Sexualization of the Work Environment and Emotional Exhaustion: The Case of Emerging India

Hong T. M. Bui, Jonathan Pinto, Abhishek Srivastava

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to explore the relationship between sexualization of the work environment and emotional exhaustion, and develop some key antecedents of sexualization of the work environment. It was conducted in an emerging society, India, which has a high rate of crime against women, particularly related to sexual harassment and sexual assault. Design/methodology/approach: To test the hypotheses, structural equation modeling was performed. The hypotheses were tested with data from 1,098 white collar workers in India in three ways. Findings: Contact with other gender and flexible work arrangements were positively associated with sexualization of the work environment; and sexualization of the work environment was positively associated with emotional exhaustion. In addition, sexualization of the work environment mediated the relationship between the two antecedent variables and emotional exhaustion. Research limitations/implications: There is a possible bias arising from the use of cross-sectional data. However, a number of methods were implemented to minimize it, including survey design and data analysis. Practical implications: The study offers some important suggestions for workplaces with a greater proportion of young male employees, particularly in a societal context like India. Originality/value: The paper provides evidence of the negative impact of sexualization of the work environment, and thereby contributes to current understanding of the “dark side” of behavior at work that might have significant impact on society.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)558-573
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Manpower
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2019


  • Emotional exhaustion
  • Employee behaviour
  • Occupational health and safety
  • Sexualization at work
  • White collar workers
  • Work psychology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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