IMR Press / JOMH / Volume 18 / Issue 8 / DOI: 10.31083/j.jomh1808173
Open Access Original Research
Sexual Harassment to Male Hotel Employees: An Assessment of its Negative Consequences
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1 College of Hospitality and Tourism Management, Sejong University, 05006 Seoul, Republic of Korea
2 Department of Tourism Management, Kyonggi University, 03746 Seoul, Republic of Korea
3 Division of Tourism and Hotel Management, Cheongju University, 28503 Cheongju-si, Chungcheongbuk-do, Republic of Korea
4 Department of Tourism Management, Jinzhong University, 030619 Jinzhong, Shanxi, China
5 Department of Food Science and Nutrition, Dong-A University, 49315 Busan, Republic of Korea
*Correspondence: (Gong Yue); (Eunju Yoon)
J. Mens. Health 2022, 18(8), 173;
Submitted: 14 March 2022 | Revised: 7 April 2022 | Accepted: 12 April 2022 | Published: 10 August 2022
Copyright: © 2022 The Author(s). Published by IMR Press.
This is an open access article under the CC BY 4.0 license.

Background: Sexual harassment in the workplace is an important issue that leaders should always be striving to address, but the public’s focus has always been on harassment by male perpetrators against women. Sexual harassment experienced by male employees has been easily overlooked by the public. Therefore, this study aimed to verify the effects of sexual harassment perceived by male hotel employees and its effects on their individual mental, emotional, and work outcomes. Methods: In this study, a qualitative survey was administered to male hotel employees over 20 years old regarding their experiences with sexual harassment. The reliability and validity of variables were verified through regression, and confirmatory factor analyses on the derived attributes and variables verified in previous studies. Results: The male hotel staff in this study reported negative effects of verbal, physical, visual, and psychological sexual harassment on their self-rated mental health (SRMH), whereas high SRMH positively affected the organization by increasing organizational citizenship behavior and self-efficacy and lowering turnover intention. The negative emotional experience of sexual harassment at work increased emotional violation, decreased organizational citizenship behavior and self-efficacy, and increased turnover intention. Conclusions: The seriousness of sexual harassment against men in the workplace has easily been overlooked, however, the findings here confirm that it is a severe crime for both male and female victims and has serious adverse effects on both individuals and workplaces. Consequently, hotel owners, leaders, managers, and other stakeholders are urged to acknowledge rather than overlook male sexual harassment in the workplace and take appropriate measures to eliminate such emotional boundary violations as harassment.

sexual harassment
self-rated mental health
emotional boundary violation
organization citizenship behavior
turnover intention
1. Introduction

Sexual harassment comprises a heterogeneous set of behaviors that involve subjecting people to unwanted sexual remarks, sexual suggestions or requests, nonverbal sexual gestures, sexual behavior, and assault [1, 2], and it has been gaining attention in recent years. The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission reported receiving 26,978 claims of workplace harassment in 2017, of which a little more than half (12,428) were about sex-based harassment, and this figure is increasing [3]. Sexual harassment has been a particularly significant problem in the hotel industry. Nordic unions conducted a survey and found that approximately 35% of all workers in hotel and restaurant sectors had experienced sexual harassment [4]. However, clear statistics are difficult to acquire even though hotel employees are subject to more sexual harassment than other general employees because of advances from guests and coworkers [5, 6, 7, 8]. Sexual harassment happens to people regardless of ability, appearance, age, background, relationship, or professional status, and contrary to popular misconceptions, it does not affect women alone: Men can also be victims [4].

Most people who consider workplace sexual harassment picture a woman in a subservient position as the victim of a man in a higher-ranking position [9], but although this situation describes the great majority of cases, it is not the only type of sexual harassment. Men can also be victims of sexual harassment by other men and by women [9, 10, 11]. Even as public opinion and traditional psychological models assume a male harasser and a female victim, men make 16%–17% of sexual harassment reports [12, 13]. Because of such longstanding assumptions, however, men confront distinct challenges in reporting workplace sexual harassment and seeing resolution even though the law protects both men and women. Men who report workplace sexual harassment are treated less favorably than female victims and are considered to suffer less [9] and to require less time to recover [13]. These challenges men face in seeing resolution of their sexual harassment claims originate from men’s much greater reluctance to report their experiences than female victims show [14] and from the conservative view that men cannot be sexually assaulted [15]. This lack of social recognition and institutional failure to conceptualize paradigms other than male perpetrator–female victim have led to much slower progress in the public’s perception that men can be victims of sexual harassment in the workplace [15, 16, 17, 18].

