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Workplace Sexual Harassment Perceptions in the Turkish Context and the Role of Individual Differences

Toker Gültaş, Yonca
The major purpose of this study was to examine perceptions of workplace sexual harassment in the Turkish context. In Study 1, 53 working women were interviewed to identify culture-relevant behaviors that are considered to be sexual harassment. In Study 2, the factor structure of perceptions was explored. In addition, the way in which these perceptions are related to personal variables (i.e. gender role attitudes, self-esteem, and negative affectivity) was investigated. Participants were 353 women currently employed at various organisations. Five factors were identified: sexist hostility, insinuation of interest, sexual hostility, physical sexual offense, and sexual bribery and coercion. Each factor was regressed on the personal variables. After controlling for relevant demographic and organisational variables, gender role attitudes, self-esteem, and negative affectivity predicted sexual harassment perceptions. Specifically, negative affectivity predicted milder forms of harassment, attitudes predicted factors that are considered more severe, and self-esteem predicted all factors but sexist hostility. The extent to which sexual harassment manifestations are universal and how certain manifestations that appeared in the Turkish context broaden the scope of sexual harassment are discussed by referring to the US literature.