Action or inaction: bystander intervention in workplace sexual harassment

McDonald, Paula K., Charlesworth, Sara, & Graham, Tina (2016) Action or inaction: bystander intervention in workplace sexual harassment. International Journal of Human Resource Management, 27(5), pp. 548-566.

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Abstract

A promising approach to the persistent problem of workplace sexual harassment (SH) is encouraging interventions by bystanders. Adopting a typology developed by Bowes-Sperry and O'Leary-Kelly that considers the level of immediacy and involvement of bystander interventions, this study explored 74 detailed descriptions of SH events that occurred in Australian workplaces. The findings reveal that despite the hidden nature of SH, there is significant involvement of actors who are not direct targets but their actions are frequently delayed, temporary or ineffective. The study makes two contributions to the study and practice of HRM. First, it provides important evidence of the different ways that bystanders respond to SH in real workplaces and the relative likelihood of these actions. Second, the study points to relevant contextual features evident in the scenarios described which determine if and how bystanders intervene. We discuss the utility of the bystander framework for future research and practice, including the development of bystander interventions as a potentially innovative response to the persistent and damaging problem of workplace SH.

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ID Code: 84337
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Bystander Intervention, Complaint-handling, Management Response, Sexual Harassment
DOI: 10.1080/09585192.2015.1023331
ISSN: 0958-5192
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > COMMERCE MANAGEMENT TOURISM AND SERVICES (150000) > BUSINESS AND MANAGEMENT (150300) > Human Resources Management (150305)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > QUT Business School
Current > Schools > School of Management
Funding:
Copyright Owner: © 2015 Taylor & Francis
Deposited On: 19 May 2015 23:27
Last Modified: 13 Jan 2016 04:00

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