Sexual Harassment and Men's Empathic Accuracy Thesis

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SEXUAL HARASSMENT & MEN'S EMPATHIC ACCURACY in SEXUAL HARRASSMENT

DEFINITION of 'EMPATHIC ACCURACY'

Farrow and Woodruff (2007) state that 'empathic inference' is the 'everyday mind reading' that people do whenever they attempt to infer other people's thoughts and feelings." 'Empathic accuracy' according to Farrow and Woodruff is "...the extent to which such everyday mind reading attempts are successful." (2007) the work of Hans Werner Bierhoff entitled: "Prosocial Behavior" states from "the cognitive definition of empathy, inferences concerning the thoughts, feelings and intentions of other are of central importance." (2004) Farrow and Woodruff state that 'empathic accuracy' is "...a quintessential aspect of emotional intelligence. The ability to accurately 'read' other people's thoughts and feelings is a fundamental skill that affects people's social adjustment in many different domains of their lives." (2007) Stated additionally is that 'empathic accuracy is a subara of interpersonal perception research - a field of study that has a long tradition in psychology." (Farrow and Woodruff, 2007)

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Thesis on Sexual Harassment and Men's Empathic Accuracy in Sexual Harassment Assignment

The work of Galinsky, Magee, Inesi, and Gruenfeld (nd) states: "The powerful are often accused of being predominantly concerned with their own desires and well-being, of being insensitive to the social implications of their behavior, of being poor perspective-takers (Fiske, 1993; Keltner, Gruenfeld, & Anderson, 2003; Kipnis, 1972). Indeed, perspective-taking - the capability to step outside of one's own experience and imagine the emotions, perceptions, and motivations of another - seems the antithesis of the self-interested behavior often displayed by the powerful: it has been linked to moral reasoning (Kohlberg, 1976), altruistic behavior (Batson, 1991), and social competence (Davis, 1983)." (Galinsky, Magee, Inesi, and Gruenfeld, nd) a procedure for measuring empathic accuracy was developed by Ickes and his co-workers. Bierhoff (2004) states that the index of empathic accuracy is based on the degree of correspondence between assumed and true thoughts and feelings of another person." (Bierhoff, 2004) Also stated is that the measurement of empathic accuracy "is highly flexible because it may be applied to many dyadic relationships. It combines the elements of subjectivity and objectivity." (Bierhoff, 2004) Bierhoff states that gender differences in empathic accuracy were small in nature. The work of Fiske (1993) states that there are various reasons why "...power may diminish perspective-taking. First, those in power - by definition - have control over valuable resources and are therefore less dependent on others. Thus, to accomplish their goals the powerful do not need to rely on an accurate, comprehensive understanding of others. Second, power is typically associated with increased demands on attention, making it difficult to take the perspective of everyone under the power-holder's charge." (in: Galinsky, Magee, Inesi, and Gruenfeld, nd)

III. TESTING for 'EMPATHIC ACCURACY'

Stated as an option for measuring empathic accuracy is standardization of the information concerning a target individual then present this to the observer to test his/her ability "...to infer the content of the feelings and thoughts of the target person. Such a computer-based test was developed by Neuf (1997)." (Bierhoff, 2004) This is a two phase test stated as follows:

1) Learning phase - observer informed about 10 life areas of the target person by a description of his/her strengths/weaknesses; and 2) Test phase - 40 topic presented that the observer might discuss with the target person. The topics are directly (reproduction) or indirectly (abstraction) related to the areas that were mentioned in the learning phase. The task of the observer is to predict the most likely emotional response of the target person to the topic as either pleasant or unpleasant." (Bierhoff, 2004) Correct answers are "defined on the basis of information that was presented in the learning phase." (Bierhoff, 2004)

The work of Pickett, Gardner, and Knowles entitled: "Getting a Cue: The Need to Belong and Enhanced Sensitivity to Social Cues" states that in order for human beings to establish and then maintain social relationships those individuals "...need to be sensitive to the thoughts and feelings of others." Pickett, Gardner, and Knowles (2003) stated that they predicted "...that individuals who are especially concerned with social connectedness -- individuals high in the need to belong -- would be particularly attentive to and accurate in decoding social cues." (Pickett, Gardner, and Knowles, 2003) Findings of the study report as follows:

In Study 1, individual differences in the need to belong were found to be positively related to accuracy in identifying vocal tone and facial emotion;

Study 2 examined attention to vocal tone and accuracy in a more complex social sensitivity task (an empathic accuracy task). Replicating the results of Study 1, need to belong scores predicted both attention to vocal tone and empathic accuracy.

