Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

The Issue

John and Mark had expressed their interests in Jane, who was an assistant supervisor at their company. Jane had however started to invite both Mark and John out separately on several occasions to talk about the company’s stores. During these periods, Mark claimed that Jane had made some suggestive comments to him. In addition, the company supervisor had promoted John to store manager based on Jane’s recommendation. Mark is furious because he believed that he deserved the promotion and not John. Consequently, he reported the matter to the supervisor who laughed it off because he did not believe Mark’s story. The case is a classic case of sexual harassment in the workplace.

Sexual harassment in the workplace is an important issue because it remains illegal, offensive, hostile, and leads to adverse outcomes and poor performance in an organization, as well as psychological challenges for the victims. For many men and perhaps women, reporting cases of sexual harassment, as the case of Mark shows, does not always yield the intended outcome.

From secondary research, it is concluded that men are also victims of sexual harassment, although they rarely report their cases (Tahmincioglu 1; Mahabeer 1). While the number of reported cases has declined over the years, cases of sexual harassment do not have any simple, easy recourse because it reflected an abuse of power (Lunenburg 1).

Research Purpose

The main purpose of this primary research is to demonstrate that sexual harassment against men is not a simple joke but for real and reported and the truth is that it is equally just as damaging to affected male employees. On this note, the research further explores and builds on already existing evidence to strengthen the often dismissed cases of sexual harassment against men because most people believe that women are more likely to be sexually harassed than men. Therefore, the research shows that sexual harassment for some male employees has indeed become a serious workplace issue and just like Mark, they are not simply ignoring such unsolicited advances from both male and female colleagues.

Hypothesis and Survey Design

My hypothesis is

Most people believe that women are more likely to be sexually harassed than men.

Men are less likely to report cases of workplace sexual harassment for fear of being regarded as jokes or risks of widespread knowledge about their situation by managers and colleagues. Many men are now reporting such cases to managers and even filing charges at government agencies (Tahmincioglu 1).

Survey questions were designed to collect data related to sexual harassment in the workplace. The study was an observational case study to collect both quantitative and qualitative data. The researcher wished to collect in-depth data as well as quantitative data related to sexual harassment in workplaces.

In our Class MGT1005, I was given a project to create the survey for the topic called Sexual harassment in the workplace. I was going to create an Email survey because they are considered extremely fast and efficient. Generally, Email is widely accessible to most people, and thus, it was an appropriate choice for the study. This is an observational study. The researcher primarily observes the behavior in a methodical way devoid of manipulating or prying with the behavior. I created questions for my survey and there had to be open- and closed-ended questions. Open-ended questions ensured that respondents could give their ideas freely and provide the in-depth data required to answer the study questions. Close-ended questions ensured that I would collect the exact information required by limiting responses to the given answers. In addition, closed questions were also used to provide quantitative data for ease of statistical representation of the findings. Further, background information of all study participants was collected and used to define, age, occupation, gender, and levels of education among others. Demographic questions were necessary to ensure that I collected meaningful data related to the characteristics of the target population. Then I submitted the draft of my survey questions for correction to my professor. After the professor’s review, I had to correct where I was wrong and proceed. The study instrument was reviewed to ensure that it was valid, reliable, contained important variables, and showed variability.

My sample frame was selected by Professor Eckhardt. She took a stratified random sample of the Plaza College Student E-mail directory using the following steps. First, the E-mail directory was systematically divided into four groups by alphabet so that each cluster contained approximately the same number of individuals. Second, each member of the MGT1005 Section 8 class for the Spring 2015 semester was added to each of the four groups, including the professor. If a class member was already an individual in a group, the duplication was deleted. Each group contained approximately 180 E-mail addresses. She then systematically, by alphabet, assigned each student to one of the groups. I was assigned to Group.

The survey period was one week. After several days, I checked the responses to see how many people took the survey. On June 14, I closed my survey. I needed a minimum of 25 responses, and if I got less than 25 responses, then I had to resend the invitation again. After this, I analyzed the data and made a report about how many responses I got. I also reported how many people actually took the survey and how many did not and then I gave a brief report and explained all the terms that I used to create the survey.

The sample frame for the study was relevant to the study. This study used stratified random sampling to get representatives of the target population. The list was obtained from the e-mail directory of a college. Sampling and coverage errors were minimized by ensuring that at least 25 responses were obtained from participants.

Summary of Data—Charts, and Graphs

Data analysis was conducted using Excel to get descriptive results. Graphs and charts were used to analyze quantitative data while thematic analysis was done for qualitative results. The mean, mode, median, standard deviation, and percentages were used for quantitative data.

Summary of Data

The most frequent participants were female. Initially, the study had targeted more male participants than female participants, but this could not be achieved because of the stratified random sampling. There were more female workers relative to male workers in the e-mail directory used. Under coverage of male participants led to bias in responses because most views collected only reflected experiences of women.

