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 8: Consensual relations and sexual harassment

James K. Beggan


One consequence of the movement against sexual harassment is that it has created opposition to consensual workplace romance. The movement to ban workplace romance is supported by several diverse perspectives, including the legal community, which has conceptualized sexual harassment as a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, organizational management, which views the emotionality associated with workplace romance as a threat to efficiency, and feminism, which argues that men use sexuality in the workplace as a means to oppress women. Banning workplace romance deprives many people of a natural space to seek out love and sex, given the centrality of work to most people’s lives, and represents what can be viewed as an unwarranted intrusion into people’s personal lives, privacy, and pursuit of happiness. Broad prohibitions of workplace romance—such as those created by zero tolerance policies—can inadvertently produce a number of negative consequences for employees.

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