Sexual Harassment and Gender Discrimination: A Longitudinal Study of Women Managers

Authors

  • Audrey J. Murrell,

    Corresponding author
    1. University of Pittsburgh
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      AUDREY MURRELL is Associate Professor of Business Administration and of Psychology in the Katz Graduate School of Business at the University of Pittsburgh. After doing her B.A. at Howard University, she received her Ph.D. from the University of Delaware in 1987. Currently she is a member of SPSSI Council. Her ongoing research areas include teams in organizations, intergroup relations, and career issues of women in management.

  • Josephine E. Olson,

    1. University of Pittsburgh
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      JOSEPHINE E. OLSON is Professor of Business Administration and of Economics at the University of Pittsburgh. She received the A.B. in economics from Wellesley College and the Ph.D. in economics from Brown University in 1970. Her recent research has been on the careers of men and women in business and library science. She is presently serving as academic dean of the Czechoslovak Management Center near Prague.

  • Irene Hanson Frieze

    1. University of Pittsburgh
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      IRENE HANSON FRIEZE is Professor of Psychology, Business Administration, and Women's Studies at the University of Pittsburgh. Having obtained her Ph.D. from UCLA in 1973, she is a Past President APA's Division 35, The Psychology of Women. Within SPSSI she has been an active member, serving on Council; co-editing two JSI issues (on sex-typed behavior and on victimization) as well as the SPSSI-sponsored volume, New Approaches to Social Problems: Applications of Attribution Theory; and being instrumental in SPSSI's establishing an e-mail network (SPSSI-L@vms.cis.pitt.edu) and the SAGES program of grants to retired social scientists.


University of Pittsburgh, Katz Graduate School of Business, Pittsburgh, PA 15260

Abstract

Our research examines the connection between sexual harassment and other sex discrimination experiences of a sample of women within managerial and professional occupations. In this research, 257 women MBAs were surveyed over a seven-year period. Women who experienced early discrimination were likely to have experienced discrimination, including sexual harassment seven years later. However, slightly more than one-third of the women reporting sexual harassment report never experiencing discrimination. A variety of correlates of sexual harassment and discrimination experiences were also examined. Our findings suggest that some women do not perceive their experience with sexual harassment as a form of sex discrimination, yet experiences of discrimination and harassment negatively affect work attitudes for women. These findings support the notion of sexual harassment as a form of sex discrimination that contributes to a hostile and intimidating work environment.

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