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Sexuality in the Workplace September 26, 2009

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Sexuality as a Diversity Factor: An Examination of Awareness

Martin B. Kormanik

George Washington University, Johns Hopkins University

Advances in Developing Human Resources, Vol. 11, No. 1, 24-36 (2009)

The problem and the solution . Lack of awareness of the facets of sexuality—sex discrimination, sexual harassment, sexual orientation, gender identity, and sexual attraction—can be stressful and distracting, has the potential for creating workplace misunderstandings and tension, and may lead to allegations of unfair treatment and/or a hostile work environment.

The purpose of this article is to examine how facets of sexuality may be viewed differently within the same workplace context, based on individual employees’ stage of awareness development around each facet.

The results of an exploratory study demonstrate that employees within the same workplace context have different stages of awareness development around the five facets of sexuality.The results also show that the awareness development around sexual orientation and gender identity is substantially different—less developed—than the awareness development for sex discrimination, sexual harassment, and sexual attraction. The discussion includes implications for practice.

Key Words: sexuality • diversity • awareness development • sex discrimination • sexual harassment • sexual orientation • gender identity

This version was published on February 1, 2009
DOI: 10.1177/1523422308329369

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