Everyone’s ‘uncomfortable’ but only some people report: privacy management, threshold levels, and reporting decisions stemming from coworker online sexual harassment

Jennifer A. Scarduzio, Shawna Malvini Redden, Jennifer Fletcher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

Online sexual harassment is important for scholars to consider because employees who are harassed by coworkers online can experience distinct consequences that may differ from face-to-face sexual harassment. Through a qualitative analysis of more than 200 survey responses, this study examines why employees who are harassed by a coworker on social media report their experiences or not. We use the lens of communication privacy management theory to argue that people report due to interpersonal awkwardness, personal discomfort, and factors influence them to link supervisors as co-owners. Participants who reported disclosed to protect others from harassment, because they felt fed up, and because they perceived they would receive effective social support. Participants who did not report wanted to preserve personal relationships at work, downplayed the severity, and also framed social media as a private space. Theoretical implications suggest that discernible differences in reporting correspond to personal thresholds for tolerating harassment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)66-85
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Applied Communication Research
Volume49
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 National Communication Association.

Keywords

  • Facebook
  • Online sexual harassment
  • communication privacy management
  • personal threshold levels
  • sexual harassment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Language and Linguistics

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