Social Organization and Social Ties: Their Effects on Sexual Harassment Victimization in the Workplace


Sociology and Criminal Justice

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Objective: Despite work organizations' attempts to reduce sexual harassment, it continues to be a salient issue for employers across all occupations. Extending social disorganization theory to the work environment, this study examines the relationship between workplace organization, social ties, and sexual harassment victimization.

Participants: Survey responses to the 2002 and 2006 Quality of Working Life module from the General Social Survey by a sample of 3,530 adult men and women employees in the United States were used.

Methods: Logistic regression models were estimated for men and women separately to estimate the effect of workplace characteristics on the risk of sexual harassment victimization.

Results: Employees who reported poor workplace relations between management and employees and lower coworker social ties were more likely to experience sexual harassment in their work environments. Specific workplace characteristics such as low productivity, poor time management, and inadequate administrative support were significantly related to increased sexual harassment risk. No significant gender differences were found across models suggesting that the predictors of sexual harassment are similar for men and women.

Conclusions: This study demonstrates that workplace characteristics are related to sexual harassment risk in the workplace. Suggestions for sexual harassment prevention, including management and organizational strategies, are discussed.