Sexual Harassment in the Workplace: Perspectives, Frontiers, and Response Strategies


Edited by: Margaret S. Stockdale

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  • Women and Work: A Research and Policy Series

    The Sage series Women and Work: A Research and Policy Series brings together research, critical analysis, and proposals for change in a dynamic and developing field—the world of women and work. Cutting across traditional academic boundaries, the series approaches subjects from a multidisciplinary perspective. Historians, anthropologists, economists, sociologists, managers, psychologists, educators, policy makers, and legal scholars share insights and findings—giving readers access to a scattered literature in single, comprehensive volumes.

    Women and Work examines differences among women—as well as differences between men and women—related to nationality, ethnicity, social class, and sexual preference. The series explores demographic and legal trends, international and multinational comparisons, and theoretical and methodological developments.


    • Barbara A. Gutek

      University of Arizona

    • Laurie Larwood

      University of Nevada—Reno

    • Ann Stromberg

      Pitzer College


    • Joan Acker

      University of Oregon

    • Helen S. Astin

      University of California, Los Angeles

    • Francine D. Blau

      Cornell University

    • Jeanne M. Brett

      Northwestern University

    • Rose M. Brewer

      University of Minnesota

    • Miriam Chamberlain

      National Council for Research on Women

    • Marianne Ferber

      University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

    • Shirley Harkess

      University of Kansas

    • Heidi Hartmann

      IWPR Institute for Women's Policy Research

    • Howard V. Hayghe

      U.S. Department of Labor

    • Alice Kessler-Harris

      Rutgers University

    • Louise Lamphere

      University of New Mexico

    • Jean Lipman-Blumen

      Claremont Graduate School

    • Janice F. Madden

      University of Pennsylvania

    • Veronica F. Nieva


    • Stella Nkoma

      University of North Carolina at Charlotte

    • Virginia E. O'Leary

      Auburn University

    • Gary N. Powell

      University of Connecticut

    • Barbara B. Reagan

      Southern Methodist University

    • Mary Romero

      Arizona State University

    • Alice S. Rossi

      University of Massachusetts

    • Myra Strober

      Stanford University

    • Louise A. Tilly

      New School for Social Research


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    To seven remarkable women, Caryl, Denise, Marji, Robin, Rose, Shawna, and Suzanne to my husband and daughter, Michael and Sarah Heck; and to my parents, Pat and Tom Stockdale, With love, Peg


    I owe a debt of gratitude to all the contributors to this book for the seriousness with which they approached their work and for their willingness to make their scholarly work accessible to researchers, practitioners, and others in the various disciplines interested in the field of women and work broadly, and sexual harassment specifically. The editorial board members, whose names appear on the inside cover of this book, graciously volunteered their time to provide thorough and careful reviews of each of the chapters. Series editors Laurie Larwood and Ann Stromberg merit special recognition for reviewing every chapter (often more than once) and providing excellent, constructive advice not only to the contributors but also to me for keeping the book tightly focused. Vicki Staebler-Tardino provided invaluable editorial assistance helping me with correspondence and creating the indexes. Les Sellers rescued me more than once with his word processing and graphics assistance. Finally, this book could not have been produced without Barbara Gutek. She refused to be listed as a coeditor, but it's a distinction she deserves. She was the shepherd of this volume of Women and Work, and she worked very closely with me through all its stages. She reviewed every chapter at least twice, integrated the other series editors' comments to help me focus on the salient issues, worked directly with some of the contributors, and extended her shoulder from Arizona to Illinois for me to lean on. Thank you Barbara.

    Series Editors' Introduction

    The widespread entry of women into the paid labor force represents one of the major social changes of the last quarter of the twentieth century. The Women and Work series is designed to bring together research from a variety of disciplines focusing on this quiet revolution, more specifically on women's paid and unpaid work experiences. With the inaugural volume in 1985 and in two subsequent volumes, authors were chosen to represent current thinking in one of the many disciplines in which research on women and work is found. Many chapters summarized a significant stream of research while others presented unusual perspectives or unique departures that deserved broader recognition.

    The series is based on the notion that a multidisciplinary approach is essential to a full understanding of the situation of working women. Progress will be made more readily if economists understand what historians have learned, for example, or if psychologists learn about the findings of management professors. As editors, we have attempted to be sure that the various disciplines researching women and work are represented in the series and that the contributions are both up to date and written for, and understandable by, a multidisciplinary audience. Our hope is that together the contributions will cross-fertilize the emerging area of women and work. Thus Volume 1 included chapters representing economics, sociology, psychology, history, and education; Volume 2 contained a health symposium with contributions from medicine, public health, economics, and law; and the international issues symposium in Volume 3 represented sociology, political science, anthropology, and psychology.

