Sexual Harassment In The Workplace Commerce Essay

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This chapter consists of the contribution in term of knowledge. Besides that, the empirical result will also be focused and explained with the previous studies support. Furthermore, the objective achievement of research will be focused and discussed. Moreover, the recommendation and limitation have been directed for future research with similar research interest. Conclusion is given in the end of the part of the whole study.

5.1 Research contributions

This study is different with previous studies as no similar study had been done in area of sexual harassment and some other researchers had mention but the coverage is minimum. From the finding and analysis results of the questionnaire collected, the factors that lead the happen of sexual harassment are clearly stated. The four factors which are including working environment, politics in a company, psychology of the employees and demographic of the workgroups are the significant variables contributing to the sexual harassment. However, socialization is not significantly associated with the sexual harassment in this study. It is because higher socialization will build stronger relationship and trust among the employees, and this might be reduce the happen of sexual harassment in a company. In an organization, employees form a relationship because of shared ideas and work interests. Socialization skills are enhanced as employees connect to people around them positively (Creed & Miles 1996; Hardy, 1998).

Moreover in this study, found that most of the company are found that have a proper dressing code yet do not have stronger policy to protect their employees. The concerns for policies are still low in Malaysia (Ministry of Human Resources, 2007). However, in previous study, it mentions that adopting a clear sexual harassment policy is the best practices for employees to prevent and correct harassment is through adopting a formal, written anti-harassment policy which describes prohibited conduct, states the employer's opposition to it, and outlines potential disciplinary actions if the conduct nevertheless occurs (Grossman, 2002)

Furthermore, also found out that the politic problems are serious in most of the companies. Employers use their power put in pressure to their subordinates. In the previous study of Gruber (1992) assessed that sexual harassment is a result of power and status inequalities within a company. Another previous study by Collins (1975) discusses the power inequalities would affect the frequency of sexual harassment, with women in lower status positions being most frequently harassed. In this study, also found that most of the female employees are scare and choose not to report the cases of sexual harassment. This will make the cases of sexual harassment increase in a company. Previous research study about sexual harassment can causes significant psychological, physical, and economic harm.

In addition, employees are from different races and can different culture background and most of the companies do not have a balance mixture of male and female. In the previous study discussed the proportional composition of the work group would affect the frequency of sexual harassment with women in predominantly male work groups being more frequently harassed (Kanter, 1977). Overall, the sexual harassment is found not that serious in the multinational companies as it can see in the analysis results of the questionnaire collected.

There is also no single study discusses about these obstacles as a separate topic by itself. Most of previous studies were focus on the types of sexual harassment, impact of sexual harassment, prevention of sexual harassment and others. However, this study differ greatly from other studies as it will study about factors that make the happen of sexual harassment make it become a distinct study in this field. In this study, it highlights the factors of sexual harassment in multinational company (MNC) and most of the female employees are victim in the case of sexual harassment. Previous studies conducted by Leeds (1983), Webb (1991) and Kiely and Henbest (2000) had indicated that women are more likely to be the victim of sexual harassment due to several reasons.

All the respondents are female workers. The current female workers can give the better answers in filling the questionnaire based on their experiences in the company. This study has reinforced that companies want to reduce their risk should concentrate on preventing sexual harassment before it occurs. In this study, it indicated that sexual harassment has been linked to decreased job satisfaction, and can lead to a loss of staff and expertise because of resignations to avoid harassment. Every year, hundreds of millions of dollars are lost in productivity because of effects such as employee absenteeism to avoid harassment, and increased team conflict in environments where harassment is occurring. If the problem is ignored, a company's image can suffer amongst clients, employees, potential customers, and the general public. Health care costs can increase because of the health consequences of harassment.

Based on the findings of this study, the knowledge contribution of this study is will provide a lot of valuable information for future other researchers who would like to conduct further research on the issue of factors of sexual harassment in multinational company (MNC) or especially wan to find out the factors of sexual harassment.

5.2 Managerial Implications

From the empirical findings of this study, various recommendations are directed to the policy makers, multinational companies (MNCs) and individual employee in an organization.

