- Sexual Harassment
- Sexual Harassment/Diversity Training
- Gender & Diversity in Organizations
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Dr. Shannon L. Rawski is an Assistant Professor of Organizational Behavior in the Ivey Business School at Western University. Prior to joining the Ivey Business School, Dr. Rawski was an Assistant Professor of Management & Human Resources at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. Dr. Rawski earned her Ph.D. in Management with specializations in Organizational Behavior and Organizational Theory from the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas. She also holds an M.A. in Management from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln and a B.S. in Psychology from Bowling Green State University.
Dr. Rawski researches several topics related to gender and diversity issues in organizations. Her primary area of research is sexual harassment in organizations. Specifically, Dr. Rawski is interested in employees’ interactional framing and interpretations of social sexual behaviors at work and how those behaviors can devolve into legally actionable sexual harassment over time. Dr. Rawski also researches the effectiveness of sexual harassment and diversity training programs. In particular, she has interest in employees’ motivation to participate in and learn from these training programs and how their reactions to the training session affect training outcomes. Dr. Rawski also explores the effect of new training designs (e.g., bystander training, narrative training) and training technologies (e.g., virtual reality) on the outcomes of sexual harassment and diversity training.
Dr. Rawski has published her research in peer-reviewed academic journals such as Academy of Management Review, Journal of Organizational Behavior, the Journal of Social Issues, Human Resource Development Quarterly, and Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, among others. She also founded and co-organizes a Virtual Research Consortium of academics and practitioners interested in research on sexual harassment and social sexual behavior in the workplace.
- HBA Leading People in Organizations
- Ph.D. in Management, University of Arkansas
- M.A. in Management, University of Nebraska – Lincoln
- B.S in Psychology, Bowling Green State University
Recent Refereed Articles
Rawski, S. R.; O'Leary-Kelly, A. M.; Breaux-Soignet, D., 2022, "It’s All Fun and Games Until Someone Gets Hurt: An Interactional Framing Theory of Work Social Sexual Behavior", Academy of Management Review, October 47: 617 - 636. Abstract: The #MeToo Movement has brought increased interest and urgency to research on workplace sexual harassment (SH). Although previous SH research is rich, there remain unanswered questions about how SH is defined, how it develops, and how it can be mitigated. Further, recent research on social sexual behavior (SSB), which establishes potential workplace benefits of SSB, poses the challenge of distinguishing between positive SSB and SH. In this paper, using an interactional framing approach, we present a theory examining the interactional process that determines the meaning of work SSB as either play or SH. Our proposed model is dynamic and helical, suggesting that social participants cycle through nonlinear phases of engrossment and sensemaking as they set, sustain, limit-test, and break frames around work SSB. This model is influenced by organizational culture (e.g., masculinity contest culture, organizational tolerance for SH) and individual motivations related to goal interconnections and interdependence. This model can be applied to explain how potentially serious SSB conduct comes to be interpreted as playful, how this interpretation is sustained and expanded, and how the meaning of the conduct may come to be reinterpreted as SH. The framework includes propositions to guide future research and managerial implications to guide practice.
Link(s) to publication:
Rawski, S. R.; Foster, J. F.; Bailenson, J., 2022, "Sexual Harassment Bystander Training Effectiveness: Experimentally Comparing 2D Video to Virtual Reality Practice", Technology, Mind and Behavior, April 3(2) Abstract: Sexual harassment (hereafter, SH) is a dysfunctional workplace behavior, resulting in negative outcomes for individuals and organizations. Since #MeToo, companies have been innovating to increase the effectiveness of SH training by incorporating new content (e.g., bystander intervention skills) and new technology (e.g., virtual reality, hereafter VR). However, research has yet to determine the best practices or the effectiveness of these new innovations. The current study hypothesizes that SH bystander intervention training will be more effective when VR practice scenarios are used rather than 2D video practice scenarios. We argue that the increased presence (i.e., the perception that people and places in a virtual simulation are real) afforded by VR should better replicate bystander experiences in real SH situations, thereby allowing trainees to develop bystander skills in a more realistic practice experience than 2D video provides. We experimentally test our hypothesis in a laboratory setting (N = 100). Our results show that the VR practice condition differed from the 2D video condition by increasing trainees’ intentions to engage in indirect, non-confrontational, and widely applicable interventions (e.g., intervene by removing the target from the situation, approach the target to offer support later). However, our manipulation showed a negative effect on practice quantity (i.e., those in the VR condition explored fewer response options) and no effect on other operationalizations of training effectiveness (e.g., motivation to learn, knowledge, attitudes toward the training, intentions to directly confront the harasser, and intentions to formally report the harassment). Implications, limitations and directions for future research are discussed.
Link(s) to publication:
Rawski, S. R.; Conroy, S. A., 2020, "Beyond demographic identities and motivation to learn: The effect of organizational identification on diversity training outcomes", JOURNAL OF ORGANIZATIONAL BEHAVIOR, June 41: 461 - 478. Abstract: There is a pressing need for better explanations of diversity training effectiveness so that organizations can administer training programs that facilitate positive intergroup interactions. In this paper, we consider the unique predictive effect of organizational identification on diversity training outcomes beyond the effects of the traditional predictors of demographic-based identities and motivation to learn across two samples of employees involved in diversity-related training at their employing organizations. Organizational identification predicted unique variance in voluntary participation in diversity training, diversity training-related knowledge application, motivation to transfer diversity training, and diversity training-related organizational citizenship behavior intentions. Research and practitioner implications are discussed based on our findings.