Research has established that sexual harassment in the workplace exacts physical and psychological tolls that people who are not experiencing such harassment do not face [19, 20, 21, 22, 23], such as anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and loss of professional confidence and negative work-related consequences [24, 25]. Jung and Yoon [7] reported much greater frequency of sexual harassment among hotel staff than among employees in other industries, and stereotypes and flawed perceptions make sexual harassment among male employees in the hotel industry a important issue [8]. However, despite the growing recognition of the problem, there is little extant research on male sexual harassment in hotel workplaces [26], and there are no such studies in particular in Korea. As such, we believed it appropriate to explore the topic of male sexual harassment in the hotel industry including background on the problem and known psychological difficulties among victims.

One alternative conceptualization of the construct of sexual harassment treats it as a somewhat subjective phenomenon [27], with the argument that people who have experienced the same conditions can reach different conclusions about whether sexual harassment has occurred; indeed, a primary factor in that conceptualization is whether victims themselves perceive that they have been sexually harassed. However, in the hotel industry, the challenge appears to be how seriously harassment is taken even when it is clear: Hotel employees had reported that even when they were clear that they were being sexually harassed, they just ignored it or accepted it as part of their work [7, 8]; other researchers documented, though, that these responses were significantly affected by personal characteristics, specific occupational and environmental aspects, and gender differences [28, 29]. Nevertheless, irrespective of public or victim perceptions of its seriousness, sexual harassment in the hotel industry is an overt sexual offense and a phenomenon that cannot be overlooked [5, 6, 7, 8, 26]. Researchers found that both male and female hotel workers experienced all forms of sexual harassment (verbal, visual, physical, and written) [30] that increased employee turnover by decreasing job satisfaction, which in turn negatively affected a hotel’s image and reputation [30, 31, 32, 33].

For men in particular, sexual harassment is sometimes less expected, and when it does happen, it can have a more stigmatizing effect that causes greater harm to men’s mental health [34, 35]. Vogt et al. [35] found that men who had experienced sexual harassment showed worse depression and other mental health issues than women, and other researchers have established that men are less likely than women to seek treatment for depression and more likely to experience self-harm and drug or alcohol abuse [36]. However, despite these more severe outcomes for men, there have been few studies of male victims of workplace sexual harassment. We sought to fill in this research gap by giving scholarly attention to the psychological and emotional impacts of sexual harassment on male employees in the hotel industry. In a qualitative study, we examined these psychological and emotional impacts and their outcomes for male workplace sexual harassment victims.

2. Literature Review
2.1 Attributes of Sexual Harassment for Men and Their Mental Health

Sexual harassment is tied to power structures in employment and career advancement [37]: A victim can either submit to the harasser and be exploited or resist and be punished in a no-win situation of power, control, and intimidation. Harassment can take any number of multiple forms and combinations: verbal (e.g., inappropriate jokes, remarks, teasing, and sexually related questions), physical (e.g., intentionally rubbing one’s body against another person), psychological (e.g., sexual coercion and unwanted sexual interest), and visual (e.g., sending unwanted sexual images or videos to others) [38]. McDonald and Charlesworth [39] analyzed workplace sexual harassment in the four gender combinations (male to male, male to female, female to female, and female to male) and determined that it was underreported relative to its prevalence; the authors also found that such harassment in their study was characterized by aggressive and threatening behavior. Generally, however, existing research indicates that harassment is more often verbal than nonverbal [40].

Existing research [41, 42, 43] has also firmly established negative impacts of sexual harassment on individuals’ physical and mental health and their social well-being. For instance, rumors and sexually charged gossip can lead to sadness, the loss of friends, suicidal thoughts, and ruined reputations, all of which are signs of low self-esteem and low self-rated mental health (SRMH) [38]. Exposure to harassment and bullying increases the risk of psychological distress, and in some cases, men are more affected than women [44, 45], but contemporary societies still popularly hold that sexual harassment against men is not as severe as harassment against women. However, despite these misconceptions, sexual harassment among men does not appear to differ from sexual harassment in general whether visual, mental, physical, or verbal [46], and it causes many negative psychological and psychosocial consequences for male victims [47, 48]. On the basis of the aforementioned literature findings, we proposed the following hypotheses for this study:

H1a: Verbal sexual harassment has a negative impact on SRMH among male employees in the hotel industry.

