sexual harassment

Men willing to punish more than women to get ahead

New research evaluates gender differences in cooperation

April 16, 2018

Science Daily/Chapman University

Researchers have measured gender differences in cooperation and punishment behavior. Results showed that men punish more than women, men obtain higher rank, and punishment by males decreases payoffs for both sexes. Furthermore, men are willing to punish people who have done nothing wrong, except cooperate to the fullest extent possible.

 

Results suggest that status-seeking men are willing to impose enormous costs on others and destroy their group to move up in the hierarchy. According to the study, men may punish more than women for two reasons: First, punishment is often viewed as similar to physical conflict. Men are known to favor physical punishment of unfair behavior. Men are also less cooperative and less generous compared with their female counterparts.

 

Second, status affects cooperative behavior and women may feel differently about status and rank. If so, punishment may be a tool used by certain individuals to advance in rank. For example, explicit rank-based incentives caused men to punish at roughly twice the rate of women.

 

"Outside the laboratory, high-powered punishment and rank-based reward may be the norm," said Terence Burnham, Ph.D, associate professor in Chapman University's Argyros School of Business and Economics, and sole author of this study. "This study connects academic research to current headlines including the #metoo movement."

 

Mixed-gender situations with the ability to punish others occur daily in the workplace. These types of punishments can range from reputational harm to more direct financial impacts such as being terminated from your position. Studies of gender and costly cooperation are relatively rare, and existing studies reveal no clear relationship between gender and certain cooperative behaviors.

 

Dr. Burnham conducted a public goods game with 96 undergraduate students from Chapman University. Four experimental sessions with 24 subjects each had equal numbers of men and women. During this game, subjects secretly chose how many of their private tokens to place into a public pot, with each participant keeping the tokens they did not contribute. The tokens in this pot were multiplied by 1.6 and divided equally among four players in a group. All decisions were made via independent computers, while subjects were instructed not to look at anyone's screen or speak to one another. Participants in each session played this game with and without rank-based payoffs.

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/04/180416124310.htm

Sexual harassment on the job still carries large impact

December 5, 2017

Science Daily/University of Texas at Arlington

Researchers have revisited workplace sexual harassment issues after the initial study was done nearly 20 years ago

 

How well is society doing?

 

The answer is mixed. Although there has been a 28 percent decline in complaints, sexual harassment is a continuing, chronic occupational health problem in the workplace.

 

James Campbell Quick, the John and Judy Goolsby-Jacqualyn A. Fouse Endowed Chair in UTA's Goolsby Leadership Academy, initially published the report in a 1998 special section on sexual harassment in the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology.

 

Quick and M. Ann McFadyen, a UTA associate professor of strategic management, conducted the review earlier this year. It comes at a time when noteworthy sexual harassment and assault incidents have permeated all aspects of American society.

 

"Our current examination of the evidence suggests that sexual harassment is a continuing occupational problem," Quick said. "Have we made progress? Yes, there has been progress on some fronts but not on others and the problem has morphed, becoming more complicated for a variety of reasons found in the current data."

 

Society and the workplace continue to struggle with the very definition of sexual harassment, which limits the ability to develop effective strategies in the workplace.

 

Plus, McFadyen said that the workforce is changing.

 

"Sexual harassment in the workplace is costly, not just to the organization," McFadyen said. "The behavior impacts the victim, the aggressor, bystanders, customers, suppliers and other stakeholders in terms of tarnished reputations and trust, disengaged employees, decreased commitment, turnover, depression, stress, eating and other health disorders and in extreme cases bodily harm, even death."

 

She said that the recent publicity regarding sexual harassment is a signal of the beginning of a revolutionary change in the workplace demanding a different type of training.

 

"Training not only for leaders and management but employees at all ranks, customers, suppliers and other stakeholders," McFadyen said. "Successful leaders and management of organizations cannot afford to simply maintain the status quo."

 

Both believe that there is a real need from a public heath perspective to know more about the aggressors' use of power in sexual harassment cases.

 

The two professors believe that if the workplace is equipped with this information, surveillance indicators and systems can be put into place to address this preventable occupational health problem.

 

Antonio Puente, the American Psychological Association president, used the Quick-McFadyen report in a letter to members last month.

 

"Sexual harassment in the workplace is a significant occupational health psychology problem," Puente said. "Psychological research has offered understanding into the causes of workplace harassment, as well as some strategies for preventing or reducing it. However, there is limited research regarding the characteristics of harassers, which makes it difficult to predict who will do it and where and when it might happen. What we do know is that harassers tend to lack a social conscience and engage in manipulative, immature, irresponsible and exploitative behaviors."

 

He said organizations need to be proactive in establishing policies prohibiting sexual harassment, raising employee awareness, establishing reporting procedures and educating employees about these policies.

 

"More research is needed to identify the antecedents to harassment that will help employees and managers identify and respond appropriately," Puentes said.

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/12/171205170258.htm

Workplace sexual harassment 'a chronic problem,' says expert

More research needed to help predict who will harass, assess effective prevention strategies

November 16, 2017

Science Daily/American Psychological Association

Sexual harassment in the workplace is a pervasive, chronic problem that can cause enduring psychological harm, according to an expert.

 

"Sexual harassment in the workplace is a significant occupational health psychology problem," said APA President Antonio E. Puente, PhD. "Psychological research has offered understanding into the causes of workplace harassment, as well as some strategies for preventing or reducing it. However, there is limited research regarding the characteristics of harassers, which makes it difficult to predict who will do it and where and when it might happen. What we do know is that harassers tend to lack a social conscience and engage in manipulative, immature, irresponsible and exploitative behaviors."

 

Research has shown that sexual harassment is primarily aimed at women, but men are also targets of such behavior. Perpetrators of sexual harassment in the workplace are not only supervisors/superiors but are also coworkers, subordinates, customers and clients, Puente said.

 

According to the 2017 article "Sexual Harassment: Have We Made Any Progress?" published in APA's Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, women tend to report more adverse effects than men after experiencing workplace sexual harassment. These may include anxiety, depression, eating disorders, drug and alcohol abuse, post-traumatic stress and a lower level of overall happiness.

 

Women are more likely to report sexual harassment than men, according to the article, but "studies indicate that men may be at a higher risk of mental health issues and depression." Men in the military are 10 times more likely to experience sexual harassment than civilian men, but an estimated 81 percent of military men who are harassed do not report it, the articles added.

 

Organizational climate is a strong predictor of workplace sexual harassment and can include situations where men outnumber women, where supervisors are predominantly male, and where there is a sense among employees that complaints will not be taken seriously. Research has shown that hierarchical power dynamics are at the root of sexual harassment.

 

"Psychology can help, in the form of sexual harassment training, but it only works if it is part of a comprehensive, committed effort to combat the problem," Puente said. "Most research points to sanctions as the primary way that organizations can be less tolerant of harassment.

 

"Organizations need to be proactive in establishing policies prohibiting sexual harassment, raising employee awareness, establishing reporting procedures and educating employees about these policies. More research is needed to identify the antecedents to harassment that will help employees and managers identify and respond appropriately."

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/11/171116142131.htm

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