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Sexualisation and harassment in hospitality workplaces: who is responsible?

Beth Waudby (Auckland University of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand)
Jill Poulston (Auckland University of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand)

International Journal of Culture, Tourism and Hospitality Research

ISSN: 1750-6182

Article publication date: 2 October 2017

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Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to examine employee responses to sexual behaviour in hospitality workplaces, to determine their roles and responsibilities in harassment prevention.

Design

Female workers in restaurants and bars were recruited using the snowball technique, and data collected through 18 interviews. An interpretivist approach was used to guide the data collection and analysis.

Findings

The study found that harassment coping strategies developed with age and experience rather than through training, and those who dressed and behaved provocatively attracted more unwanted sexual attention.

Practical implications

Recommendations focus on the role of managers in moderating employee behaviour and providing training in assertiveness.

Social implications

Industry norms and perceptions about managers’ expectations are considered strong influences on employee behaviour, and therefore, in attracting harassment.

Originality

Although this study locates the responsibility for stopping harassment with management, it takes an unusual and potentially unpalatable approach by acknowledging the role of victims in stopping unwanted sexual advances, providing new approaches to reducing harassment.

Keywords

Citation

Waudby, B. and Poulston, J. (2017), "Sexualisation and harassment in hospitality workplaces: who is responsible?", International Journal of Culture, Tourism and Hospitality Research, Vol. 11 No. 4, pp. 483-499. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJCTHR-10-2016-0102

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited