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2019 International Association for Conflict Management Conference

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Connecting functional definitions of workplace harassment to enacted conflict expression: An analysis of online commentary regarding workplace harassment conflict

Keywords: Communication, conflict, harassment, thematic analysis

Abstract: This study aimed to examine online commentary about enacted workplace harassment conflict to determine the applicability of existing, functional definitions of workplace harassment in this new context. Online comments (N=721) were analyzed through an inductive thematic analysis to identify trends in women’s commentary about harassment in the workplace. The analysis developed nine themes of content evident in women’s discourse about workplace harassment as well as characteristics of each content theme. In combination with a review of previously established descriptions and definitions of workplace harassment from organizational and official sources in the United States, the study confirms that current, functional definitions of harassment closely relate to how women describe workplace harassment conflict in this new, mediated context. This confirmation provides a necessary bridge between functional definitions and women’s experiences of workplace harassment. Additionally, this study provides a more grounded understanding of workplace harassment that assists in developing a foundation for problem-solving.

Jillian Yarbrough, West Texas A&M University

Alison Berry, West Texas A&M University


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