PurposeThe purpose of this paper is to examine whether observed hostility mediates the link between passive leadership and sexual harassment. The study also investigates how workplace gender ratio might moderate this mediated relationship.Design/methodology/approachThis study used online survey data by recruiting full-time working employees in various US organisations and industries.FindingsResults suggest that when working under a passive leader, both men and women are more likely to experience sexual harassment. Furthermore, the positive association between hostility and sexual harassment is stronger for female employees who work in a male-dominated organisation (low gender ratio). However, the moderating effects of workplace gender ratio were not significant for male employees.Practical implicationsOrganisations seeking to reduce or prevent sexual harassment should monitor and screen out managers who display passive leadership behaviour and create a work environment where collegial and civil interactions are encouraged and valued.Originality/valueThis research advances our knowledge regarding the organisational factors of sexual harassment by examining passive leadership, hostile work context, and workplace gender ratio. Theoretically, the study contributes to the sexual harassment literature by incorporating evidence on passive leadership from a broader field of workplace aggression into sexual harassment research. Practically, the study offers important implications for organisations that seek to minimise sexual harassment.
Personnel Review – Emerald Publishing
Published: Apr 3, 2018
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