Gender Differences

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Relaxation And Gender Differences

Relaxation And Gender Differences


In recent years gender differences has emerged from the 'backroom to the courtroom and from fun to fines' (Coles, 1986). Although not clearly recognised as an important work issue before the mid-1970s ( Brewer & Berk, 1982), there is now an increasing awareness of the widespread nature of sexual harassment, and an appreciation of its effects on both victims and organisations ( Fitzgerald; Schneider and Tinsley). For example, Jensen and Gutek (1982) reported that 20% of victims experienced depression, 80% disgust, and 68% anger. Financial damages awarded against companies have also been large(Terpstra, D.E. and Cook, S.E., 1985. Complainant characteristics and reported behaviors and consequences associated with formal gender differences charges. Personnel Psychology 38, pp. 559-574. Full Text via CrossRefTerpstra & Cook, 1985); and there are hidden costs associated with decreased work efficiency, absenteeism, and turnover (Gutek; Lach and Terpstra). Hidden costs to the organisation may in fact be far higher than generally recognised because gender differences is under-reported ( Brooks & Perot, 1991). Exposure to both direct and indirect gender differences may have important implications in terms of job stress and impaired occupational performance.

The concept of gender differences is used in a number of different ways. For example (1) to define any sexually-oriented behaviour initiated by males and directed towards females; (2) to describe the process by which male superiors exercise gender-based power over female subordinates; and (3) as a quasi-legal category to classify accusations that de facto gender-specific behaviours constitute sexual harassment, irrespective of whether such behaviour is de jure gender differences (see Cleveland, J.N. and Kerst, M.E., 1993. Gender differences and perceptions of power: An under-articulated relationship. Journal of Vocational Behavior 42, pp. 49-67. However, the view that male-initiated sexually-oriented behaviour in the workplace automatically constitutes 'harassment' is of dubious theoretical utility; in order to avoid circularity of argument, perceptions of gender differences cannot be used as the sole definition of harassment. As we are concerned with male behaviour directed towards females, and in order to avoid confusion, neutral terms are used throughout this paper to designate the male initiator (the 'protagonist') and the targeted female.


First, to confirm that male-initiated, common sexually oriented behaviours are composed of unwanted sexual attention and gender harassment dimensions (Bennett-Alexander and Pincus, 1985; Fitzgerald and Lengnick). As noted by Lengnick-Hall, M.L., 1995. Gender differences research: A methodological critique. Personnel Psychology 48, pp. 841-864. CrossRefLengnick-Hall (1995), 'A major problem with existing models is that they have confounded the two conceptual definitions of sexual harassment.

The principal components analysis of items in Study 1 revealed two dimensions that correspond to unwanted sexual attention (involving various forms of physical contact and requesting sexual favours), and gender harassment (involving rude and sexist remarks). Across both studies, scale alphas were acceptable, and a consistent pattern of effects emerged. Importantly, for unwanted sexual attention, males and females did not differ in their ratings of seriousness; but for gender harassment males took a more tolerant view than ...
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