Electronic Theses and Dissertations





Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation (Campus Access Only)

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Business Administration



Committee Chair

Charles Pierce

Committee Member

Rabi Bhagat

Committee Member

David Allen

Committee Member

Ronald Landis


Scholarly examinations of sexual harassment and racial discrimination have held a specific paradigmatic position.An examination of EEOC statistics illustrates a need to redirect the paradigm through which these phenomena are examined.This dissertation applies the attribution-emotion model of helping and proposes a process model by which individuals who are, either falsely or accurately, accused of violations of Title VII protections become stigmatized.The model proposes a rational decision making process culminating in the workplace devaluation of the accused. Two studies were conducted to assess the generalizability of the model.In Experiment 1, the sexual harassment study, student participants (N = 267) were randomly assigned to read one of five versions of a vignette with manipulations concerning: 1) existence of an allegation, 2) information channel through which the participant receives the information regarding the allegation, and 3) accuracy of the allegation.In Experiment 2, the racial discrimination study, student participants (N = 259) were randomly assigned to read one of five versions of a vignette with the same manipulations as Experiment 1.Results of the two studies do not support the proposed model.However, an alternative model developed from the stereotype-prejudice-discrimination paradigm was tested.Results suggest that individuals who are either falsely or accurately accused of sexual harassment or racial discrimination become stigmatized and as such devalued in the workplace on work-related outcomes such as perceived performance, perceived trustworthiness, willingness to work with as a coworker, promotion recommendations, willingness to help, and perceived likelihood of subsequent allegation.Though accuracy of the allegation had a significant effect on perceived likelihood of a future allegation and, ultimately, the workplace devaluation of the accused, the effect explained less of the variance than did the existence of an allegation.Results also suggest that raters' identity (i.e., gender, race) predicts the sexual harassment and racial discrimination devaluation process.Results further suggest that allegations of sexual harassment and allegations of racial discrimination may not be parallel.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.