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Sexualisation And Harassment In Hospitality Workplaces: Who Is Responsible?

Beth Waudby, Jill Poulston
Published 2017 · Psychology

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Purpose This paper aims to examine employee responses to sexual behaviour in hospitality workplaces, to determine their roles and responsibilities in harassment prevention. Design Female workers in restaurants and bars were recruited using the snowball technique, and data collected through 18 interviews. An interpretivist approach was used to guide the data collection and analysis. Findings The study found that harassment coping strategies developed with age and experience rather than through training, and those who dressed and behaved provocatively attracted more unwanted sexual attention. Practical implications Recommendations focus on the role of managers in moderating employee behaviour and providing training in assertiveness. Social implications Industry norms and perceptions about managers’ expectations are considered strong influences on employee behaviour, and therefore, in attracting harassment. Originality Although this study locates the responsibility for stopping harassment with management, it takes an unusual and potentially unpalatable approach by acknowledging the role of victims in stopping unwanted sexual advances, providing new approaches to reducing harassment.
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