H1b: Physical sexual harassment has a negative impact on SRMH among male employees in the hotel industry.

H1c: Visual sexual harassment has a negative impact on SRMH among male employees in the hotel industry.

H1d: Psychological sexual harassment has a negative impact on SRMH among male employees in the hotel industry.

2.2 Effects of SRMH on Emotional Violation and Working Outcomes

Research has shown that in assessing their personal health, people reflect a wide range of factors within broader sociocultural contexts, such as health beliefs and behaviors, rather than their objective health status [49, 50]. Self-reported health is widely considered a valid measure of health status and is now widely used in survey studies as a measure of general health [51]. Multiyear studies have provided substantial evidence that self-reported health predicts disability, morbidity, and mortality [50, 52, 53, 54, 55] and contributes to more objective health measures such as the presence of chronic diseases and the ability to predict future health. Meanwhile, SRMH is a self-assessment of current mental health status and a highly reliable indicator of an individual’s psychological distress and depression [56, 57, 58]. In the literature, positive self-reported mental health is associated with high self-confidence in daily life, freedom from mental anxiety/stress, and self-perceptions of being important [57, 59].

Ghubach et al. [60] found low life satisfaction (e.g., well-being perceptions and self-assessed mental health) associated with negative subjective perceptions of mental health (e.g., depression and stress), and stress, frustration, and burnout worsen employees’ mental health [61]. In turn, Liang [62] found that employees’ mental fatigue interfered with organizational citizenship behavior (OCB; voluntary support behavior for organizational development), and employee stress negatively affected organizational commitment and self-efficacy [63, 64, 65] (the individual belief in one’s ability to successfully perform a given task). Hotel workers often suffer from psychological fatigue caused by excessive work stress, poor psychological well-being, and low job satisfaction [66, 67], but because their service is their hotel’s product, their efficacy and beliefs about performing their tasks can be essential psychological variables for quality service [68, 69]. Hotels require their employees’ positive attitudes toward voluntary participation for their optimal organizational performance [70]; in particular, self-efficacy improves employees’ attitudes toward voluntary participation, their work efficiency, and their OCB [71]. As such, it seems reasonable to say that hotel employees’ positive psychological well-being (mental health) contributes to positive corporate performance through employee self-efficacy and organizational citizenship; on the contrary, psychological job stress (e.g., depression and anxiety) that hotel employees perceive can be assumed to impact overall hotel performance negatively.

The work environment affects all employees’ mental health and well-being, and alleviating mental stress and depression in workers is now a significant issue [58, 59]. Meanwhile, workplace sexual harassment is highly linked to negative consequences such as reduced job satisfaction, poor organizational engagement, high turnover, decreased work motivation, burnout, and poor physical and mental health [33, 72, 73, 74]. The most common psychological symptoms among victims of sexual harassment in the workplace are anxiety and mental illness [19, 22], which are prominent in low SRMH [56, 57, 58]. In this study’s context of sexual harassment and other types of interpersonal harm, the level of norm violation the victim perceives that the perpetrator has committed causes emotional responses in the victim of anger and shame [75], and these emotional boundary violations are important components of social interaction [76] and interpersonal violations [77]. Additionally, the influence of the social environment around a norm violation on our emotions is crucial to understanding the cognitive judgments that form [77].

Teng et al. [78] empirically confirmed that unsafe conditions at work lead to mental health problems among hotel staff and that depression, anxiety, and stress significantly influence turnover intentions. Survey respondents in a different study who had experienced sexual harassment indeed showed higher turnover intentions and absenteeism rates than respondents who had not [31]. The aforementioned findings lead to the following hypotheses regarding unstable mental states such as anxiety, depression, anger, and shame; emotional boundary violations; and turnover intention associated with workplace sexual harassment in the hotel industry:

H2: High SRMH has a positive impact on organization citizenship behavior among male employees in the hotel industry.

H3: High SRMH has a positive impact on self-efficacy among male employees in the hotel industry.

H4: High SRMH has a negative impact on turnover intention among male employees in the hotel industry.

H5: High SRMH has a negative impact on emotional boundary violations among male employees in the hotel industry.

2.3 Effects of Emotional Boundary Violations on Work Outcomes

Emotional boundary violation is a type of abuse, in which another person is subjugated or exposed to acts that can cause psychological violation [79, 80] with the aim of inducing a defensive response to distract from an abuser’s abuse [81]. These violations can be intentional when the abuse is about to be confirmed and incidental when the abuser’s behavior is habitual [79, 80], but the violation is real in either case, and the resulting defensive action is justified. Sexual harassment, a representative form of emotional boundary violation, can cause severe emotional and psychological distress such as depression and anxiety, all of which can negatively affect success in the workplace. Additionally, it can lower work performance, increase absenteeism, and turnover, and it has significant negative impacts on organizations. Cropanzano et al. [82] studied the relationships between emotional exhaustion and work attitude, job performance, and OCB and found negative impacts of emotional exhaustion on OCB and work outcomes and a positive impact on turnover intention. Additionally, Hsieh et al. [83] verified that emotional boundary violations had negative effects on job satisfaction and self-efficacy. On the basis of these literature findings, we proposed the following hypotheses:

H6: Emotional boundary violations have a negative impact on organization citizenship behavior among male employees in the hotel industry.

H7: Emotional boundary violations have a negative impact on self-efficacy among male employees in the hotel industry.

H8: Emotional boundary violations have a positive impact on turnover intention among male employees in the hotel industry.

2.4 Research Model

The theoretical framework was developed to determine the attributes of sexual harassment, self-rated mental health, emotional violation, organizational citizenship behavior, self-efficacy, and turnover intention as perceived by male hotel employees. A total of eight research hypotheses are presented based on previous studies, and the influence relationship between the variables is illustrated in Fig. 1.

Fig. 1.

The proposed conceptual framework.

3. Methods
3.1 Qualitative Approach

A qualitative approach was used to develop the attributes of sexual harassment perceived by male hotel employees, which have rarely been examined in previous studies from men’s perspectives. According to Han et al. [84], the literature review and the focus group discussion method are effective for identifying and discovering characteristics and fundamental factors that have not been identified thus far. Therefore, this study used the literature review and the focus group discussion method to develop the attributes of sexual harassment that male hotel employees can experience. In the focus group discussion, in-depth interviews were conducted with seven experts consisting of male hotel employees, graduate students majoring in hotel management, and hotel management professors. In-depth discussions and interviews were conducted on seven experts, consisting of male hotel employees, graduate students majoring in hotel management, and hotel management professors, who recognized the purpose, necessity, and importance of this study. In addition, two researchers who participated in this study conducted the discussions and interviews to facilitate the focus group discussions and interviews. The first discussion explained the purpose and specific direction of the study that develops the attributes of sexual harassment that male hotel employees may experience. Various data related to sexual harassment were provided to all persons to improve the quality of the interview. In the second discussion, focus group members’ knowledge, opinions, thoughts, and various ideas on sexual harassment were collected and shared. Differences in opinions and thoughts among members were resolved through discussions and meetings. Finally, in the third discussion, 24 sexual harassment items identified during the discussion and agreement process were confirmed, and five items that did not match the subject of the study or had similar meanings were excluded. Thus, 19 sexual harassment items for male hotel employees were derived. Next, the 19 items were categorized under four attributes based on Spiggle’s [85] proposal: (1) verbal sexual harassment, (2) physical sexual harassment, (3) visual sexual harassment, and (4) psychological sexual harassment.

3.2 Measurement Tools for Other Study Variableslitative Approach

To measure variables other than the sexual harassment attributes of male hotel employees, measurement items with proven reliability and validity were modified and supplemented to suit this study. Specifically, 15 questions were used, including three on self-rated mental health [58], three on emotional violation [86], three on organizational citizenship behavior [87], three on self-efficacy [69], and three on turnover intention [88]. All questionnaire items were evaluated on a 7-point Likert scale (e.g., strongly disagree (1 point), strongly agree (7 points), and multi-items were used. The questionnaire consisted of a clear explanation of sexual harassment as perceived by male hotel employees, questions about the attributes and other variables of sexual harassment, and questions about individual characteristics of the respondents. The first questionnaire was pre-tested to improve its content and composition. The pre-test was conducted on eight people consisting of male hotel employees, graduate students of hotel management, and hotel management professors. It was confirmed that the contents of the survey were consistent with the purpose of the study and that the meaning was accurately conveyed.

3.3 Data Collection and Sample Demographic Profiles

To collect data for empirical analysis, the web system of Internet research agencies was used. The Internet research agencies provide online data analysis, create an online data collection website, and provide fast and accurate results in many markets. The survey was conducted for nine days from February 3 to 11, 2022, and participants were randomly selected using the database of Internet research agencies. A total of 315 samples were secured for empirical analysis, of which three samples were excluded as they were judged to be unusable. Thus, a total of 312 samples were used for the empirical analysis required to achieve the purpose of this study. The characteristics of the respondents were as follows. Since this study develops the attributes of sexual harassment perceived by male employees, all of the respondents were male. Therefore, the 312 respondents were all males. A total of 94 respondents (30.1%) were in their 20s, 145 (46.5%) in their 30s, 61 (19.6%) in their 40s, and 12 (3.8%) in their 50s and older. All had an educational background of vocational college or higher, and 39 had an income of $30,000 or less (12.5%), 254 (81.4%) with more than $30,000 and less than $50,000, and 19 (6.1%) with more than $50,000. Finally, 50 (16%) had worked for less than five years, 74 (23.8%) for more than five years and less than eight years, 103 (33%) for more than eight years and less than 10 years, and 85 (27.2%) for more than 10 years. The characteristics of the respondents who participated in this study are shown in Table 1.

Table 1.Demographic variable.
Variable Category Percentage (n = 312)
Gender Male 100
Age category 20s 30.1
30s 46.5
40s 19.6
50s and older 3.8
Education lever vocational college or higher 100
Income $30,000 or less 12.5
$30,000$50,000 81.4
More than $50,000 6.1
Work experience Less than 5 years 16
5 years less than 8 years 23.8
8 years less than 10 years 33
More than 10 years 27.2
4. Results
4.1 Quantitative Procedures

The exploratory factor analysis (EFA) was conducted to determine the sexual harassment attributes perceived by male hotel employees and remove inadequate measurement questions. Principal factor analysis was used as the factor extraction method, and the varimax orthogonal rotation was used. Thus, the independence of the extracted factors was secured, and the multicollinearity problem was prevented [89]. The Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin value was 0.972, and the Bartlett value was statistically significant (p < 0.01), so the selection of variables was appropriate. The EFA derived four factors (e.g., verbal, physical, visual, and psychological sexual harassment). They all had an eigenvalue of 1 or higher and the total variance was 82.383. Specifically, the variance of verbal sexual harassment was 29.862 and that of physical sexual harassment was 22.629. The variance of visual sexual harassment was 17.668, and that of psychological sexual harassment was 12.224. Next, a reliability analysis was conducted to identify the internal consistency of the presented measurement items. If the analysis result is 0.7 or higher, it can be said that there is no problem with internal consistency [89]. The analysis revealed that verbal sexual harassment was 0.925, physical sexual harassment 0.929, visual sexual harassment 0.920 and psychological sexual harassment 0.935, all of which were higher than the threshold of 0.7. Therefore, it can be said that all four attributes of sexual harassment perceived by male hotel employees are statistically appropriate. Details are presented in Table 2.

Table 2.Summary of exploratory factor analysis results.
Factors % of variance Factor loadings Cronbach’s
Factor 1: Verbal sexual harassment 29.862 0.925
Co-workers make sexual analogies and comments about my appearance 0.831
Co-workers tell lewd jokes or share sexual anecdotes 0.848
Co-workers comment on their sex life and privacy 0.742
Co-workers show curiosity about my sexual orientation 0.834
Co-workers coerce or cajole me into sexual intercourse 0.830
Co-workers intentionally disseminate sexually explicit 0.844
Factor 2: Physical sexual harassment 22.629 0.929
Co-workers touch certain parts of my body 0.858
Co-workers attempt coercive sexual activity 0.810
Co-workers behave threateningly for their own sexual satisfaction 0.815
Co-workers make physical contact such as kissing, hugging, and hugging from behind 0.818
Co-workers force me to massage or caress them 0.853
Factor 3: Visual sexual harassment 17.668 0.920
Co-workers show obscene photos, pictures, etc 0.847
Co-workers deliberately expose their sex-related body parts 0.875
Co-workers leer at certain parts of my body 0.874
Co-workers force me to look at certain parts of other people’s bodies 0.816
Factor 4: Psychological sexual harassment 12.224 0.935
Co-workers demand sexual favors in return for promotion, evaluation, as well as retention and offer of employment 0.875
I’m afraid that rejecting sexual favors will put me at a disadvantage 0.883
Co-workers create an intimidating or aggressive work atmosphere 0.872
I’m afraid of being mass bullied if I don’t engage in co-workers’ sexual conversations 0.871
Note: Total variance explained: 82.383, KMO measure of sampling adequacy: 0.972, Bartlett’s test of sphericity (p < 0.01).
4.2 Data Quality Testing

