Abstract

Whether an individual perceives an appearance compliment in the workplace as sexual harassment may depend on a number of factors such as the gender and/or status of the complimenter. Three hundred eighty-three (130 males, 253 females) participants completed an online survey in which they read and rated six different hypothetical vignettes imagining themselves as the recipient of an appearance compliment from a male superior, subordinate, and peer, as well as a female in each of those three status positions. Participants also filled out the Big Five Inventory (BFI; see John, Naumann, & Soto, 2008) in order to assess how personality may influence harassment perceptions. Females perceived opposite-sex appearance compliments as more harassing than males did (p < .001, d = 1.33), and males perceived same-sex compliments as more harassing than females did (p < .001, d = 0.85). Appearance compliments from those in the three status positions were also perceived differently (p < .001, np2 = .29) with compliments from superiors perceived as more harassing than from peers (p < .001) and subordinates (p < .001), and subordinates perceived as more harassing than peers (p < .001). Three of the Big Five personality factors (Conscientiousness, b = 9.93, p < .001; Neuroticism, b = 9.46, p < .001; and Openness, b = -5.04, p = .04) were predictive of harassment perceptions (R2 = .087, p < .001). Based on these findings, it is recommended that males and those in superior status positions avoid giving appearance compliments in the workplace.

Degree

PhD

College and Department

Family, Home, and Social Sciences; Psychology

Rights

http://lib.byu.edu/about/copyright/

Date Submitted

2013-12-01

Document Type

Dissertation

Handle

http://hdl.lib.byu.edu/1877/etd6572

Keywords

compliments, sexual harassment, gender, status, personality

Included in

Psychology Commons

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