Attitudes and perceptions of workers to sexual harassment

J Soc Psychol. 2005 Dec;145(6):719-40. doi: 10.3200/SOCP.145.6.719-740.


The authors investigated how individual factors (age, gender, gender role, past experiences of sexual harassment) and organizational factors (gender ratio, sexual harassment policies, the role of employers) related to workers' attitudes toward and perceptions of sexual harassment. In Study 1, participants were 176 workers from a large, white-collar organization. In Study 2, participants were 75 workers from a smaller, blue-collar organization. Individuals from Study 2 experienced more sexual harassment, were more tolerant of sexual harassment, and perceived less behavior as sexual harassment than did individuals from Study 1. For both samples, organizational and individual factors predicted workers' attitudes toward and experiences of sexual harassment. Individual factors-such as age, gender, gender role, past experiences of sexual harassment, and perceptions of management's tolerance of sexual harassment-predicted attitudes toward sexual harassment. Workers' attitudes, the behavioral context, and the gender of the victim and perpetrator predicted perceptions of sexual harassment. The authors discussed the broader implications of these findings and suggested recommendations for future research.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Organizational Culture
  • Sexual Harassment*
  • Social Perception*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Workplace*