and Schnepf, 2001). The main aim of the centre was to be a refuge for victims and was operated by a female psychotherapist and a social worker. The interventions provided by the centre mainly focused on debrieng and psychosocial counselling, support and legal advice. The work at the centre was also evaluated on an ongoing basis, which was used to look at any areas, which needed changing or improving. This type of support is rare and there is absence of empirical research examining tertiary interventions in sexual harassment programmes.

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Practical solutions and intervention models The Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) (2005) have illustrated a number of ways in which sexual harassment can be prevented, for example: developing a clear policy for preventing and tackling sexual harassment; ensuring that all employees are aware of and understand the policy; treating sexual harassment as a health and safety issue; monitoring policy implementation; adopting a complaints and investigations procedure for dealing informally and formally with sexual harassment; being aware of how the law applies to sexual harassment and employer liability. The NHS in Scotland (2005) produced a document entitled Dignity at work: eliminating bullying and harassment in the workplace. The document offers guidelines which organisations can use and best practice principles when dealing with issues of bullying and harassment. The guideline was produced after a range of evidence showed that bullying and harassment in the NHS was a problem, which needed to be addressed. For example, a study in the Nursing Times (McMillan, 1993) stated that ninety seven per cent of nurses, midwives and health visitors were being subjected to sexual harassment. More recently, a paper in the British Medical Journal (Quine, 1999), which involved the measurement of workplace bullying within a NHS Community Trust showed the different effects which bullying can have on staff. The study was conducted in 1996, as part of a larger survey of working life. During the previous year a total of 335 days were reported lost as a result of bullying experienced. The NHS Scotland (2005) guideline illustrates a number of issues of importance. For example, the need for: an open and trusting culture, clearly dened policies which need to be established in partnership with all staff; visible commitment and support from senior staff; effective training for all employees; and contact points for those who have experienced bullying or harassment. In addition, the guideline provided a number of checklists, which organisations can use when designing, implementing, and evaluating their bullying, and harassment policies, and procedures. In May 2002, London Underground was awarded the prestigious Opportunity Now Public Sector award for its wide-ranging Ending Harassment Programme. Harassment was reported as a widespread problem for London Underground. The organisational culture was perceived to tolerate harassment. Victims had problems complaining about harassment and managers were ineffective in terms of skills to help them to deal with any complaints. This had a negative impact on the organisation, with increased levels of absenteeism. In response to this wide-ranging problem, the company conducted a series of think tanks, which involved mixed groups of staff, including union representatives. These sessions included brainstorming, which was aimed at tackling each area identied through the consultation exercise. The programme was agreed in 1999 and its primary objectives were to: establish, in partnership with trade unions, an effective procedure for dealing with harassment; provide independent support for victims; ensure increased levels of expertise for all those dealing with harassment cases; establish an effective monitoring system and success indicators and change the organisational culture to one where there was zero tolerance towards sexual harassment. A new workplace harassment policy was issued to all members of staff. Independent support for victims was provided through the establishment of a network of trained harassment advisors. Expertise was also increased through the establishment of a network of managers who were accredited for dealing with harassment and who could deal with formal complaints. Training was

also provided for human resource teams. Success indicators consisted of: an increase in the numbers employees seeking initial help from harassment advisors; an increase in the number of harassment of cases reported; an increase in the number of perpetrators of harassment being disciplined (Foster, 2003). Nevertheless, it is important to note that there appears to be an absence of empirical evidence examining the effectiveness of many of these strategies. Conclusion Sexual harassment is increasingly being seen as a management and leadership problem, which needs to be addressed. Estimates regarding the incidence of sexual harassment vary (Equal Opportunities Review (EOR), 2002; Grainger and Fitzner, 2006), thus it is difcult to ascertain the true scale of this problem. It is also evident that there are a variety of organisational antecedents of sexual harassment, for example sexual harassment appears to be more prevalent with women as victims, in occupations which are male dominated (European Commission, 1998) and where there are increased power differentials between men and women (Veale and Gold, 1998). Undoubtedly, developing an organisational culture, which is intolerant of sexual harassment, is a vital step in tackling the problem of sexual harassment in the workplace. Figure 1 provides an intervention model based on our review of the current literature, which can be used by organisations to combat the problem of sexual harassment in the workplace. The model covers primary, secondary, and tertiary interventions. At the primary level, organisations need to ensure that they have effective implementation of policies and procedures. To do this, organisations should look to educate employees of the various meanings of sexual harassment, risk factors (for both female and male employees) and how to deal with sexual harassment should it occur (York et al., 1997). It is also important to ensure there is open communication and debrieng throughout the design and implementation of policies and procedures to ensure there is commitment throughout the organisational hierarchy (NHS Scotland, 2005; Dougherty and Smythe, 2004). Employees also require multiple method training; this could take the form of workshops, case studies, role plays, interactive DVD/video training etc; in order to equip staff with the necessary skills to deal with sexual harassment (Arthur and Doverspike, 2005; Wexley and Latham, 2002; Takeyama and Kleiner, 1998). Furthermore, employees need to feel empowered and there needs to be commitment to a zero tolerance perspective throughout the organisational hierarchy (Bell et al., 2002; Thomas, 2004; Zippel, 2003; Deadrick et al., 1996). It is also important to note that organisational monitoring and assessment are essential throughout each stage, but particularly during the primary intervention phase to ensure that policies and procedures are implemented effectively (Bell et al., 2002). At the secondary level of intervention, organisations need to design and monitor an effective complaints procedure. One way in which organisations can do this is through employing a network of trained advisors to handle complaints from staff (Thomas, 2004). Trained advisors may be particularly important in cases where an employee is being sexually harassed by their line manager and therefore may nd it difcult to register a complaint through the normal channels. Organisations also need to consider how employees cope with harassment and the most effective coping strategies to employ. Moreover, open communication and discussion can be an effective way of