Link(s) to publication:
Goldberg, C. B.; Rawski, S. R.; Perry, E. L., 2019, "The direct and indirect effects of organizational tolerance for sexual harassment on the effectiveness of sexual harassment investigation training for HR managers", Human Resource Development Quarterly, March 30(1): 81 - 100. Abstract: Using a pretest/post-test, survey design, we examine whether organizational tolerance for sexual harassment (OTSH) affects HR managers' knowledge and myth-based attitudes regarding sexual harassment, following training intended to improve HR managers' ability to conduct an internal investigation related to sexual harassment. We also examine the mediating role of motivation to learn in these relationships. Results indicated that OTSH has a direct effect on knowledge about internal investigations, but not on myth-based sexual harassment attitudes. Furthermore, motivation to learn partially mediates the effect of OTSH on knowledge and fully mediates the effect of OTSH on myth-based attitudes. This study represents the first empirical investigation of OTSH on sexual harassment training outcomes (e.g., knowledge and attitudes) and the first study to investigate training with a sample of HR managers, who are responsible for investigating and managing sexual harassment claims within organizations. We hope to prompt further research that considers the role of context in sexual harassment training. In addition, as the current study is the first to consider the importance of how harassment investigations are handled, we hope to stimulate additional work in this previously unresearched area.
Link(s) to publication:
Rawski, S. R.; Workman-Stark, A. L., 2018, "Masculinity Contest Cultures in Policing Organizations and Recommendations for Training Interventions", JOURNAL OF SOCIAL ISSUES, September 74(3): 607 - 627. Abstract: In the wake of the #BlackLivesMatter and #MeToo movements, police conduct has been increasingly scrutinized by the public, especially the use of excessive force, fatal shootings of unarmed civilians, and sexual harassment scandals within policing organizations. Through a review of the policing literature and data collected in a Canadian policing organization, we highlight how masculinity contest culture is related to police misconduct. All four masculinity contest culture dimensions can be observed in policing including: (1) “show no weakness,” (2) “strength and stamina,” (3) “put work first,” and (4) “dog-eat-dog.” Masculinity contest cultures lead to negative outcomes for both individual officers (e.g., harassment, discrimination, stress), policing organizations (e.g., lawsuits, turnover), and communities (e.g., officers’ use of excessive force). Training interventions are often suggested to prevent or remedy the negative effects of masculinity contest cultures in policing organizations. However, a review of the training literature suggests that training interventions are unlikely to be effective in contexts where organizational norms are at odds with the training content. Our analysis of police data, along with the literature review, conclude with a paradox—the very organizations that need training interventions the most (e.g., policing organizations that often promote and tolerate sexual harassment) are the least likely to benefit from those interventions. To address this paradox, we invoke the theory of social interactionism and reconceptualize training as an organizational sensegiving mechanism. This theoretical foundation offers new directions for future research on training in masculinity contest cultures and insights for practicing police administrators and public policy officials.
Link(s) to publication:
Luthans, F.; Youssef, C. M.; Rawski, S. R., 2011, "A Tale of Two Paradigms: The Impact of Psychological Capital and Reinforcing Feedback on Problem Solving and Innovation", JOURNAL OF ORGANIZATIONAL BEHAVIOR MANAGEMENT, October 31(4): 333 - 350. Abstract: This study drew from two distinct paradigms: the social cognitively based emerging field of positive organizational behavior or POB and the more established behaviorally based area of organizational behavior modification or OB Mod. The intent was to show that both can contribute to complex challenges facing today's organizations. Using a quasi-experimental research design (N = 1,526 working adults), in general both the recently recognized core construct of psychological capital (representing POB) and reinforcing feedback (representing OB Mod), especially when partially mediated through a mastery-oriented mindset, were positively related to problem solving performance, reported innovation, and subsequent psychological capital. The implications for theoretical understanding and practice conclude the article.
Link(s) to publication:
Cotti, C. D.; Foster, J. F.; Haley, M. R.; Rawski, S. R., , "Duluth vs. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: A Natural Field Experiment on Intimate Partner Violence Diversion Programs", Journal Of Experimental Psychology-Applied, January 26(2): 384 - 395. Abstract: We used data from a 3-year natural field experiment to study rates of recidivism in 2 types of diversion programs designed to reduce intimate partner violence (IPV) among heterosexual partners. In one program (Duluth), efforts are focused on protecting women from male aggression through a psychoeducational program, regardless of the offender’s sex. In the other program (cognitive behavioral therapy [CBT]), efforts are focused on improving intrahousehold behaviors and communication skills through counseling. Our experimental results found that the IPV recidivism rate, measured as reconvictions for IPV, was 11 percentage points higher for offenders randomly assigned to a Duluth treatment program (14 percentage points higher among males). This outcome is statistically and practically significant, suggesting that the Duluth approach corresponds to meaningfully higher recidivism rates compared with CBT. In an attempt to explain the observed difference of IPV recidivism between these programs, we discuss theories for plausible psychological, sociological, psychophysiological, and neurological mechanisms responsible for this outcome.
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Honours & Awards
- Rawski, S. L., Monzani, L., Foster, J. R., & Bailenson, J. SSHRC Insight Grant 2022 - 2026. $352,484 CAD. "Increasing Bystander Interventions during Sexual Harassment Incidents using Virtual Reality Methods."
- Assistant Professor of Organizational Behavior, Ivey Business School, Western University (2021 – Present)
- Assistant Professor of Management & Human Resources, College of Business, University of Wisconsin Oshkosh (2015 - 2021)