Citation: Ali, F. and Kramar, R. (2015). An exploratory study of sexual harassment in Pakistani organisations. Asia Pacific Journal of Management, 32(1), 229-249.
Despite prior research on the influence of national regulatory and cultural factors on sexual harassment (SH) in the workplace, few studies have examined SH, its impact on victims and redress processes in Muslim majority countries (MMCs) such as Pakistan. This study uses neo-institutional theory to develop a more comprehensive framework to explore SH experienced by women in the workplace in Pakistan. Qualitative methodology is adopted to examine employees’ and managers’ perceptions of SH. Drawing on interviews with working women and human resource managers in six Pakistani organizations, this study demonstrates that even when there are formal policies designed to prevent SH, cultural factors influence policy implementation. It reveals that there is a tension between traditional culture and behavior consistent with SH policies in the workplace. This study identifies three major factors which influence SH redressal; these are socio-cultural factors (e.g., female modesty), institutional factors (e.g., inappropriate redress procedures), and managerial expertise/bias.