    Research on women and work seems to be coming together rapidly. Ideas are widely shared and broadly understood across disciplines, moving the field much more swiftly than any of us might have believed possible a decade ago. The phenomenon has also brought us a broader colleague base than any traditional discipline allowed and has in fact allowed our thinking to become more widely accepted in our parent disciplines.

    Beginning with Volume 4 published in 1993, the series changed in some important ways. While maintaining a commitment to a multidisciplinary focus, each volume has focused on a specific theme. When we began, it was difficult to identify topics on women and work in which there was sufficient current research to support an entire volume. That is no longer the case. Thus, beginning with Volume 4, each volume focuses on a specific topic and each has a guest editor. Volume 4, edited by Ellen Fagenson on the topic of “women in management,” was the first in the new format. Management was well suited to be the topic for the first volume in our new format, as it is symbolic of the newly available opportunities for professional women over the past few decades. The history of women in management, in numbers as well as in importance, has been closely connected with the rhythm and health of the women's movement. That substantial progress has been made is easily seen. That there is much more progress needed and work to be done is indisputable. Women have moved up but have not reached the top, and women of color have been underrepresented in this field.

    Volume 5 focuses not on an area of progress, such as management, but on a problem that has, as Hulin, Fitzgerald, and Drasgow (this volume) note, “a long past but a short history.” The topic is sexual harassment. About 15 years after journalists and scholars first began writing about sexual harassment, we have accumulated a fair amount of data (despite very little research funding), and sexual harassment is now a household term and a topic of concern for employers as well as employed women.

    In 1979, law professor Catharine MacKinnon wrote a book, Sexual Harassment of Working Women, which sought a legal mechanism for handling sexual harassment and compensating its victims. In a strong and compelling argument, MacKinnon contended that sexual harassment was primarily a problem for women, that it rarely happened to men, and that it therefore should be viewed as a form of sex discrimination. Viewing sexual harassment as a form of sex discrimination would make available to victims the same legal protection available to victims of sex discrimination. A worker who is sexually harassed is placed at a disadvantage relative to other workers and therefore does not have equal opportunity with other, nonharassed employees.

    The first legal guidelines were developed in 1980 by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency responsible for assuring that all employees have equal opportunity in the workplace. Their guidelines were consistent with MacKinnon's position and defined sexual harassment under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act as a form of unlawful sex-based discrimination. Several states have passed their own increasingly strong laws aimed at eliminating sexual harassment, and legal scholars have sought additional avenues to recover damages incurred from sexual harassment. Various public and private agencies as well as the courts have seen a steady if uneven increase in sexual harassment complaints since the early 1980s.

    The various guidelines and regulations define sexual harassment broadly. For example, the updated EEOC guidelines state that unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when (a) submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual's employment or academic advancement, (b) submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment decisions or academic decisions affecting such individual, or (c) such conduct has the purpose or effect of reasonably interfering with an individual's work or academic performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working or academic environment.

    Volume 5 of the Women and Work series provides a comprehensive look at what we know about sexual harassment. Our guest editor, Margaret Stockdale, has contributed substantially to the emerging knowledge base. Each of the chapters of the volume was reviewed by Professor Stockdale, at least two of the series editors, and one or more members of the editorial board. Our goal has been to produce a volume that is grounded in theory, research, and practice but is accessible to researchers, advanced students, and practitioners in multiple disciplines.

    Barbara A.Gutek
    MacKinnon, C. (1979). Sexual harassment of working women. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
  • About the Authors

    Lynn Bowes-Sperry is a doctoral candidate in management/organizational behavior at the University of Connecticut. She received her B.A. (1985) in economics from the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA, and her M.B.A. with a concentration in human resource management from the University of New Haven (1990). Her research interests include ethical decision making in organizations, impression management, organizational justice, human resource management, and women in management. Her dissertation examines observers' reactions to sexual harassment from an ethical decision-making perspective.

    Jeanette N. Cleveland is Professor of Psychology at Colorado State University. She received her B.A., in psychology from Occidental College and her M.S. and Ph.D. in industrial and organizational psychology from the Pennsylvania State University. She serves on the editorial boards of Academy of Management Journal and Journal of Vocational Behavior. She is the author of numerous articles and book chapters, and is author or editor of three books. Her research interests focus on contextual factors in performance appraisal and age and gender issues in the workplace.

    Fritz Drasgow is Professor of Psychology and of Labor and Industrial Relations at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Much of his recent research has focused on computerized tests and assessments. This work uses multimedia computer technology to assess social and interpersonal skills not easily measured by paper-and-pencii tests. He is a former chairperson of the American Psychological Association's Committee on Psychological Tests and Assessments and the U.S. Department of Defense's Advisory Committee on Military Personnel Testing. He is a member of the editorial review board of six journals, including Journal of Applied Psychology and Applied Psychological Measurement.

