Sexual Harassment, the Abuse of Power and the Crisis of Leadership
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Sexual Harassment, the Abuse of Power and the Crisis of Leadership

"Superstar" Harassers and how to Stop Them

James K. Beggan

Within these pages James K. Beggan puts forward a novel approach to understanding sexual harassment by high value superstars in the workplace. The approach integrates ideas derived from evolutionary theory, utility theory, sexual scripting theory and research on the regulation of emotion. Besides providing a better understanding of the phenomenon, the book aims to contribute to the development of better techniques to prevent sexual harassment. 
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Chapter 2: A utility model of sexual approach

James K. Beggan


In this chapter, the approach model is presented with regard to calculating the utility of a man approaching a particular woman in the hopes of obtaining sex. The chapter notes the distinction between risk, a known likelihood, and uncertainty, an unknown likelihood, and argues that the likelihood that a woman will provide sexual access is better conceptualized as uncertainty rather than risk. Further, the chapter notes men will attempt to increase their likelihood of successful approach by emphasizing the attributes they possess that they believe will influence women to find them attractive. The chapter suggests that the disjunction between men’s efforts to influence women and women’s interpretation of those influence efforts represents the origin of perceived sexual harassment. The chapter notes that sexual approach can be conceptualized as an ongoing, iterative process and that sexual harassment can stem from how men and women interpret an ongoing process of social interaction.

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