A new paper published in the Journal of Applied Psychology and co-authored by researchers from the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management and the University of British Columbia’s Sauder School of Management concluded that sexual behavior at work creates a problem in the work place, especially morale.
The study looks at sexual behavior in the workplace, things such as sexual jokes, innuendo, discussions of sexual matters or flirtation. They investigated if men and women got anything positive out of the behavior, such as enjoyment and social bonding.
They reported that 25% of those exposed to it found it fun and flattering while half were neutral. The big surprise was even employees who enjoyed the behavior tended to withdraw from work, felt less valued and reported depressive symptoms more often than employees who experienced little to no sexual behavior at the office. These results were consistent among both women and men, working in manufacturing, social service and university jobs.
“We approached the study with an open mind,” said Prof. Jennifer Berdahl of the Rotman School, who co-authored the study with Prof. Karl Aquino pf the Sauder School. “We thought, ‘Maybe these behaviours are a positive thing for employees who enjoy them.’ And then we found that they weren’t.”
Prof. Berdahl suggested the study’s findings should be treated as “sage advice” for employees and employers to avoid engaging in sexual behaviour while on the job.
“In our culture, sexuality has these connotations of domination, subordinance and vulnerability,” she said. “Often a dominating behaviour is a way of making someone squirmy. Why bring this into the workplace?”
I suggest that this problem is very easy to rectify. Smart employers should only hire men on hormone therapy. This would resolve the entire problem including the concern about office affairs.
Joel T Nowak MA, MSW
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