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Perceived differences in sexual harassment between business school students in the US and Thailand

Wanthanee Limpaphayom (Department of Management, Eastern Washington University, Bellevue, Washington, USA)
Robert J. Williams (Department of Management and Information Systems, Langdale College of Business Administration, Valdosta State University, Valdosta, Georgia, USA)
Paul A. Fadil (Department of Management, Marketing and Logistics, College of Business, University of North Florida, Jacksonville, Florida)

Cross Cultural Management: An International Journal

ISSN: 1352-7606

Article publication date: 1 January 2006

Abstract

Purpose

This study seeks to examine differences in the perceptions of sexual harassment between business school students in the USA and Thailand.

Design/methodology/approach

Senior‐level business students from both the USA (228 students) and Thailand (260 students) were surveyed regarding their perceptions of what constituted sexual harassment behaviour. After reading different workplace scenarios, the participants used a Likert‐type scale to rank different behaviours as to what they felt constituted sexual harassment. The survey scores were factor‐analyzed in order to determine the constructs underlying the variety of sexual harassment behaviours.

Findings

Students in the USA viewed sexual harassment as involving a quid quo pro situation in which one's behaviour affects the terms of employment (sexual coercion), and a hostile environment in which certain behaviours and remarks create a hostile or offensive work environment. In comparison, the Thai students also viewed behaviours that create a hostile or offensive environment as constituting harassment, but also considered sexually explicit language and jokes to be very offensive, and as constituting a form of sexual coercion.

Research limitations/implications

This study used only one data collection method, specifically, a survey instrument. Also, this study examined differences between US subjects and subjects from only one Far Eastern country. Thus, the results may not be generalizable to other East Asian countries.

Practical implications

As US businesses begin to expand into the Far East, it is imperative that we understand the nature of sexual harassment perceptions in these Far East countries.

Originality/value

This paper provides evidence that the perception of what constitutes sexual harassment varies across cultures.

Keywords

Citation

Limpaphayom, W., Williams, R.J. and Fadil, P.A. (2006), "Perceived differences in sexual harassment between business school students in the US and Thailand", Cross Cultural Management: An International Journal, Vol. 13 No. 1, pp. 32-42. https://doi.org/10.1108/13527600610643466

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2006, Emerald Group Publishing Limited