Study 3 provided evidence that the enhanced performance shown by those high in the need to belong is specific to social perception skills rather than to cognitive problem solving more generally. (Pickett, Gardner, and Knowles, 2003)

IV. LINK of EMPATHIC ACCURACY to SEXUAL HARASSMENT ISSUES

Empathic accuracy is an element that could be asserted as missing among men who commit sexual harassment in that these individuals do not accurately take cues from others during their interactions with those others and most specifically when the others are of the opposite gender. Therefore, policies, procedures, training and investigation of discrimination complaints are addressed in the following section.

V. POLICY, PROCEDURE, TRAINING and INVESTIGATION

1. First Step in Process

The first step in addressing sexual harassment in the workplace is to develop a good working definition of precisely what constitutes sexual harassment. The definition utilized at Columbia University is as follows:

Discrimination may occur by: (1) treating members of a protected class less favorably because of their membership in that class. The protected groups are based upon race, color, religion, sex, age, national or ethnic origin, citizenship, disability, sexual orientation, marital status, status as a Vietnam era or disabled veteran, the actual or perceived status of an individual as a victim of domestic violence; or (2) having a policy or practice that has a disproportionately adverse impact on protected class members.

2. Second Step in Process

The second step is to identify the individuals in the organization that hold the responsibility for ensure that the workplace is free of discrimination and sexual harassment and to train these individuals in providing advice and support to those who have been victims of sexual harassment.

3. Third Step in Process

The next step is to identify the processes and procedures used when someone in the organization alleges sexual harassment against another individual in the organization. Therefore, it generally would be the domain of Human Resources to take the complaint of sexual misconduct. A standardized form should be used in the recording of this complaint so as to assure that all necessary and required information is taken at the time of the complaint.

4. Fourth Step in Process

The next step in this process is for a preliminary review to be conducted and this review will involve the Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action. Options which exist include the choice between 'mediation' and 'investigation' for the person who has been sexually harassed. It is suggested that fifteen (15) working days following the complaint having been filed or following mediation attempts that have failed that someone in the organization should be appointed to "hear the case."

6. Procedures Identified

The investigator who hears the case will be responsible for notification of the "accused individual's supervisor about the complaint." (Columbia University, nd) the supervisor may or may not choose to place the accused individual on leave and this will be done only for the purpose of avoiding a conflict pending the investigation outcome. The accused individual who chooses to participate in the investigation should be required to submit a written response to the complaint within seven working days of the receipt of the complaint. A copy of the written response should be provided to the individual who filed the complaint. The investigative process should begin no later than ten days after appointment of the investigator. Reviewed will be personnel records and other relevant documents. A hearing should be set following the investigator's review in which questions may be asked of witnesses and cross-examination may be conducted. The investigator should complete the investigation and submit a decision to the head of Human Resources within forty-five days from the date the compliant was filed. If the individual is found to be guilty of sexual harassment, the investigator will make a recommendation. If the investigator "finds that there has been discrimination, harassment, or retaliation, the investigator must forward the determination and disciplinary recommendations to the complainant, the accused, and the supervisor of the accused." (Columbia University, nd) the individual who has been accused has fifteen (15) working days to file an appeal in writing. The individual who is appointed as the 'Appeal Officer' "...may conduct such proceedings as he or she deems appropriate, but will not normally hear the testimony of witnesses. The role of the Appeal Officer is to determine if the investigation and/or hearing had been conducted in a fair manner, if the determination is… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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