Does Power Distance Influence Perceptions of Sexual Harassment at Work? An Experimental Investigation

  • Vipanchi MishraEmail author
  • Erica Stair
Research in Progress


The influence of cultural values on perceptions of sexual harassment has often been examined by making comparisons across cultures. As the workplace becomes increasingly diverse, it becomes more important to investigate the effects of individual-level cultural values on workplace behaviors. In the present study, we investigated the influence of differences in power distance value orientation on perceptions of sexual harassment. Participants were primed with a high versus low power distance mindset using priming procedures (Brockner et al. in J Exp Soc Psychol 37:300–315, 2001) and then presented with sexual harassment scenarios (representing either hostile work environment or quid pro quo situations). Participant ratings of perceived severity of sexual harassment within the scenarios were obtained. Findings suggest that individuals primed with high power distance were more tolerant of sexual harassment and perceived these behaviors as less severe, as compared to those who were primed with low power distance. Implications for research and development of future sexual harassment training programs are discussed.


Sexual harassment perceptions Power distance Cultural values Priming 



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Copyright information

© National Academy of Psychology (NAOP) India 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.West Chester University of PennsylvaniaWest ChesterUSA
  2. 2.West Chester University of PennsylvaniaWest ChesterUSA

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