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Leading in: inclusive leadership, inclusive climates and sexual harassment

Elissa L. Perry (Program in Social Organizational Psychology, Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, New York, USA)
Caryn J. Block (Program in Social Organizational Psychology, Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, New York, USA)
Debra A. Noumair (Program in Social Organizational Psychology, Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, New York, USA)

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

ISSN: 2040-7149

Article publication date: 3 April 2020

Issue publication date: 18 May 2021

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to present a model that explores the relationship between inclusive leadership, inclusive climates and sexual harassment and other negative work-related outcomes, at the work unit and individual levels.

Design/methodology/approach

A conceptual model of inclusive work unit leadership, inclusive work unit climate and sexual harassment based on a review of the literature.

Findings

Leaders who behave more inclusively are expected to have work units and work unit members who experience more positive outcomes and fewer negative outcomes including sexual harassment and other forms of mistreatment. Leaders impact their work unit and work unit members' outcomes directly as well as indirectly through the more inclusive work unit climates they create.

Research limitations/implications

The sexual harassment literature has identified climate for sexual harassment as a key predictor of sexually harassing behavior and its attendant negative outcomes. A focus on a broader inclusive climate, and inclusive leadership, may provide a richer understanding of the conditions under which sexual harassment and other forms of mistreatment occur and can be mitigated.

Practical implications

This model can help identify strategies organizations can employ (e.g. inclusive leadership development programs) to combat sexual harassment.

Social implications

This model may improve understanding of the systemic, organizational causes of sexual harassment reducing sexual harassment victims' potential self-blame and helping policymakers craft more effective sexual harassment interventions.

Originality/value

The paper conceives of work climates that contribute to sexual harassment more broadly than generally has been the case in the sexual harassment literature to date. The model highlights the important role that leaders play in shaping inclusive climates. It also contributes to the nascent literature on inclusion and inclusive climates, which has paid relatively little attention to exclusion and mistreatment including sexual harassment that are likely to arise in less inclusive workplaces.

Keywords

Citation

Perry, E.L., Block, C.J. and Noumair, D.A. (2021), "Leading in: inclusive leadership, inclusive climates and sexual harassment", Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, Vol. 40 No. 4, pp. 430-447. https://doi.org/10.1108/EDI-04-2019-0120

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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