Sexual harassment: A comparison of online versus traditional training methods
Shauna Hughes Frisbie, Texas Tech University, United States
Texas Tech University . Awarded
Sexual harassment is a critical social problem affecting large numbers of individuals, yet many victims fail to recognize or admit that they have been sexually harassed. Individual reactions to sexual harassment are similar to symptoms of posttraumatic stress syndrome. Depression, lowered self-esteem, decreased life satisfaction, poor work performance, and threats to physical health are common outcomes of sexual harassment. Organizations also pay a price for sexual harassment in the form of lowered productivity, increased job turnover, and absenteeism. Legal remedies have not been an effective detriment to the spread of sexual harassment.
Supreme Court rulings and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission guidelines make it clear that employers are responsible to ensure that all employees attend comprehensive, periodic sexual harassment awareness training. Although sexual harassment awareness training programs have proliferated in recent years, there is no consensus about the best methods of training. Moreover, there are gaps in the literature on sexual harassment in the area of evaluation and research. Research on sexual harassment awareness training programs in the workplace is nominal. One promising delivery medium for sexual harassment awareness training lies in the use of online technology. The growing use of online technology in business and industry makes this a natural instrument for training.
The purpose of this study was to determine the effectiveness of online and traditional sexual harassment awareness training programs in an actual work setting that employs adults. The study considered sexual harassment knowledge, attitudes, and perceptions to assess the outcomes of online and traditional sexual harassment awareness training programs. Gender comparisons were also made to determine whether the training programs had a differential impact on males and females.
Results of the study indicated that participants who received sexual harassment awareness training had greater knowledge of sexual harassment and less tolerant attitudes toward sexual harassment than participants who were not trained. This was true of both male and female participants. For the perception assessment, treatment interacted with gender such that males' perceptions of sexual harassment increased with training, while females' perceptions did not change as a result of training. Training increased participants' ability to perceive hostile and offensive sexual harassment. In general, online training and traditional sexual harassment awareness training were equally effective.
Frisbie, S.H. Sexual harassment: A comparison of online versus traditional training methods. Ph.D. thesis, Texas Tech University.
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