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examining the best forms of coping mechanisms for victims of sexual harassment (Stockdale, 1998; Knapp et al., 1997). Finally, organisations need to consider how employees are treated if sexual harassment occurs, this can be referred to as the rehabilitation stage. At this stage, the organisation must consider how rehabilitation and follow-up can be designed to support both the victim and the perpetrator and the organisation as a whole. Counselling can be extremely effective at this point (Bukowska and Schnepf, 2001). While the organisation needs to consider effective strategies at each of these distinct stages, there are also factors, which need to be considered throughout each stage. For example, it is important that the organisation ensures it takes a consultative approach in the design, development and implementation of policies, procedures and training. Taking a consultative and participatory approach can help to shape the organisational culture (Thomas, 2004; HSA (Health and Safety Authority, Ireland), 2001) and ensure that there is a zero tolerance approach to sexual harassment and that negative behaviours do not become normalised throughout the organisation (Hearn and Parkin, 2005). In the nal analysis, our model advocates a proactive rather than a reactive strategy to sexual harassment polices and procedures. As Jenny Watson, EOC Chair stated (Equal Opportunities Commission, 2006, p. 2) the benets of tackling harassment can be substantial. Sickness absence, stress and conict in the workplace are reduced. Staff retention, efciency, morale and protability are increased.
Notes 1. This article is based on a literature review commissioned by the Equal Opportunities Commission in, 2006. Full details of the review can be found at: www.eoc.org.uk/ 2. See www.eoc.org.uk

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Further reading Barongan, C. and Hall, G.C.N. (1995), The inuence of misogynous rap music on sexual aggression against women, Psychology of Women Quarterly, Vol. 19, pp. 195-207. Gilmore, D. and Hamlin, L. (2003), Bullying and harassment in perioperative settings, British Journal of Perioperative Nursing, Vol. 13, pp. 79-85. Hearn, J. and Parkin, W. (1995), Sex at Work: The Power and Paradox of Organization Sexuality, rev. ed., Prentice Hall/Harvester Wheatsheaf, Hemel Hempstead. Simon, L.A. and Forrest, L. (1983), Implementing a sexual harassment program at a large university, Journal of the National Association of Women Deans and Counselors, Vol. 46, pp. 23-9. Standing, H. and Nicolini, D. (1997), Review of Workplace-related Violence, Health and Safety Executive, HSMO, London. Stanko, E.A. (1988), Keeping women in and out of line: sexual harassment and occupational segregation, in Walby, S. (Ed.), Gender Segregation at Work, Open University Press, Milton Keynes, pp. 91-9. TUC (Trades Unions Congress) (2000), Straight Up! Why the Law Should Protect Lesbian and Gay Workers, TUC, London. Terpstra, D.E. and Cook, S.E. (1985), Complaint characteristics and reported behaviours and consequences with formal sexual harassment charges, Personnel Psychology, Vol. 389, pp. 559-74. Union Congress (1999), No Excuse No Harassment At Work, TUC Womens Conference Survey Report.

About the authors C.M. Hunt is Research Associate, Quality Improvement Directorate, Salford Royal, NHS Foundation Trust, Salford, UK. Her current research interests are coaching and women entrepreneurs, health care training and sexual harassment in the workplace. C.M. Hunt is the corresponding author and can be contacted at: carianne.hunt@srft.nhs.uk M.J. Davidson is Professor of Work Psychology and co-director of the Centre for Diversity and Equality at Work, Manchester Business School, University of Manchester, UK. Her research and consultancy interests are in diversity and equality issues in the work place, including women in management, sexual orientation and occupational stress. S.L. Fielden is a Senior Lecturer of Organisational Psychology and co-director of the Centre for Diversity and Equality at Work, Manchester Business School, University of Manchester, UK. Her research and consultancy interests are in diversity and equality issues in the work place, including women entrepreneurs, mentoring and coaching and ethnicity. H. Hoel is a Senior Lecturer of Organisational Psychology Manchester Business School, University of Manchester, UK. His research interests are in the area of bullying, violence and harassment: and he has also acted as advisor to the Norwegian government in its campaign against bullying in the workplace.

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