Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
Current theories of sexual harassment do not account for all instances of sexual harassment (e.g., not man enough harassment) or third party reactions to sexual harassment such as manager or coworker perceptions of sexual harassment or interactions with the target of sexual harassment. Perhaps taking a step back from specific sexual harassment theories and looking at more general theories of discriminatory behavior can provide some guidance toward a more overarching theory of sexual harassment. The current study applied the Stereotype Content Model (SCM; Fiske, Cuddy, Glick & Xu, 2002) and Behaviors from Intergroup Affect and Stereotypes (BIAS) Map model (Cuddy, Fiske & Glick, 2007) to women who are sexually harassed and the resulting third party behavioral reactions, including perception of sexual harassment. This study attempted to establish the initial relationships between the evaluation of the female target with regard to her competition and status to the other variables in the model: stereotyping (i.e., how observers think about the target - warmth and competence), prejudice (i.e., how observers feel about the target - pity, admiration, envy, contempt) and behavioral reactions (how observers act toward the target - active facilitation, passive facilitation, active harm, passive harm). Higher status targets were perceived as more competent than lower status targets. Competition did not have an effect on perceptions of the target's warmth. Competition and status did not predict emotions and behavioral reactions as hypothesized; however many other relationships predicted by the model between stereotypes, emotions, behavioral reactions and perceptions of sexual harassment were found here, although not hypothesized in the current study. Targets who were perceived as warm and competent elicited more facilitation and less harm than those who were perceived as less warm and less competent. Targets that were admired and pitied elicited more facilitation whereas targets that were contempted or envied elicited more harm. Additionally, warmth, competence, admiration, and pity were positively related to perceptions of sexual harassment, whereas envy and contempt were negatively related to perceptions of sexual harassment. Targets who were perceived as having been sexually harassed elicited more facilitation and less harm. Thus, the model is still useful in understanding how stereotypes (warmth and competence) and emotions (envy, admiration, pity, and contempt) relate to third party behavioral reactions to sexual harassment and perceptions of sexual harassment. Given that competition and status did not predict stereotypes, emotions, behavioral reactions and perceptions of sexual harassment as expected, it may be that these effects are more a function of individual factors such as gender and hostile sexism, rather than out-group evaluation (competition and status). In the current study men and those higher in hostile sexism were less likely than women and those lower in hostile sexism to perceive that the target had been sexually harassed, to perceive the target as warm and competent, to feel admiration or pity for the target, or to engage in facilitation behaviors. Additionally, men and those higher in hostile sexism were more likely than women and those lower in hostile sexism to feel contempt or envy toward the target and to engage in harm behaviors. Future research should examine other methods of manipulating perceptions of targets' competitiveness and status other than occupational characteristics to examine the impact of these out-group characteristics on stereotypes, emotions and behavioral reactions in the context of sexual harassment.
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