    Louise F. Fitzgerald is Professor of Psychology and Women's Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She received her Ph.D. in Psychology from the Ohio State University and is one of the leading researchers in the United States on the topic of women and work, especially sexual harassment. Her work has been cited to the U.S. Supreme Court, the New Jersey Supreme Court, and in numerous other judicial proceedings. She is a consultant to the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, is a member of the APA Taskforce on Violence Against Women, and was recently appointed social science consultant to the U.S. Eighth Circuit's Taskforce on Gender Fairness in the Courts. In addition to her research, writing, and consulting activities, Professor Fitzgerald works extensively with victims of harassment and is considered an authority on outcomes of workplace victimization.

    Elizabeth Grauerholz is Associate Professor of Sociology at Purdue University. Her research focuses on the intersections between gender and power, especially with respect to sexual violence against women. Her most recent research has explored the experiences that women professors, especially lesbians and women of color, have had with sexual harassment and other forms of sexual assault. She is also interested in differential perceptions of female versus male faculty members. She is the coeditor of Sexual Coercion: A Sourcebook on Its Nature, Causes, and Prevention (Lexington).

    James E. Gruber is Professor of Sociology at the University of Michigan—Dearborn and has done research in the area of sexual harassment since 1981. His major focus has been on the experiences and responses of women in nontraditional jobs.

    Barbara A. Gutek (Ph.D., 1975, University of Michigan) is Professor in the Department of Management and Policy at the University of Arizona, where she currently heads the department. She is an editor for the Women and Work series published by Sage. Her publications include Women and Work with Veronica Nieva (Praeger, 1981), Sex and the Workplace: The Impact of Sexual Behavior and Harassment on Women, Men, and Organizations (Jossey-Bass, 1985), Women's Career Development with Laurie Larwood (Sage, 1987), The Dynamics of Service: Reflections on the Changing Nature of Customer/Provider Interactions (Jossey-Bass, 1995), and over 70 journal articles and book chapters. Her research has been funded by the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Mental Health. In 1994, she received two awards from the American Psychological Association and the Academy of Management (Women in Management) Sage Research Award.

    Kathy A. Hanisch is Assistant Professor of Industrial and Organizational Psychology at Iowa State University. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her primary research interests are employees' multiple and patterned behaviors resulting from their attitudes, including work satisfaction and stress. She has identified two employee behavioral families: work and job withdrawal. Her research framework has been generalized to the relations among retirees' attitudes and behaviors. She has written several articles and chapters as well as presented her research results at professional conferences. Her scientific findings have been studied in both private and public organizations.

    Charles L. Hulin is Professor of Psychology in Liberal Arts and Sciences and the Institute of Aviation at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His research and writings are generally in attitude-behavior relations, with an emphasis on attitudinal antecedents of organizational withdrawal, work motivations, antecedents and consequences of sexual harassment in the workplace, and the effects of anger and gender on supervisory evaluations. He was the associate editor of the Journal of Applied Psychology from 1975 to 1982 and has been a masthead editor of Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes since 1972.

    Kaisa Kauppinen-Toropainen is Senior Research Associate at the Institute of Occupational Health in Helsinki, Finland. She has done extensive comparative research on women and work in Scandinavia, the United States, and Russia. Her primary interests are the economic and psychological well-being of working women internationally.

    Deborah Erdos Knapp is Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Management and Labor Relations at Cleveland State University. She received her Ph.D. degree from Kent State University. Her research interests include sexual harassment, discrimination, and gender-related issues in management.

    Gary A. Kustis is a doctoral candidate in the Administrative Sciences Department at Kent State University. He received his M.A. degree in psychology from Cleveland State University. His research interests include sexual harassment, the glass-ceiling phenomenon, employee efficiency, and the effects of new technology on employee performance. His dissertation will focus on why some women break through the glass ceiling and others do not.

    Kathleen McNamara (Ph.D.) is Associate Professor of Psychology in the Department of Psychology at Colorado State University. She received her degree in counseling psychology from Pennsylvania State University in 1984. She has taught graduate and undergraduate courses on psychotherapy, women and mental health, clinical interviewing, personality, group psychology, and general psychology. Her research interests focus on women's mental health and psychotherapy evaluation. She is a licensed psychologist in Colorado and maintains a parttime clinical practice.

