Sexual Harassment Part 3. What IS being done? The Final Part in the Series by Intercultural Mediator – Susanne Schuler

What IS being done?

In Part 1 we looked at the cultural origins of harassment. In Part 2 we expanded on what actually happens. Now, in this concluding piece, we highlight what actions are needed to diminish the occurrence of sexual harassment in the workplace.

Let’s train everybody to be aware…

As a broad corporate response to the emerging crisis (Pandora’s box is now open), a wave of group Sexual Harassment Awareness Training Courses are being spashed over executives. And it is all coming in a rush. Centred on behavioural awareness and compliance (no, the other compliance) they have a very specific tone. Often with stern warnings and containing horrible scenarios, the message is one of shame and blame directed at the vile nature of some male behaviour.

Businessman portrait

But, this rapidly deployed and reactive intervention could prove to be counter-productive.

According to some research, there is a downside to this style of teaching approach. Short, high-pressure, punitive harassment awareness courses, that focus on blame and promise punishment, may actually be delaying the desired change in male behaviour in the workplace. A side effect of the powerful content contained in these courses is construed as a general accusation making all men automatically wrong and covering all male executives with a blanket of condemnation. This, in turn, can contribute negatively to the goal, hindering some men to acknowledge the potential for danger. The confrontational nature of the material shifts them from free dialogue into a defensive and avoidant position, where some begin to justify their actions or chose instead to hide in deep denial.

When a corporate sheep-dip course is rolled out rapidly as a reactive tactic by male management, probably in response to a sexual harassment incident within the company, possibly involving one of their own, an instant cure is not always forthcoming.

Unwanted side effects include seeing men taking refuge in polarity, the strengthening of male in-groups for mutual protection and a general disengagement from the subject, and, thus making resolution less likely to occur. When this approach is taken, especially in competitive and sales driven organisations, where the male hero stereotype has been promoted for years as the company ideal, the company finds that their promoted culture of, “hunt like a predator” cannot be switched off so easily or so quickly.

Maybe you can’t sheep dip a wolf.

So, compliance courses, rushed out to all employees in order to kill off the incidence of sexual harassment in the workplace are not proving a panacea.

Maybe we need to go deeper in our study of the abuse of power by men and look to see how women get caught up in this dynamic.

For women, the current rebalancing of #metoo and #timesup is creating a safe space, beyond shame and silence, for those at the receiving end of abuse, sexual harassment and discrimination. This movement has peer support, allowing the sharing of stories with less judgement and is, at last, letting light shine in upon decades of secrecy, silence and fearful darkness.

It has taken action by women for women bypassing the boardroom, to get proportionate airtime, begin the debate and change the ground rules for both men and women in the workplace.

What now?

Will the repeated and amplified myth of man as a dominant, experienced, decisive, macho, courageous and an all-conquering hero, morph into something safer, more savoury and more appropriate for today’s business world?

Or, will the bastions of male power lash out, take revenge and reclaim their territory?

If the #metoo door is shut again, we can expect a panoply of abuse, a continuance of harassment in the absence of consequences for men and justice for women wronged at work, and, a strengthening of the ultra-male script – look out with dread for the return of the ravishing Viking.

Or, a better Hollywood script… Imagine the scene – On a wild and windy beach… there gather a critical mass of modern office workers, reborn and newly conscious – a promising new generation of aware workers committed to the creation of a healthier work dynamic that shows up in meritocratic reward whilst allowing for transparent flirting, healthy romance and witty in-group humour, and, killing off the exchange of job advantage for sexual favours.

And, when the #metoo wave peaks, then it will be time to advocate for a code of conduct that covers team buddy banter, in-house flirting, work romance and prescribes a moratorium on sexual trading, physical threat and the abuse of power in the work place.

Questions – Will we see a revoking of the free wheeling sex pest’s power pass in the workplace and the rise of self-policing and self-editing male work colleagues who are fluent in the modern work languages of respect, restraint and reasonable behaviour in the workplace?

Or, will the wave pass and the doors be locked again for another 20 years?

Only time will tell.

The new paradigm could be liberating for everybody.

About the Author – Susanne Schuler is an Intercultural Mediator at CEDR, The Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution in London.

Catch up on the Series so far…

Part 2 What Do We See?

https://culture99.wordpress.com/2018/04/21/sexual-harassment-what-do-we-see/

 

Part 1 Where did it come from?

https://culture99.wordpress.com/2018/03/18/sexual-harassment-where-did-that-come-from-an-opinion-piece-by-susanne-schuler-part-1/

 

Advertisements

Research into how language and culture affect how multinational teams work –

Request for input by PhD Candidate Luisa Weinzierl

Luisa Weinzierl

I am researching for my doctorate at the Department of Management and Social Sciences, St. Mary’s University, London. I want to interview people who regularly work in multinational teams, where the language of discussion is not the mother tongue of several participants.

