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Sexual Harassment as [Dys]Functional Process: A Feminist Standpoint Analysis

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Researchers have approached the study of sexual harassment as though it were dysfunctional. However, a feminist standpoint theory analysis would suggest that it functions differently for men and women. A study using discussion groups and stimulated recall interviews was conducted in a large health care organization. A thematic analysis revealed a primary theme of sexual harassment as a [dys]functional process. For the male participants, sexual behavior served as a coping mechanism for stress, as a form of therapeutic care, and to create and demonstrate camaraderie. For the women participants, sexual behavior tended to be either nonfunctional or dysfunctional. They did not associate it with stress reduction, therapeutic touch, and viewed group camaraderie as a means of prevention. Implications are discussed.
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Keywords: Feminist Standpoint Theory; Interpretative research; Sexual harassment

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Missouri-Columbia, Department of Communication, 115 Switzler Hall, Columbia, MO 65211-2310, 573.882.0300, [email protected]

Publication date: 2001-11-01

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