Occupational Health and Safety for Small and Medium Sized Enterprises

Occupational Health and Safety for Small and Medium Sized Enterprises

Edited by E. Kevin Kelloway and Cary L. Cooper

Small and medium sized enterprises constitute the vast majority of businesses in most developed economies. Although a large number of people are employed in such organizations, research and practice in occupational health and safety has largely ignored the unique challenges of this sector. In this highly relevant book, international experts in the field summarize existing knowledge and identify the best practices for enhancing occupational health and safety in small and medium sized enterprises. The authors specifically identify solutions that are appropriate for small businesses.

Chapter 8: Sexual Harassment: A Big Issue for Small and Medium Sized Enterprises?

Angela M. Dionisi and Julian Barling

Subjects: business and management, entrepreneurship, organisational behaviour


Angela M. Dionisi and Julian Barling Most organizational research continues to focus almost exclusively on large firms (Cooper and Otley, 1998; Wilkinson, 1999), and perhaps we should not be surprised. After all, large corporations are the subject of much media interest, and attract more attention from legislation, lobbyists and labor than do small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). In addition, organizational scientists do not necessarily research the aspects most relevant to a vibrant economy and healthy employees (O’Leary and Almond, 2009). While we of course do not deny the need for comprehensive information on large organizations, the neglect of SMEs in the organizational sciences leaves a sizable and consequential gap in our knowledge. Much remains unknown when it comes to the companies that employ the majority of working individuals in the United States (Headd, 2000) and Canada (Wong, 2009), their working experiences, and associated well-being. Recognizing that the unique nature of SMEs and the environments in which they function may limit the generalizability of empirical findings derived from larger firms, some organizational scholars have begun to focus specifically on SMEs (e.g. Bacon and Hoque, 2005; Deshpande and Golhar, 1994; Heneman et al., 2000; Katz et al. 2000; Wilkinson, 1999). Despite this new focus, we still know very little about issues that affect the health and well-being of employees and managers in these organizations, especially when it comes to matters of aggression and victimization. This gap in knowledge becomes even less acceptable when we realize that employee health and well-being in...

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