Journal of the International OmbudsAssociation (JIOA)

JIOA 2021 Articles, Issue 2 | Special Issue on Sexual Harassment and Discrimination

Employing Ambivalent Sexism Theory as a Lens to Make Sense of Workplace Sexual Harassment Narratives in the Ombuds Profession
R. E. Purtell
06 Septmber 2022

Women are often subject to a variety of sexually harassing behaviors at work and may bring these experiences and related concerns to experienced ombuds professionals. Employing Ambivalent Sexism Theory (Fiske & Glick, 1995) in a mixed methods content analysis of narratives about sexual harassment cases provided by experienced ombuds professionals, the current study identified several interesting trends among the sexual harassment cases described in these narratives. Within N=10 narratives published by The Journal of The International Ombuds Association, men were sole perpetrators of sexually harassing behaviors unto women. Harassing behaviors characterized as benevolently sexist also outweighed those characterized by hostile sexism. Additionally, perpetrators of sexual harassment were not punished for benevolently sexist behaviors and were only subject to mediation between themselves and victim by a third party in cases of hostile sexist harassing behaviors. The qualitative portion of this analysis revealed problems of formally reporting sexual harassment. This paper concludes with a discussion of findings and their implications for the ombuds profession.

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From the Editor: A Historical Note on the Special Issue on Sexual Harassment and Discrimination
Shannon Lynn Burton, Editor, JIOA
16 March 2021

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Ombuds Work on Sexual Harassment Cases: The Power of Our Stories
Shereen G. Bingham, Guest Editor, Special Issue on Sexual Harassment & Discrimination
16 March 2021

As illustrated by the #MeToo movement, sexual harassment remains a significant problem in society. The ombuds is a valuable resource for addressing this concern. In this special issue of the JIOA, experienced organizational ombuds anonymously share narratives of assisting with sexual harassment cases while protecting the identities of their visitors and organizations. The stories illuminate the nature of sexual harassment situations, a range of ombuds practices, and the principles and reasoning that guide ombuds work.

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Tales From the Front Line of Ombuds Work: Handling Sexual Harassment Cases
16 March 2021

Twelve anonymous organizational ombuds tell true stories of their experiences assisting employees and students with sexual harassment concerns and reflect on their professional practices. The authors omit or alter unessential details to protect the identities and confidentiality of the people and organizations involved.

  1. A Voice Rises Against Sexism
  2. Supporting a Considered Response to Harassing Behaviour
  3. When the End Is Not the End
  4. You're Not Alone... Unless That's What You Want
  5. Caveat Mentor
  6. How Confidentiality and Integrity Ignited Ombuds Advocacy
  7. Humility Helps in Maintaining Neutrality
  8. Honoring Self-Determination Despite Moral Outrage
  9. Cultural Dynamics in a Sexual Harassment Case
  10. The Active Bystander
  11. An Informal Approach to a Title IX Case
  12. The Case That Changed Almost Everything

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Call for Papers

Attention: Ombuds and Non-Ombuds Researchers!

You are invited to submit your research to the JIOA Special Issue on Sexual Harassments and Discrimination—Part Two. Please review the call for papers for details.

Submission Deadline: Manuscripts will be reviewed for publication throughout 2021.

Review Call for Papers

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About the JIOA

The Journal of the International Ombuds Association (JIOA) is a peer-reviewed online journal for scholarly articles and information relevant to the ombudsman profession. As members of a relatively new profession, we continually strive to understand, define and clarify the role and function of the professional organizational ombudsman.

The JIOA will help foster recognition that what we do for our agencies, corporations, colleges, and universities is worthy of study. While we must vigorously protect the confidentiality of our interactions, we can still study and be studied to understand what we do and how we do it; what works well and what doesn't work; what our options are; how social, technical and legal changes may impact us; what the profile and career development of ombuds professionals might be, and other matters of interest.

The JIOA can facilitate a greater interest in ombudsing, enhance our professional standing, and serve to give us a better understanding of our dynamic roles and the impact on our institutions and agencies. The Journal also will allow IOA members, other ombudsmen, and other professionals to reach out to their colleagues with their ideas, research findings, theories, and recommendations for best practices and to engage in ongoing discussions of critical issues.

Learn more about the JIOA and the manuscript submission process.

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If you have any questions about the JIOA please contact the co-editors via email at [email protected].

  • Shannon Lynn Burton, Michigan State University
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