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Exploring sexual harassment in a police department in Taiwan

Lan‐Ying Huang (School of Criminology, National Taipei University, San Shia, Taiwan)
Liqun Cao (Criminology, Justice and Police Studies, University of Ontario Institute of Technology, Oshawa, Canada)

Policing: An International Journal

ISSN: 1363-951X

Article publication date: 30 May 2008




The purpose of this paper is to investigate the conceptual and empirical issues related to sexual harassment (SH) in a police department in Taiwan.


Survey data were collected. Through the analysis, the paper proposes that SH can be better divided into two subcategories: quid pro quo and hostile work environment harassment. Multivariate analysis is used to explore the sources of SH.


It was found that both types of SH can be better explained by work environment variables than by demographic variables, but the specific sources differ. Hostile work environment harassment is predicted by the extent to which female officers perceive or experience that deployment and transfer practices are influenced by their gender. Quid pro quo harassment is related to job barriers and dodging from work.

Research limitations/implications

The two scales used in this research have captured the core of SH, but they might not fully depict the nature of SH in the police department in Taiwan. The sample was limited to the largest police department in Taiwan and it may not represent the entire police in Taiwan.

Practical implications

If hostile work environment and quid pro quo harassments are related to different organizational factors, it is useful for policy makers in the police to differentiate these two different types of SH and develop differential prevention and response measures.


This paper highlights the need to differentiate quid pro quo and hostile work environment harassments. It fills a gap in the literature by providing the baseline information on the prevalence of SH in one police department in Taiwan and by examining sources of SH in a profession dominated by males.



Huang, L. and Cao, L. (2008), "Exploring sexual harassment in a police department in Taiwan", Policing: An International Journal, Vol. 31 No. 2, pp. 324-340.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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