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 4: A transactional analysis of sexual harassment

James K. Beggan


It is possible to think of the relationship between a harasser and accuser as a transactional process that begins with the first instance of an approach that might be labeled as harassing. The transaction can be considered as conforming to a sexual harassment script. Sexual harassment can increase depression and decrease general mental health. Excluding overt acts of sexual misconduct—considered inappropriate by any standard—harassment begins when the target feels a line has been crossed. A target can respond either by tolerating or challenging the harassment. Inward-focused strategies that involve tolerance include enduring, denying, reinterpreting, detaching, and accepting blame. Externally focused strategies include avoidance, appeasement, seeking social support, addressing her harasser, and seeking formal organizational support. In response to an allegation, a harasser may use outrage management to undercut the credibility of his accuser. Outrage management strategies include cover-up, intimidation, reinterpreting the alleged harassment in a more benign fashion, and devaluing the accuser.

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