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Sexualization of the work environment and emotional exhaustion: The case of emerging India

Hong T.M. Bui (University of Bath, Bath, UK)
Jonathan Pinto (Imperial College London, London, UK)
Abhishek Srivastava (West Virginia State University, Institute, West Virginia, USA)

International Journal of Manpower

ISSN: 0143-7720

Article publication date: 1 April 2019




The purpose of this paper is to explore the relationship between sexualization of the work environment and emotional exhaustion, and develop some key antecedents of sexualization of the work environment. It was conducted in an emerging society, India, which has a high rate of crime against women, particularly related to sexual harassment and sexual assault.


To test the hypotheses, structural equation modeling was performed. The hypotheses were tested with data from 1,098 white collar workers in India in three ways.


Contact with other gender and flexible work arrangements were positively associated with sexualization of the work environment; and sexualization of the work environment was positively associated with emotional exhaustion. In addition, sexualization of the work environment mediated the relationship between the two antecedent variables and emotional exhaustion.

Research limitations/implications

There is a possible bias arising from the use of cross-sectional data. However, a number of methods were implemented to minimize it, including survey design and data analysis.

Practical implications

The study offers some important suggestions for workplaces with a greater proportion of young male employees, particularly in a societal context like India.


The paper provides evidence of the negative impact of sexualization of the work environment, and thereby contributes to current understanding of the “dark side” of behavior at work that might have significant impact on society.



The authors highly appreciate the enormous support and useful comments from the associate editor, Dr Carol Hooi and three anonymous reviewers during the process. It will be the authors’ responsibility only for any mistake in this paper.


Bui, H.T.M., Pinto, J. and Srivastava, A. (2019), "Sexualization of the work environment and emotional exhaustion: The case of emerging India", International Journal of Manpower, Vol. 40 No. 4, pp. 558-573.



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