5.2.1 Suggestion to policy makers

In this research, it will benefit the policy makers as more different policy can be enhanced and implemented to prevent sexual harassment in all of the companies. The policy makers or the government has an important roles to play in prevent the happen of sexual harassment in Malaysia.

From the analysis result from the questionnaire, found that the mean of sexual harassment is low meaning that sexual harassment cases is not that serious in Malaysia. However, found that some employees are not reported cases of sexual harassment when it is happening. In this study, researcher's recommendation is that that government should take several actions before the cases of sexual harassment become serious. Reviewing on the current situation, know that the Ministry of Human resources had came up a Code of Practice on the Prevention and Eradication of sexual harassment in the workplace which contain guidelines on the establishment and implementation of in-house preventive and redress mechanism for dealing with sexual harassment at the workplaces. Nevertheless, less companies or employees report the cases of sexual harassment although the Code includes advice on forms of sexual harassment, complaint and grievance procedures, disciplinary rules and penalties, and protective and remedial measures.

Thus, policy maker such as government may enforce stricter law or regulation to make sure the companies execute the policies and encourage reporting the cases of sexual harassment. Hence, it is important for policy makers to set a schedule to monitor the companies and understand more about the working environment. Furthermore, another recommendations to policy makers is act immediately indeed every complaint must be taken seriously since any delay in taking actions might be misconstrue by the harassers as tacit approval of the conduct. Beside act immediately, investigate and act on every complaint is another way to prevent the sexual harassment. In addition, government or policy makers should take remedial actions and appropriate corrective actions to reduce the cases of sexual harassment before it become serious in all the multinational companies.

5.2.2 Suggestion to multinational companies

Moreover, this contribution of study will benefit the multinational companies also because when they strongly prevent with the policy and it can reduce the incidents of sexual harassment. A safe, secure and pleasant workplace can increase the occupational performance and productivity in the company. Fitzgerald (1993) said that organizational climate and management norms influence the level of sexual harassment and the weakness of victims of sexual harassment to undertake actions in the workplace. Strong policies and effective procedures articulated by the head of an organisation or in situation that are communicated to and understood by all employees are critical components of a prevention strategy.

In this study, found that concerns of policy by multinational companies are low. Some companies even do not have a policy to protect their employees. Moreover, weak policies, negative organizational climate and laxly enforced of policies are related to higher incidence of sexual harassment levels. Thus, prevention of sexual harassment through strong policies is the best way to ensure that harassment will not occur. First, companies need a comprehensive, detailed written policy on sexual harassment. The CEO should issue the policy and make it a high priority of the company. Second, they need to distribute this policy to all workers, supervisors, and even some non-employees. Moreover, in the written policy should state clearly that the organisation will not tolerate sexual harassment. The policy should include a definition of sexual harassment and the disciplinary actions that the company will take if someone is found liable. The company's policy should also make it clear that there will be no retaliation for reporting a complaint or for providing information during an investigation.

Since the policy is a reference tool for employees, the answers to the questions should also be provided. If employers already have a written policy on sexual harassment, they may need to update it. The laws concerning sexual harassment may have changed and the policy should reflect those changes. The company may have expanded and the current policy may no longer be applicable. If a company did not have a Human Resources department before and now all complaints are to be reported to them rather than the employee's supervisor. If the policy does not address a certain issue or if the definition of sexual harassment has changed, then it needs to be added to the policy. The policy should not only contain information required by law, it should clearly express the company's views on sexual harassment. Once a company develops a sexual harassment policy, it should circulate it widely. Companies should provide copies not only to newly hired employees, but also to current ones

However, to help employees control the nature of sexual harassment, companies may want to provide their workers with examples of behavior that they consider inappropriate. In this study, also found that most of the female employees feel fear and do not report the cases of sexual harassment. Thus, companies must let their employees know how to refrain from requesting sexual favors, from touching or flirting with unwilling or even willing subordinates, and from making similar unwelcome sexual advances to co-workers.

