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Morality Framing and Sexual Harassment Training Effectiveness
ix, 46 pages : illustrations
Sexual harassment has been shown to lead to detrimental effects for victims, bystanders, and organizations. Only a handful of studies have focused on the effectiveness of sexual harassment training, and some training programs have actually been found to have negative effects, such as decreasing identification of coercive sexual harassment, decreasing willingness to report sexual harassment, and increasing blame for the victim. A possible explanation for this is that sexual harassment training is often conducted for legal purposes and therefore discusses monetary fines, jail time, job termination, etc. that can occur if convicted of sexual harassment. Research has shown that the way in which a situation is framed influences how people make decisions on how to act on it. Regulatory focus theory describes how a person is oriented to achieve a goal by either seeking pleasure (promotion focused) or avoiding pain (prevention focused), which can be influenced both dispositionally and situationally. Past studies have applied regulatory focus theory to diversity training by examining the difference between moral ideals and moral obligations. Moral ideals focused on the promotion of positive outcomes such as equal treatment, while moral obligations focused on preventing negative outcomes such as avoiding discrimination. Therefore, while moral ideals and moral obligations present the same core message, the technique used to deliver the message is different. The goal of this study is to apply regulatory focus theory to sexual harassment training and examine if there are any differences in the effectiveness of sexual harassment training that is either focused on moral ideals or moral obligations. It is anticipated that regulatory focus theory applied to sexual harassment training can lead to increased training effectiveness, as measured by Kirkpatrick's training outcomes of reactions and learning. One-hundred and twenty seven participants were recruited through the undergraduate psychology student participant pool system at a large, public university in the southwest. A Solomon-four group design was utilized to better examine pre-testing effects. Therefore, half of the participants for each condition were randomly assigned to take an online pretest and half were not. Half of the participants were randomly assigned to view the sexual harassment training video that is focused on moral ideals and half of the participants were randomly assigned to view the sexual harassment training video that is focused on moral obligations. While information in both conditions were equivalent in length, words were altered on the slides to induce either a moral ideals perspective that focused on positive outcomes or a moral obligations perspective that focused on negative outcomes. ANOVA, ANCOVA, t-tests, and Stouffer's z-method analyses were utilized. It was found that moral ideals had significant and positive affective learning outcomes in the form of sexual harassment myth endorsement, but all other variables were either not significant or positively significant for moral obligations. It is recommended that future studies pursue this topic further to better understand the theoretical underpinnings of sexual harassment training effectiveness and the influences of negative outcomes.
Includes bibliographical references (pages 34-39).
Psychology with a concentration in Applied Psychology
Master of Science (M.S.) San Diego State University, 2013
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