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 7: Superstars, toxicity, and sexual harassment

James K. Beggan


In contrast to leaders who possess legitimate power to influence their followers, the superstar is a high-value employee who receives large rewards because of the large profits he generates. Superstars can include athletes and performers, people with a high degree of training, and Chief Executive Officers (CEOs). One reason why superstars exist is because certain economic realities and structural aspects of employment situations can create a winner-take-all environment. Another reason is that certain professions operate on an economy of scale, which refers to the idea that there can be savings in cost by increasing the level of production. Although superstars can be appealing, they can also engage in toxic behavior, such as sexual harassment, that harms the organization in which they work. Paradoxically, factors that facilitate someone becoming a superstar may also increase the likelihood that they will engage in toxic behaviors.

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