Sexual harassment and gendered organizational culture in Japanese firms

Gender and Sexuality in the Workplace

ISBN: 978-1-84855-370-5, eISBN: 978-1-84855-371-2

ISSN: 0277-2833

Publication date: 14 September 2010

Abstract

Based on in-depth interviews with 64 women in 5 Japanese firms, this chapter examines how women workers interpret workplace sexual behaviors and interactions in different organizational contexts. The chapter explores the processes by which workplace sexual interactions, including harmful behaviors, are normalized and tolerated. It discusses three types of sexual workplace interactions in Japanese firms: (1) taking clients to hostess clubs, which women workers often see as “a part of their job”; (2) playing the hostess role at after-work drinking meetings, where a certain amount of touching and groping by men is seen as “joking around” or simply as behavior that is to be expected from men; and (3) repetitive or threatening sexual advances occurring during normal working hours, which are seen as harassment and cause women to take corrective action. The chapter confirms previous studies that have shown that women's interpretations of sexual behaviors can vary from enjoyable to harmful, depending on the organizational contexts. The chapter also argues that Japanese organizational culture, through its normalization of male dominance and female subordination, fosters and obscures harmful behaviors. Eradicating harmful sexual behaviors will require firms to reevaluate sexualized workplace customs and mitigate the large gender gap in the organizational hierarchy in Japanese firms.

Citation

Nemoto, K. (2010), "Sexual harassment and gendered organizational culture in Japanese firms", Williams, C. and Dellinger, K. (Ed.) Gender and Sexuality in the Workplace (Research in the Sociology of Work, Vol. 20), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 203-225. https://doi.org/10.1108/S0277-2833(2010)0000020012

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2010, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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