Here are some examples of what people in this situation say:

“People dismiss what I say at meetings because my spoken English is so slow and my accent is not very good. I often feel ignored so I give up – I stop going to meetings and just speak with my native Japanese colleagues. (Non-native English speaker at an American company)”

“Sometimes the English native speakers just ignore us. They forget that we are trying to speak their language. They become impatient with us when we are searching for words or go back to our native language – just to say what we need to say. Last week, our manager just left the meeting and told us to get a translator!” (Native Urdu speaker at an English company)

See Luisa’s YouTube Video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rl42meuJcEc&feature=youtu.be

With advances in technology and the increasing pace of globalization, multinationals rely increasingly the collaboration of teams around the world. These teams may operate virtually, across time zones and may be required to use a common language. But how good is the communication?

Research has uncovered serious negative emotions fueled by language barriers. Depending on language competence, team members can feel insecure and embarrassed when communicating with colleagues. A feeling of exclusion and even communication avoidance may lead to disruption in the team and loss of trust between native and non-native speakers. Usually, bridging the language gap falls to the team leader.

If you are a leader of one or more such teams, or a member of one or more teams where the meeting language is not your native language, or where the meeting language is your native language but there are several non-native speakers of your language, please take part in my study.

If you take part in this study, you will be interviewed for about half an hour, face to face or by Skype or a similar channel. If you take part in my study, you will receive a copy of my research report. To take part in this study, please contact me on:

Mobile: +44 7887 984874

Email: 176092@live.stmarys.ac.uk

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Luisa Weinzierl

Sexual Harassment Part 2 by Intercultural Mediator Susanne Schuler– What do we see?

At what level does sexual harassment begin, and – How far does it go?

A second opinion piece by Intercultural Mediator, Susanne Schuler

(Reminder: Part 1 was about Where did it come from? – Hierarchical power and vulnerability plus the Gender neutrality-equality v Beauty primium dilemma and the impact of bias.)

There are several versions of the sexual harassment escalation scale. This is perhaps an indictment of the enormity of the abuse that is occurring. Let us look at an aggregated ladder of possible encounters;

Homme charmeur

*Looking – intensely or leering

*Language – sexualized conversations in the workplace, one-to-one or male group vulgarity around or toward lone females

*Suggestion – crossing the flirting line with explicit requests, described activities or observations and judgments

*Physical moves – contact & proximity, escalating to physical intimidation and cornering

*Trade / exchange – in-work offers of favourable treatment in return for forms of sexual compliance or issuing a threat of negative consequences if compliance is not forthcoming

*Forced choice – aggravated demands for sexual engagement

*Forced sexual moves – forced physical violation

*Violence – the use of extreme non-consensual physical force upon women

It is a depressing list.

Q. Why can’t we all just get on with our work in the office?

A. The same social and educational forces that have shaped women’s roles and behaviours, make us vulnerable to exploitation. These forces have also conditioned a part of the male working population to believe that successfully taking advantage of a female work colleague is, somehow, a badge of honour, a rite of passage or, simply, a perk of the job.

E.g. The complex reality on the ground – an example – A job panel may unconsciously or consciously discriminate against a working mother’s application when hiring for the role of a travelling sales person. The panel members may project their own feelings and prejudice onto the selection process accordingly.

Their fixed image of a good mother include that she should not being sexually available, staying at home with her children and fear that she may be exposed to the negative encounters that accompany holding down a job travelling around the UK.

What has just happened?

Arising from a collective and projected male knowledge of the threat of harassment, they pre-emptively exclude her from consideration, knowing of the harassment that can come with a woman eating alone in restaurants, staying at service station hotels and meeting customers in their offices as well as socialising with them as part of relationship building.

They are projecting dangers arising from their own fear, shared knowledge and experience. With the best of intentions (the most dangerous phrase in the English language), they are reluctant to expose a female worker, wishing to undertake a travelling role, to the abuse and harassment that they know / fear she will inevitably encounter.

Debrief

We can see in this real scenario, the two sides of the gender dilemma coming into play – First gender neutrality, the female candidate may be the best applicant for the role, and, if put through the gender blind process we saw with the US orchestra, she would indeed get the job based on merit. In this version, if she has applied for the role, her life choices would not be questioned and her treatment would be even-handed regarding gender.

Secondly, the female attributes as currency perspective becomes awkward, twice. Firstly, does her beauty play a part in driving up her commercial selling potential, making her a more successful closer and so a strong candidate for this targets-based role?

And,

Sticking with this path, will her attributes expose her to better working conditions – special treatment, lower barriers etc. or, worse ones in the professional space? And, in the public arena? The panel anticipate pestering in public places, customer assumptions about her values and mores etc., leading to an increased chance of sexual harassment occurring in the execution of her job and the pursuit of her career? The feminine attribute of motherhood is considered in a vacuum, and, the fact that her partner may be an excellent stay-at-home carer is not factored in. The net total of all these concerns count against her as the panel consider her application.