By the way, how the company decides to handle a harassment case will prove to the employees whether or not to comply with the company's policies and procedures. If the company does not investigate a complaint or does not take the complaint seriously, they will lose all credibility with their employees. Employees will not take the policy seriously and it will have failed. The best way of reduce the happen of sexual harassment is to take the issue seriously by enhance the female perception to sexual harassment and implement stronger policies in a company. Top management must sets the tone in the work place through policy and without such a commitment, sexual harassment will continue to exist.

5.2.3 Suggestion to individual employee

The finding of this study is important as it will directly benefit the employees in the multinational companies especially females workers. All the employees that in the workplaces can to enhance their perceptions of what constitute sexual harassment within their working environment and it is important for them to know how to take actions if sexual harassment happens.

In this study, found that all the employees are come from different background and culture. Furthermore, most of the companies have more women than men in a workplace and this will make the sexual harassment easier to happen. Thus, employees are encouraged to take all steps necessary to prevent sexual harassment from occurring. An employee's anti-harassment policy should make clear that the employer will not tolerate harassment based on race, sex, religion, national origin, age, or disability, or harassment based on opposition to participation in complaint proceedings. The policy should also state that the employer will not tolerate retaliation against anyone who complains of harassment or who participates in an investigation (Gladstone, 1991). The employees will also need to know that if they file a complaint, the company will try and protect their privacy, but cannot guarantee anonymity and complete confidentiality once an investigation begins.

Some employees do not know where to report the cases of sexual harassment and some just ignore this unethical conduct because they scare retaliation for reporting. Hence, the more information provided in the policy, the more useful it will be to the employees. Studies by Zoloty (1986), Pryor (1987), Bingham (1989), Cooper (1989), Fitzgerald (1993) and Sloan (1997) have shown that through clear company's policy, greater awareness on sexual harassment and strictly enforced policies, organizations are able to help employees from acting in sexually exploitative manners hence preventing sexual harassment.

All the employees especially female need to be aware of potential sexual harassment situations. In this study also highlight a pressing need for management to be more proactive. In particular, adopting a clear sexual harassment policy is the best practices for employees to prevent and correct harassment is through adopting a formal, written anti-harassment policy which describes prohibited conduct, states the employer's opposition to it, and outlines potential disciplinary actions if the conduct nevertheless occurs (Grossman, 2002)

Discussion of research objectives

From the empirical findings of the study, the two research objectives set for this study have all been answered.

For the first objective, is to determine the female's perceptions of what constitute for the happen of sexual harassment within their working environment. In terms of colleagues repeatedly tell dirty jokes, language and actions of a sexual nature, the findings indicated that a large percentage of the respondents believed that this action could not constitute harassment in certain cases as the standard deviation in mean analysis is the highest. With reference to the question determining whether colleagues had reported sexual harassment case, the results were show that fewer employees had reported the cases of sexual harassment as the standard deviation in mean analysis is lowest. Overall, sexual harassment variable in mean analysis is low meaning that the cases of sexual harassment are not that serious in Malaysia. Thus, lower standard deviation for sexual harassment in mean analysis indicated that most of the employees are disagree with the questions and it can say that female's perceptions of what constitute for the happen of sexual harassment within their working environment is low. Thus, the first objective is achieved.

The second objective of the study is to determine the factors of sexual harassment that happen in most of the multinational companies. From the result in Pearson correlation analysis, the first variable which is socialization found that has a negatively and significantly correlated with sexual harassment. The stronger trust and relationship among employees will reduce the happen of sexual harassment in a company. Thus, socialization have been empirically proven to be significantly and negatively associated with sexual harassment in MNCs.

In addition, multiple regressions also show that the second variable which is working environment is positively and significantly correlated with sexual harassment. This can prove that a working environment with policy can protect the employees from those unethical conducts such as sexual harassment and work in a safe workplace. Moreover, shows that the third variable which is the politics in a company is positively and significantly correlated with sexual harassment in the result of multiple regressions analysis. This proven that power and status inequalities within a company increase the happen of sexual harassment and it found to be the crucial factor in determining sexual harassment in MNCs.

Besides that, the fourth variable which is psychology of the employee is found to be positively and significantly correlated with sexual harassment in the result of multiple regressions. It has been proven that victims no report the problems due to their sense of fear and will make the case of sexual harassment keep increasing in a company. Furthermore, the result in multiple regressions shows that last variable which is demographic of the workgroups is negatively and significantly correlated with sexual harassment. Therefore, the second objective is achieved.

