By Marianne Koch, PhD
Associate Dean, Ageno School of Business
We are in the midst of a culture change (I hope!) at work.
We can start with sexual harassment training and related actions – empower the bystander; encourage civility; promote more women; and encourage reporting as a part of serious and frequent training (as Claire Cain Miller reports that research shows to work) – to begin the deeper work of bringing about a culture of respect at all levels of power in our organizations.
Sexual harassment is not just about unwanted behavior of a sexual nature; it’s about power. The nascent culture change that we are seeing has its origin in the uncovering of sexual harassment involving men of prestige, power, and positions of great authority. However, rooting out sexual harassment is just the tip of the iceberg, so to speak. We have to correct the imbalance of power and the bad behaviors that can come about due to that power imbalance.
Miller has written a useful piece on sexual harassment training that is full of good advice. How we might improve on not-so-great sexual harassment training that we all are regularly put through provides a starting place for ushering in a bigger change – a culture change – at work.
In our Master of Science in Human Resources program at Golden Gate University, we cover legal issues inherent in sexual harassment cases; additionally, we teach inclusion and ethical behavior in all our courses. Diversity issues come up naturally and often in our classes because of the growing diversity among workers in the Bay Area. We believe that how we manage people at work and the culture we support and inspire are the necessary elements of a workplace of respect for all.