As we can see – life is complicated. We have bias, diversity and inclusion guidelines, pragmatism and a skewed view, both positive and negative, as we stack up all the elements of bias coming into play.

E.g. The abuse of power – Let us consider a second example. The Harvey Weinstein story combines the feminine attributes as currency model with an extreme power dynamic to produce perfect storm conditions, all leading to a repeated pattern of abuse. The scenarios, outlined by vast swathes of women, have a number of common elements. We hear the repeated theme of motivated young women being lured into the wrong place, with the wrong man at the wrong time, at the beginning of their careers. They had little or nothing by way of clout, a supportive network around them or equity to fall back on. Now, add in wild promises designed to resonate with the driven ambitions of these young actors – just one last hurdle to jump lies between the impoverished ingénue and an irresistible film role and the opportunity for fame, fortune and success. Thus, the scene is set for a two-stage trading decision to be made. The first comes with the casting-couch – trading sexual compliance for career advantage, inclusion and a chance to make substantial progress as an actor. And, depending on the outcome of the first trade, a second horrific escalated choice, sexual compliance for survival and the chance to leave that hotel room… at all.

This complex topic is trending at the moment. What will come out of this heightened level of awareness and attention both for men, for whom it was a deeply buried dirty secret, and, for women who have the chance to share their stories, stake their claim and design a better workplace for everybody?

End of Part 2.

Next Time – Part 3 – What is being done? And, What can be done?

Part 1: Where did it come from?

Part 3: What is being done? and What can be done?

About the author, Susanne Schuler is an Intercultural Mediator working at the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution in London. She has written the book Intercultural Mediation  At Work, published by Bookboon. To buy the book click on the link;

https://bookboon.com/en/intercultural-mediation-at-work-ebook

Internship Opportunity – 3-month Full time CEDR Foundation internship to work on research projects on Diversity & Inclusion and consumer understanding of Fairness

CEDR – The Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution Role.

SIETAR UK Friend CEDR – The Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution is looking for a full-term intern for a Diversity and Inclusion Research project for 3 months in the period from mid-May to August 2018 and will pay up to £4,500 for five days a week of work.

The projects are the intern will be working on are:

  • A project looking at understanding the barriers to Diversity & Inclusion within the UK mediator profession (3 days per week);
  • A project looking at understanding how consumers perceive fairness and acceptance of decisions within alternative dispute resolution (2 days per week).

Who are CEDR?

Cedr Logo

The Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (CEDR) is an independent, non-profit organisation with a mission to cut the cost of conflict and create choice and capability in dispute prevention and resolution.

For over 25 years, CEDR have set the standard for dispute resolution and conflict management with our leading mediation, consultancy and training services:

CEDR Skills offers leading expertise in consultancy, training, and coaching to enhance skills and capability in negotiation and conflict management, including the leading internationally recognised Mediator Skills Training and Accreditation programme.

CEDR Dispute Resolution Services – Commercial, the largest independent alternative dispute resolution body in Europe.

CEDR Dispute Resolution Services – Consumer, provides adjudication for many thousands of consumer complaints each year.

Our Foundation undertakes innovation and research in the area of conflict, as part of our not-for-profit work.

CEDR employs around 60 people, and we also work with well over 100 self-employed mediators, trainers and consultants on a regular basis.

The Role

The intern will be working closely with the Diversity and Inclusion project team. The primary function of the intern will be to focus on a literature review of Diversity and Inclusion research within the legal and alternative dispute resolution fields with the aim of providing a report to inform the next stage of the project. This role includes a variety of tasks and duties including:

Data Analysis


*Desktop research

*Review of literature

*Review of other data sources, such as surveys etc.

Content Creation
 Producing of regular summaries of the research outcomes
Creation of a report on the research outcomes

Experience and skills required;

Interest in pursuing diversity with ideally previous experience in researching this area (eg. university dissertation/essay in area; or work report)

*Interest in in pursuing diversity with ideally previous experience in researching this area (e.g. university dissertation/essay in area; or work report)

*Strong expertise and skills in research methodology and report writing, including excellent use of English

*Impeccable organisational skills, including the ability to plan ahead and anticipate potential problems

*Ability to prioritise and adhere to deadlines and work under pressure

*IT literacy (Windows XP/Microsoft Office/database/E-mail)

*High level of accuracy and attention to detail

*Good communication skills and able to engage with different stakeholders on the project

Personal requirements

The successful candidate will be professional in attitude and appearance with excellent interpersonal skills. They must maintain strict confidentiality in performing their role since a large proportion of data is highly sensitive. It is also essential that they have the following:

*Capable of working using own initiative with minimal supervision, but also able to be an effective part of the team

*Flexible attitude to a workload that might change and develop

*Good time management

*Proactive approach to work

CEDR is an equal opportunities employer and encourages applications from all sections of society

Duration

Start: early May (as soon as possible)

Research phase completed by Mid August

Full time role.

