Vicarious Exposure to Male Sexual Harassment: Correlates, Perceived Motives and Ethical Evaluations, & Behavioral Responses
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Despite the increasing attention given to the issue of sexual harassment by organizational scholars, important questions remain unanswered, particularly when it comes to the unique experiences of those who witness the sex-based mistreatment of their peers. Further still, as the sexual harassment of males has only recently captured the attention of researchers, much remains to be learned about situations involving this form of sexual harassment. My dissertation focuses on employees who witness the sex-based mistreatment of their male colleagues. More specifically, three studies focus on same-sex (male-on-male) and/or opposite-sex (female-on-male) male sexual harassment and the impact that observing this phenomenon has on female and male employees. First, I examine how witnessing the sexual harassment of a male colleague impacts one’s well-being, emotions, and collective self-esteem. Second, I investigate what observers of male sexual harassment believe motivates an aggressor to harass a male colleague, and how such beliefs are impacted by (a) the form of the harassment they witness, and (b) who perpetrates this harassment. Demonstrating what conditions will lead to an evaluation of a male sexual harassment incident as unethical is also a primary goal of this investigation. Last, I explore the behavioral responses of witnesses to male-on-male gender harassment. More specifically, I aim to identify factors that affect whether observers will choose to intervene on behalf of the target, or participate in the male sexual harassment that they witness.