To verify the single dimensionality of the scale and the reliability and validity of the measurement mode, a confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) was conducted using the maximum likelihood estimation method [90]. First, the fitness of the measurement model was χ2 = 1550.542, df = 488, χ2/df = 3.177, p < 0.01, RMSEA = 0.078, CFI = 0.914, TLI = 0.901, IFI = 0.914, which can be said to be statistically appropriate. Next, the standardized regression weight value was checked to evaluate the reliability of the measurement item, and all items were between 0.944 and 0.713. Therefore, it can be said that the reliability for all the measurement items was secured. Convergent validity and internal consistency can be confirmed through average variance extracted (AVE) and composite reliability (CR), and if the AVE value is 0.5 or more and the C.R. value 0.7 or more, there is no problem with convergent validity and internal consistency [91]. The analysis indicated that the CR value was 0.906 at 0.831, and the AVE value was 0.732 at 0.616. Therefore, it can be said that the convergent validity and internal consistency of all the measurement variables are statistically valid. Finally, a discriminant validity verification was performed to identify the differentiation between the constituent concepts. The analysis revealed that the square values of all the presented correlation coefficients were less than the AVE value. Therefore, it can be said that discriminant validity between the constituent concepts was secured. Details are presented in Table 3.

Table 3.Cronbach’s α reliability and correlation.
(1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) (9)
(1) Verbal sexual harassment 1.000
(2) Physical sexual harassment 0.573 a 1.000
(0.328) b
(3) Visual sexual harassment 0.623 0.558 1.000
(0.388) (0.311)
(4) Psychological sexual harassment 0.645 0.564 0.672 1.000
(0.416) (0.318) (0.451)
(5) Self-rated mental health –0.552 –0.503 –0.558 –0.563 1.000
(0.304) (0.253) (0.311) (0.316)
(6) Emotional violation 0.520 0.449 0.530 0.544 –0.479 1.000
(0.270) (0.201) (0.280) (0.295) (0.229)
(7) Organizational citizenship behavior –0.385 –0.363 –0.382 –0.381 0.399 –0.545 1.000
(0.148) (0.131) (0.145) (0.145) (0.159) (0.297)
(8) Self-efficacy –0.318 –0.482 –0.321 –0.235 0.236 –0.342 0.248 1.000
(0.101) (0.232) (0.103) (0.055) (0.055) (0.116) (0.061)
(9) Turnover intention 0.588 0.335 0.467 0.515 –0.326 0.532 –0.314 –0.247 1.000
(0.345) (0.112) (0.218) (0.265) (0.106) (0.283) (0.098) (0.061)
CR 0.906 0.893 0.867 0.872 0.891 0.878 0.873 0.871 0.831
AVE 0.616 0.628 0.620 0.631 0.732 0.707 0.697 0.692 0.621
Mean 4.837 5.125 5.153 5.013 2.755 4.996 2.746 2.967 4.626
(SD) (1.318) (1.368) (1.337) (1.332) (1.365) (1.359) (1.483) (1.373) (1.329)
Note: Goodness-of-fit statistics for the measurement model: χ2 = 1550.542, df = 488, p < 0.01, χ2/df = 3.177, RMSEA = 0.078, CFI = 0.914, TLI = 0.901, IFI = 0.914.
a Correlations between the variables are below the diagonal.
b The squared correlations between the variables are within the parentheses.
4.3 Hypotheses Testing