    Audrey J. Murrell received her B.S. from Howard University, magna cum laude, in 1983. She received an M.S. in 1985 and a Ph.D. in 1987 from the University of Delaware. Her major emphasis while at Delaware was in psychology, specifically social psychology. She held an academic position in the Psychology Department at the University of Pittsburgh before joining the faculty of the Katz Graduate School of Business in 1989. Her research interests focus on the process and effect of group identification, or how individuals become effective members of groups and organizations and the impact of this membership for interaction between diverse groups. In addition, she has conducted research on careers in organizations. Specifically, her work has focused on the process of effective career planning and the positive and negative effects of career mobility and transition. She also has served as a consultant in the areas of diversity, teamwork effectiveness, and issues concerning women and work.

    Anne M. O'Leary-Kelly is Assistant Professor of Management at the University of Dayton. She received her Ph.D. from Michigan State University in 1990 in organizational behavior and human resource management. Her current research focuses on aggressive behavior in organizational contexts (sexual harassment, organizational violence) and motivational issues in groups. She has published in multiple journals including the Journal of Applied Psychology, the Academy of Management Journal, the Journal of Organizational Behavior, and the American Business Law Journal. She is an active member of the Academy of Management, the American Psychological Association, and the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology.

    Ramona L. Paetzold is Assistant Professor of Management at Texas A & M University. She received her J.D. from the University of Nebraska in 1990 and her D.B.A. from Indiana University in 1979. She has published in the areas of sexual harassment law, employment discrimination law, law and statistics, and feminist jurisprudence. Her current research on sexual harassment involves integration of legal, psychological, and organizational perspectives. She has recently published a book (with Steven L. Willborn) titled The Statistics of Discrimination: Using Statistical Evidence in Discrimination. In addition, she has provided expert assistance in a variety of discrimination law cases. She is Senior Articles Editor of the Journal of Legal Studies Education and a Staff Editor of the American Business Law Journal.

    Gary N. Powell is Professor of Management at the University of Connecticut. He is the author of Women and Men in Management, currently in its second edition (Sage, 1993), and Gender and Diversity in the Workplace: Learning Activities and Exercises (Sage, 1994). He has served as Chairperson of the Women in Management Division of the Academy of Management and is a past President of the Eastern Academy of Management. He has published over 60 articles and presented over 70 papers at professional conferences. He also has served on the editorial boards of the Academy of Management Review and the Academy of Management Executive.

    Mary P. Rowe received her Ph.D. in economics from Columbia University. Since 1973, she has been Special Assistant to three successive presidents of MIT. She is one of two ombudspersons for the faculty, staff, and students of the MIT community. She is also Adjunct Professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management; her teaching, research, and consulting focus on negotiation and conflict management, and on integrated dispute resolution systems design. In 1982, she cofounded the Corporate Ombudsman Association, now The Ombudsman Association. She has written dozens of articles on complaint handling, design of integrated dispute resolution systems, aspects of workplace diversity, and problems of all kinds of harassment. She is currently working on “second generation” problems in harassment: how different people see the issues differently and the need for options in complaint systems.

    Frank E. Saal is Department Head and Professor of Psychology at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas, where he is also a member of the Women's Studies and Graduate Faculties. He is author of Industrial/Organizational Psychology: Science and Practice (second edition, with Pat Knight, published by Brooks/Cole) and editor of Psychology in Organizations: Integrating Science and Practice (with Kevin Murphy, published by Lawrence Erlbaum). He served as Consulting Editor of the Psychology of Women Quarterly from 1986 through 1993. He was elected to Sigma Xi in 1980, and received a Faculty Service Award from the National University Continuing Education Association in 1985. His Ph.D. in industrial and organizational psychology is from Pennsylvania State University.

    Michael Smith was Professor of Sociology and the Director of the LaMarsh Research Program on Violence and Conflict Resolution at York University, Toronto. His research focused on violence against women, primarily spouse abuse and harassment in public places. He was director of a research project that interviewed a representative, national sample of Canadian women about their experiences with public and workplace sexual harassment. He died in June 1994 after a short illness.

    Margaret S. (Peggy) Stockdale (Ph.D., 1990, Kansas State University, Industrial and Organizational Psychology) is Assistant Professor of Psychology at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. She has maintained an active program of research on women in the workplace with a special emphasis on sexual harassment, and has several publications in peer-reviewed journals. She coedited the 1993 special issue of Journal of Vocational Behavior on sexual harassment with Howard E. A. Tinsley, and coedited Independent Consulting for Evaluators (1992, Sage). She is coauthor, with J. Cleveland and B. Gutek, of Women and Men in Organizations: Sex and Gender Issues at Work (forthcoming, Lawrence Erlbaum). She is also the Director of Applied Research Consultants, a faculty-supervised graduate practicum offering applied experimental psychology consulting services to local, regional, and national organizations.

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