5.4 Limitation of the study

The findings of this study are subjected to a few limitations. The female respondents in the study are focusing on few foreign multinational companies (MNCs) that operating in Malacca and Kuala Lumpur only. Another limitation in this study is the use of non-probability sampling which is the convenience sampling. The results of this study cannot be generalised to the whole population of MNCs in Malaysia. However, there is no guarantee that the behaviors of these people represent behaviors of other groups. The respondents are having the right solely to fill in the answer they like. This might cause the existence of bias while answering the question in questionnaire. Respondents might be influenced by the emotion, mood, friends, and so on when filling the questionnaire. Thus, the truthfulness of the respondents in answering the questionnaire is another potential limitation of this study.

Besides that, the survey of this study is only conducted and gathered data from 150 respondents and eventually yields 131 usable responses. The 131 usable responses collected in this study can also be considered as low compare to previous studies. It is time consuming as it is distributed to female employees through email and personally by me to different multinational companies.

5.5 Recommendations for future research

Due to the several limitations present in the study that was discussed in the earlier section, this research was not comprehensive in terms of the research area and methods. However, this study can serve as a starting point or reference for future projects, while incorporating all the recommendations mentioned below.

Therefore, future research in this area would be more complete if its covers a wider population and geographical area. The targeted population can increase to more foreign investment multinational companies from all over Malaysia and more female employees in MNCs. Though it would be very time consuming and costly due to the transport fees for personally distribute the questionnaires for them, it would provide a better picture and findings based on Malaysia female employees in general.

Therefore, by going deeper into the areas of sexual harassment, it can provide a more comprehensive data on female's perceptions of what constitute for the happen of sexual harassment in the multinational company.

5.6 Conclusion

As a conclusion, sexual harassment is a serious work place problem that requires focused and responses facing in most of the multinational companies today. No one is immune from the finger pointing. Thus, government and companies must work together to develop and implement a strategy to eradicate sexual harassment from the work place.

This study is conducted to have a better understanding in the factors contribute to the sexual harassment in multinational companies (MNCs) in Malaysia. Furthermore, this study is able to figure out the relationship between the factors of sexual harassment and female perception of what constitute for the happen of this unethical conduct in Malaysia.

There are a total amount of five variables included in this study. The variables are socialization, working environment, politics in a company, psychology of the employees and demographic of the workgroups. From the result from study, all variables are shown significantly associated with sexual harassment in the Pearson correlation and multiple regressions analysis. As a review, the cronbach's Alpha of the variables all above 0.7 but exclude the demographic of the workgroups which recorded at 0.521. According to Murrell (1996), said that the demographic of each respondent are vary and designed to predict the different levels of harassment.

From the result, the questions in the designed questionnaire are effectively to study and examine the factors that contribute to sexual harassment in multinational companies. In other hand, most the mean of the variables are above the mid-point of liker scale except politics in a company variable. This result shows the generally research's variables are agreed by the respondents. Besides that, the result of study (P<0.05) also shows that all of five independent variables are significantly related with the dependent variable which is intention to adopt sexual harassment. Correlation coefficients of the variables are positively correlated except the socialization and demographic of the workgroups variables which have a negatively correlated with sexual harassment.

In this study, the non-probability sampling method was adopted and successfully collected 131 copies of the questionnaire. These 131 copies of questionnaire provide valuable primary data which analyzed by using the SPSS version 17 in succession. As the results from the analyzed data, confirm that the independent variables are found to be significantly correlated with the sexual harassment in the multinational companies. Moreover, the study shows the score of 26.2 percent of variance are significantly explained by all of the independent variables. At the behind part of this study, recommendations for each related party is given.

From the study, can know that sexual harassment will bring many negative effects to the employees. Although in this study found out that sexual harassment is not serious in Malaysia, all the related parties must take corrective actions to prevent the happen of sexual harassment before it become serious. Lastly, it is an important concerted effort by governments, employers, employees and women's organizations to help to create zero tolerance towards sexual harassment at workplace.

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