Summary of Data

The age of participants ranged between 33 years old and 59 years old. The mean age of participants was 35.9 years old; the median age was 33 years old and the standard deviation was 11.32 years. There was no mode for the age of participants because each age category appeared only once. This age range was appropriate for the study because it represented both young adults and individuals who have worked for some decades in various organizations, and they, therefore, could have experienced several cases of sexual harassment.

Summary of Data

The study participants consisted of individuals from diverse races or ethnic groups. More African Americans (40%) took part in the study than did other races. Only 13 percent of participants were white, 20% of participants were both individuals of Hispanic and Asian origins while 7% represented other races. The most common study participants were Black/African Americans.

Summary of Data

There were participants with a master’s degree (7%), 40% had an associate degree, another seven percent had trade school qualification while 27% had attained high school or GED qualification. The most frequent level of education was an associate’s degree.

Summary of Data

Most study participants had various types of employment. There were full-time wage earners (40 percent), part-time employees (27 percent) students (13 percent), and another 20 percent who were not in any form of employment. Thus, majorities of participants were employed (full-time wage earners). The employment status of study participants was imperative to understand because the study focused on sexual harassment in workplaces. While there were unemployed participants, the sample frame focused on a workplace at the college.

Summary of Data

Participants were asked to name the most likely target for sexual harassment in workplaces. A significant percentage (73%) identified women and 7% identified men while 20 percent responded that both men and women were equal targets of sexual harassment. The most frequent response reflected women.

Summary of Data

Only 33 percent of study participants responded that they have never seen or known cases of sexual harassment in their places of work while 67 percent had seen or known of such cases. The most frequent response was yes.

Summary of Data

Many participants responded that individuals’ problems taken to the workplace made them vulnerable to sexual harassment. Only 7% noted that personal issues could not lead to sexual favors at workplaces while 93% agreed that personal issues exposed individuals to sexual harassment and other problems. The most frequent response was yes.

Summary of Data

Study participants were asked if working conditions, specifically night shifts could initiate sexual harassment. Many respondents (67%) stated that sometimes such conditions exposed workers to sexual harassment, most of the time (27%) and rarely (7%). In addition, participants noted that such conditions did not always or never exposed employees to sexual harassment. The most frequent response was ‘sometimes’.

Summary of Data

Many participants (60 percent) responded that there was no adequate legal protection for victims of sexual harassment in the workplace while 40 percent noted that there were adequate legal provisions to protect victims of sexual harassment. The most frequent response was ‘no’.

Summary of Data

Several participants (60%) strongly agreed that women were more likely to be sexually harassed at workplaces relative to men, 33% agreed and 7% disagreed. The most common response was ‘Strongly Agree’.

Conclusion

The purpose of this study was to explore cases of sexual harassment against male employees at workplaces by using the case of Mark. The findings suggest that cases of sexual harassment against men are noted in workplaces. Therefore, employers must take the initiatives to protect their male employees. Generally, women remain more vulnerable to sexual harassment relative to men. Effective laws and policies could help to curb the persistent vice of sexual harassment in workplaces. Many female workers have continuously reported cases of sexual compared to their male counterparts. However, not all cases of sexual harassment are reported and, therefore, no further action is taken against perpetrators. It is believed that only about five to fifteen percent of cases are formally reported through employers or relevant bodies such as EEOC (Mahabeer 1).

It is important to note that men are also victims of sexual harassment in the workplace, and this forms the basis of this case study. Many men are hesitant to pursue charges against offenders, particularly female offenders (Mahabeer 1). In this case, Jane has made several suggestive remarks that Mark considered sexually inappropriate and amounted to sexual harassment. Mark had reported the issue to the store manager, but the manager could not believe it. The case of Mark is typical for many men who report cases of sexual harassment that are initiated by female colleagues. That is, they are never taken seriously because the general belief has been that men are the perpetrators of sexual harassment in workplaces and not the other way around. According to Lunenburg, usually, sexual harassment in the workplace is about power (1). Thus, in the case of harassment attributed to women, it could be associated with the dominatrix. That is, women want to control or threaten other employees (Lunenburg 1).

The study limitation resulted from the respondent bias, which the researcher could not easily control. In addition, stratified random sampling also affected study outcomes because there were more women participants and men while the sampling approach aimed for equal numbers of study male and female participants. Thus, the result of the study may not be reliable or generalized to other colleges or workplaces. There was under the coverage of men whose opinions were critical for this study while over coverage of women whom many people believe are more prone to sexual abuse relative to men. Thus, most of the responses reflected the opinions of female participants.

These findings present implications for policymakers in organizations and lawmakers because many respondents expressed that there was no adequate legal protection for victims of sexual harassment in workplaces. In addition, men were also a target for sexual harassment in workplaces and, therefore, managers and supervisors should not dismiss their cases as simple jokes.

Works Cited

Lunenburg, Fred C. “Sexual Harassment: An Abuse of Power.” International Journal of Management, Business, and Administration 13.1 (2010): 1-7.

Mahabeer, Pamela. “Sexual Harassment Still Pervasive in the Workplace.” Aol Jobs. 2011. Web.

Tahmincioglu, Eve. Male Sexual Harassment is not a Joke. 2007. Web.