Perceptions of social-sexual communication at work as sexually harassing

Denise Haunani Solomon, Mary Lynn Miller Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations

Abstract

We examined factors that influence observers' assessments of social-sexual messages as sexually harassing. Participants read newsletters describing coworkers and scenarios in which one employee makes a suggestive remark to another. Results indicated that (a) messages conveying sexual interest explicitly were perceived as more harassing than those conveying interest implicitly; (b) explicit sexual interest was rated as more harassing when initiators were unattractive and targets were attractive; (c) males perceived messages as less harassing than females, particularly when initiators were attractive females or sexual interest explicit; and (d) supervisors were rated as more harassing than subordinates, particularly when supervisors were male and sexual interest explicit. The discussion highlights conceptual frameworks that offer insight into how observers diagnose social-sexual comununication at work.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)147-184
Number of pages38
JournalManagement Communication Quarterly
Volume11
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 1997

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Communication
  • Strategy and Management

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