A total of eight hypotheses were established to investigate the influence of sexual harassment attributes perceived by hotel male employees on self-rated mental health, emotional vibration, organic citizenship behavior, self-efficacy, and turnover intention. The eight hypotheses were verified through regression analysis. The analysis revealed that sexual harassment attributes: (1) verbal sexual harassment (H1a = –0.204, p < 0.01), (2) physical sexual harassment (H1b = –0.199, p < 0.01), (3) visual sexual harassment (H1c = –0.258, p < 0.01), and (4) psychological sexual harassment (H1d = –0.223, p < 0.01); all had a statistically significant negative effect on self-rated mental health. Next, self-rated mental health had a statistically significant positive effect on organizational citizenship behavior (H2 = 0.653, p < 0.01) and self-efficacy (H3 = 0.663, p < 0.01), and a statistically significant negative effect on turnover intention (H4 = –0.497, p < 0.01) and emotional violation (H5 = –0.773, p < 0.01). Lastly, emotional violation had a statistically significant negative effect on organizational citizenship behavior (H6 = –0.792, p < 0.01) and self-efficacy (H7 = –0.680, p < 0.01) and a statistically significant positive effect on turnover intention (H8 = 0.704, p < 0.01). Details of the analysis results are presented in Table 4, and the results of structure model estimation are illustrated in Fig. 2.

Fig. 2.

Results of structure model estimation.

Table 4.Results of the regression analysis.
Equations (R2) Independent variable dependent variable Coefficient t-value
(Adjusted R2) (standardized)
Equation 1 (R2 = 0.709) H1a: Verbal sexual harassment Self-rated mental health –0.204 –2.695**
H1b: Physical sexual harassment Self-rated mental health –0.199 –2.884**
(Adjusted R2 = 0.706) H1c: Visual sexual harassment Self-rated mental health –0.258 –3.130**
H1d: Psychological sexual harassment Self-rated mental health –0.223 –2.574**
Equation 2 (R2 = 0.426) H2: Self-rated mental health Organizational citizenship behavior 0.653 15.168**
(Adjusted R2 = 0.424)
Equation 2 (R2 = 0.439) H3: Self-rated mental health Self-efficacy 0.663 15.590**
(Adjusted R2 = 0.438)
Equation 2 (R2 = 0.247) H4: Self-rated mental health Turnover intention –0.497 –10.089**
(Adjusted R2 = 0.245)
Equation 2 (R2 = 0.537) H5: Self-rated mental health Emotional violation –0.733 –18.955**
(Adjusted R2 = 0.535)
Equation 2 (R2 = 0.628) H6: Emotional violation Organizational citizenship behavior –0.792 –22.868**
(Adjusted R2 = 0.627)
Equation 2 (R2 = 0.462) H7: Emotional violation Self-efficacy –0.680 –16.313**
(Adjusted R2 = 0.460)
Equation 2 (R2 = 0.496) H8: Emotional violation Turnover intention 0.704 17.454**
(Adjusted R2 = 0.494)
*p < 0.05, **p < 0.01.
5. Discussion

Our study tried to develop the attributes of sexual harassment perceived by male hotel staff through a qualitative approach. Through this, four attributes of verbal, physical, visual, and psychological sexual harassment were derived. We conducted a survey to measure the study participants’ SRMH in response to all forms of sexual harassment in the workplace: verbal, physical, visual, and psychological. The significance of the derived attributes was verified through reliability and validity verification, a theoretical framework was constructed based on previous studies, and the influence relationship between variables was verified. We confirmed that all types of sexual harassment had negative effects on SRMH thru the results of regression analysis in Table 4, which support the previous study findings [3, 40, 41, 42, 43]. Although all sexual harassment attributes negatively affect SRMH at similar levels, the men in this study reported the most negative effects on SRMH from exposure to visual sexual harassment (sending sexual images or videos without consent, exposing private parts, etc.) in particularly. Despite these negative effects, the previous literature [34, 35] indicates that the public perceives sexual harassment as a phenomenon that only happens to women. We suggest based on the findings of this study, that hotel industry leaders and managers need to improve the awareness of sexual harassment among male hotel workers and establish active systems to protect both men and women from psychological and physical threats in the workplace.

All study hypotheses on the effects of SRMH on work outcomes and emotional boundary violations were significantly supported: Higher SRMH among male hotel staff substantially affected OCB, self-efficacy, and positive job performance and had a negative effect on turnover intention. These results support previous findings that employee mental fatigue inhibits OCB and that job stress has negative effects on organizational commitment and self-efficacy [62, 63, 64, 65]. In particular, the finding here that higher SRMH had a negative effect on emotional boundary violations supports previous findings that emotionally intrusive situations can cause emotional responses of anger and shame [75, 76]. In other words, unfavorable conditions such as sexual harassment harm an individual’s mental health, and poor mental health can lead to adverse emotional reactions such as belittling, insulting, or making verbal threats in the workplace. Therefore, the results of this study suggest that hotel leaders and managers need to minimize the conditions that can harm employees’ mental health to increase their OCB and self-efficacy at work.