For full details and instructions on how to apply click on the link;

https://www.cedr.com/docslib/CEDR_Foundation_internship_-_May-August_2018_.pdf

 

Book Review – The Reentry Relaunch Roadmap. Author – Cate Brubaker

Review written by Interculturalist, Julie L. Parenteau

C.S. Lewis once stated that “There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.” I can’t think of a more positive way to start a book on re-entering your native culture after being gone for an extended period of time.

Home, however you might define it, is never the same. Many people struggle with going back, longing for what they had abroad, but Lewis’s words remind us that looking ahead is far better than dwelling on the past.

ReEntry-Relaunch-Roadmap-V1-Cover-01

 

 

To read the whole review – go to; http://smallplanetstudio.com/three-awesome-strategies-supporting-study-abroad-students-re-entry/

Reviewer Profile – Julie Parenteau is an interculturalist teaching and training expatriates and local employees to thrive culturally and linguistically in Puerto Rico,

Julie Parenteau

With more than a decade of experience spanning intercultural training and education, teaching English and Spanish, and helping dozens of expatriates adjust to living in Puerto Rico, Dr. Parenteau knows what it takes to build communication bridges between cultures and engage students and faculty in critical discourse surrounding social justice and diversity and inclusion issues. As Director of Global Perceptions, Dr. Parenteau is committed to designing curriculum and training programs that foster cultural awareness and global citizenship in Puerto Rico and beyond. When she is not hard at work, you can find her working in her garden, playing with her rescue dogs or doing some beachfront reading. Connect with her via Twitter @relocationpr or @drjparenteau.

5 Ways To Get A Speaking Engagement And, 1 Way NOT To.

5 Methods for More Gigs and More Work One of the best converters of your sweat into paid work is by giving speeches to a warm, cosy and qualified room of decision making, budget holding corporate executives fascinated by your … Continue reading

Trainer Resources – 6 Ice Breaker Exercises for Intercultural Trainers

Here are 6 high energy ice breaker training exercises that will work well for intercultural facilitators wishing to get a group to interact together, explore their communication styles and to promote the process of self-refection.

They are mostly light on equipment and quick to set up (the last one requires a little more effort the first time you prepare it.)

Please feel free to try them out and tell us how you get on…

  1. Helium Stickhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RXI-C4jQXVk

Thanks to The Works Manager for making and showing the film.

Equipment – A tent pole or flip chart sheet rolled up diagonally for maximum length.

Ice Breaker Training Exercises

Ice Breaker Training Exercises

  1. The Ball Game https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rva3wRvpS_4

Thanks to Rhema Resource Centre for filming and showing the film.

Equipment – Juggling balls, Stopwatch.

  1. Potato Icebreakerhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PrWVqLzNywA

Thanks to Anna Sabramowicz for the demonstration and talking us through the debrief.

Equipment – Potatoes and strong drinking straws.

Originator; Ken Bellemare ‪http://www.kenbellemare.com/

  1. Blindfold Team Pen https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eajjqotwsF4

Equipment – Blindfolds, Marker Pen, Duct Tape

Sample instruction – Draw “Unity + a Smiley”

  1. The Coin Gamehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PaUzvtleCSU

Thanks to Rob Jackson at Magnovo for the talk through.

Equipment – Handful of coins handed out – one to each participant.

  1. Human Bingo / Diversity Bingo / Get to know you Bingo

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uw41k-a77FQ

Thanks to Paul Holdsworth – English for Asia for making and showing the film.

Equipment – 1 A4 sheet per participant with 4 X 4 box table containing questions.

Debrief – Here the facilitator can illicit observations, thoughts and feelings from the participants.

Fun – Who enjoyed the exercise? What was enjoyable? What appealed to you most? Were there any surprises? Who did NOT enjoy it? What were the negative aspects of this game for you?

Process – What was this exercise about? What do you think the inventor was trying to achieve? How did you do it? What was the biggest obstacle? How did you overcome the biggest obstacle? What helped you to succeed? What released the energy for you.

Motivation – What did you feel at the beginning? What was the low point of the exercise for you? Do you feel you have achieved something? Would you like to do this again? Do you know anyone who would like to do this exercise? And Why?

Reflection – People approach this task in different ways – Why do you think you did it the way that you did it? Did other participants do it a different way? Why did they do it that way? What part did diversity / culture play in your different approaches?

We wish you well in trying out these icebreakers. Good luck and do feel free to share your results and stories.