Dissertation Defense Announcement
Fogelman college of business announces the Final Dissertation Defense of
for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy
February 28, 2022 at 11:00 AM on Online Zoom (Please contact Devalina Nag for details on meeting information)
Advisor: Kristen Price Jones
Power to Her: Perceived Leadership Support for Combating Sexual Harassment at Work
ABSTRACT: "Given recent evidence suggesting that conventional approaches to reducing workplace sexual harassment (SH) such as training interventions are ineffective, my dissertation is the first attempt to explicitly put the onus of combating SH on the leaders of an organization (rather than training employees not to harass). Specifically, this study aims to illustrate that leadership initiative to combat SH can operate as visible signals of an organization’s intent to support employees who are victims of and bystanders to SH. I further hypothesize that gender diversity in the organization overall and female representation in management specifically will interact to enhance the effectiveness of such initiatives in combatting workplace SH. Additionally, I expect that the psychological climate of SH in organizations will also operate as an effective signal that shapes an employee’s decision to report incidents of SH to higher authorities. I draw from the tenets of signaling theory to explain how employees in an event of SH look for signals to help them decide whether to report the event and whether to turnover. Such signals are intuited from the psychological climate, perceived behavioral integrity of management, gender diversity and representativeness, and leaders’ initiatives directed toward combatting SH. To test my predictions, I employed a three-wave longitudinal approach, with 3 weeks separating each wave. A nationally representative sample (N = 2,626) of employees in the U.S. working full-time were recruited using services offered by Qualtrics Research Services. Results demonstrated that leadership initiatives to combat SH had significant direct effects on the outcomes in my model such that it led to increased reporting of SH incidents and a marginal decrease in turnover intentions. Further, leadership initiatives to combat SH had significant indirect effects on the outcomes via psychological climate of intolerance for SH and management’s perceived behavioral integrity. Contrary to my expectations, gender diversity and representativeness did not moderate the relationship between leadership initiatives to combat SH and employees’ perceptions of management behavioral integrity. Altogether, the results of my dissertation provide a solution-orientated approach to change SH cultures by shedding light on the criticality of organizational leaders taking a visible stance against workplace SH."