In the study of the effect between emotional violation and working outcomes, all hypotheses suggested were significantly verified. Specifically, the emotional violation has a very negative effect on OCB, which is a voluntary support behavior for organizational development, as positive work performance, and self-efficacy, which is the expectation and belief that one can take appropriate behavior for the organization. Conversely, the emotional violation was found to significantly affect turnover intention, which is a negative emotion of hotel staff. This study supports Cropanzano et al.’s [82] study on the relationship between emotional fatigue, work attitude, job performance, and organizational citizenship behavior. Therefore, from the results of this study, negative emotions play an important role in hindering the outcomes of hotel organizations and forming negative behavior. Therefore, hotel leaders and managers need to know how negatively emotional situations can affect organizational performance. In particular, it is believed that hotel employees, as representative emotional workers, need to create an environment where they can maximize their abilities by forming positive emotions. In addition, it would be good to identify the factors that shape their negative emotions through continuous dialogue with members of the organization and devise a way to overcome them.

6. Conclusions

Sexual harassment is a global organizational and societal problem, and awareness of it is necessary among all individuals in organizations. In this study, we considered the effects of sexual harassment in the workplace on male employees in the hotel industry in Korea; specifically, we explored how male victims of a phenomenon that is typically associated with male perpetrators and female victims perceived and experienced verbal, physical, visual, and psychological sexual harassment. Generally, societies worldwide consider sexual harassment through the lens of male perpetrator against female victim who is lower in the work hierarchy, and such harassment against men in the workplace has been easily overlooked. Therefore, in this study, we tried to verify the attributes of sexual harassment experienced by male hotel staff through a qualitative approach. We confirmed negative impacts of workplace sexual harassment on male hotel employees’ emotional health and work performance whether verbal, physical, visual, or psychological harassment. Through empirical analysis, we confirmed negative effects of harassment on their SRMH and, separately, that higher SRMH was associated with more positive work outcomes, OCB, and self-efficacy and with less turnover intention and emotional boundary violation. We also found significantly negative effects of this violation on male hotel employees’ OCB, positive work performance, and self-efficacy and a positive effect on turnover intention, confirming relationships that had been previously established in the literature. Therefore, through the results of this study, it was possible to raise awareness about the sexual harassment of hotel men, which has been easily overlooked. Additionally, it suggested the need to continue to pay attention to employees’ mental and emotional parts at the hotel management level to form a healthy workplace culture and continuous development.

7. Limitations

Despite the meaningful results of this study, there were some limitations. First, the attributes of male sexual harassment covered in this study are limited to the hotel industry, so caution is urged when attempting to generalize these results to broader populations. Second, and similarly, these findings only apply to male hotel employees in Korea and so should not be extended to hotel employees in other countries and regions. This is because each country has different values for culture and sexual harassment. Especially Korea has a unique male-centered society and customer-centered culture [29]. Third, we did not capture any perspectives of female victims of workplace sexual harassment in the hotel industry, so any possible generalizations should only be applied to men. Fourth, This study aimed to target male sexual harassment experiences in hotels. Therefore, it can point out that self-reported data may not sufficiently reflect reality, as sensitive matters may generally make victims reluctant to disclose their experiences.

Author Contributions

Conceptualization, Writing—original draft preparation—JP; writing—review and editing—JY; visualization—YK; supervision—GY and JY; project administration—JP, EY and YK; funding acquisition—YK, EY and GY. All authors have read and agreed to the published version of the manuscript.

Ethics Approval and Consent to Participate

Because of the study’s observational nature and in the absence of any involvement of therapeutic medication, no formal approval of the Institutional Review Board of the local Ethics Committee was required. Nonetheless, all subjects were informed about the study, and participation was fully voluntary. Participants were ensured of confidentiality and anonymity of the information associated with the surveys. The study was conducted according to the guidelines of the Declaration of Helsinki.


We would like to express our gratitude to all of the people who helped during the writing of this manuscript, and to the peer reviewers for their constructive opinion and suggestions.


This research received no external funding.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Publisher’s Note: IMR Press stays neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

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