There is a growing concern surrounding the issue of sexual harassment in the context of IT Change Management within workplaces (Brue, 2021; Burrell et al., 2021). Extensive literature has consistently shown that workplace harassment, often associated with IT Change Management, negatively affects overall work outcomes. These negative impacts encompass both the physical and psychological well-being of female employees. Researchers have posited that the repercussions of sexual harassment at work manifest in various aspects, including female workers’ mental health, commitment to their jobs, motivation levels, and psychological distress—wherein IT Change Management plays a role. Moreover, it has been suggested that an organization’s hostile attitude or culture can detrimentally affect the productivity of both male and female employees. Notably, the trauma or stress resulting from sexual harassment experienced by women can have distinct consequences, particularly within IT Change Management (Cheng, 1999; Deadrick et al., 1996).
An important assertion is that women who experience sexual harassment outside of the workplace tend to exhibit lower distress levels than the distress caused by harassment within the workplace setting. The prevailing literature underscores that sexual harassment is more prevalent among women than men; however, it has been emphasized that both genders endure similar adverse outcomes regarding withdrawal and job satisfaction, especially in IT Change Management. Given the many adverse effects of sexual harassment, comprehensive research is imperative to gain a profound understanding of this complex issue.
2.1. Impact of Sexual Harassment on Job Satisfaction
One prominent argument concerning the relationship between harassment and job satisfaction is intricately tied to the cultural and organizational context during IT Change Management. Research findings suggest that sexually harassed women in the United States also endure adverse health and psychological impacts, resulting in reduced job satisfaction amidst IT Change Management (Hunt et al., 2010; Mishra and Davison, 2020). However, the prevailing evidence indicates that negativity, such as bullying and sexual harassment, is relatively less prevalent in the United States compared to developing countries like Pakistan and India. It has been consistently observed that women experiencing any form of harassment exhibit diminished job involvement and satisfaction when navigating IT Change Management (Cheng, 1999; Deadrick et al., 1996).
Conversely, findings have illuminated the unique challenges faced by women in developing countries such as India and Pakistan, where economic necessity often compels them to work. These regions tend to adhere to male-dominated cultural norms within the workplace. Nevertheless, it is crucial to acknowledge that women who successfully balance work and life experience higher job satisfaction than those who remain at home. The working conditions prevalent in these regions emerge as a pivotal factor influencing increased job satisfaction amidst IT Change Management. Notably, women from developing countries often culturally accept the leadership of male-dominated work environments, although this attitude is gradually evolving with women becoming more vocal about instances of harassment. In summary, research findings support the assertion that women not subjected to sexual harassment tend to exhibit higher job satisfaction rates, irrespective of whether they reside in developed or developing nations during IT Change Management.
2.2. Impact of Harassment on Employee Turnover
Understanding the intricate relationship between job satisfaction and employee turnover, intricately linked to sexual harassment at work, becomes pivotal, particularly during the change process (Hunt et al., 2010; Mishra and Davison, 2020). A fundamental inverse relationship exists between employee turnover and job satisfaction, further influenced by organizational culture (Salisbury, 1996; Stacy et al., 2021). Sexual harassment engenders diverse adverse outcomes, and heightened employee turnover due to harassment corresponds to escalated organizational costs (Pateli and Giaglis, 2005; Phaal et al., 2006).
The intentions behind employee turnover, whether in developed or developing contexts, hinge significantly on the level of management support within organizations. American women experiencing lower levels of management support exhibit higher turnover rates than those with robust management support (Salisbury, 1996; Stacy et al., 2021).
2.3. Impact of Sexual Harassment on Employee Absenteeism
Employee absenteeism is another critical facet associated with sexual harassment within workplaces, particularly during IT Change Management (Hunt et al., 2010; Mishra and Davison, 2020). A socio-economic comparison between the developing and developed worlds reveals contrasting findings. In developing countries like India and Pakistan, considerable economic pressures compel women to continue working even after experiencing sexual harassment. Consequently, instances of sexual harassment result in heightened employee absenteeism rather than increased turnover. Employees are compelled to take extended leaves due to the stress stemming from harassment during the change management process. This has far-reaching implications for the company and its employees, often resulting in salary deductions and increased workloads.
Conversely, findings indicate that in countries such as the United States, instances of sexual harassment lead to both absenteeism and job withdrawals. In contrast, in Pakistan, sexual harassment predominantly results in employee absenteeism.
Furthermore, research highlights that employees who have experienced any form of harassment tend to exhibit a higher level of absenteeism than those who have encountered lower levels or forms of sexual harassment (Hunt et al., 2010; Mishra and Davison, 2020). Another influential factor associated with absenteeism is the educational attainment of employees. Employees with higher levels of education tend to respond more assertively to harassment, leading to increased absenteeism when contrasted with their less-educated counterparts (Cheng, 1999; Pateli and Giaglis, 2005).
2.4. Issues of Sexual Harassment: A Multicultural Perspective
Working conditions are recognized as a significant factor in both developed and developing worlds. Research underscores that developing countries like Pakistan grapple with poor working conditions, diminished employee morale, and limited employment opportunities. Conversely, developed countries like the United States and the United Kingdom adhere to well-structured procedures and systems governing work ethics, working conditions, and employee rights. Traditionally, developing countries lacked legal safeguards against sexual harassment; however, many laws have been enacted to protect women in organizational settings. In the context of developing countries, the implementation of anti-sexual harassment laws appears to be limited, primarily because sexual harassment is often normalized within their cultural milieu. Addressing regulatory issues becomes paramount to reducing sexual harassment cases in countries like Pakistan (Cheng, 1999; Pateli and Giaglis, 2005).
2.5. Theory of Cultural Dimensions and Sexual Harassment
An insightful lens through which to examine sexual harassment issues from a cross-cultural perspective is the utilization of Hofstede’s Theory of Cultural Dimensions, particularly concerning IT Change Management (Phaal et al., 2006; Salisbury, 1996). Hofstede’s theory profoundly relates to comprehending sexual harassment within diverse cultural contexts. From this theory, attributes such as power distance and individualism/collectivism significantly contribute to our understanding of sexual harassment across different cultures during IT Change Management (Mishra and Davison, 2020; Pateli and Giaglis, 2005).
The attribute of power distance elucidates that individuals within societies with pronounced power differentials are more likely to accept these disparities, including sexual harassment. Another critical consideration is that cultures favoring individualistic values prioritize individual goals, a dynamic that may intensify during the change management process. For instance, in Pakistan, where power structure disparities are widely accepted, and collectivist cultural norms prevail during IT Change Management, the tolerance for sexual harassment is high, leading to a higher frequency of such instances and vice versa (Phaal et al., 2006; Salisbury, 1996).
This study delves into the repercussions of sexual harassment on critical factors such as job satisfaction and employee turnover within IT Change Management. In light of the findings, it becomes evident that regulatory actions are imperative, mainly when implementing new technology is underway. Regulatory authorities must ensure the effective enforcement of anti-sexual harassment laws, with strict consequences for offenders during IT Change Management.
Cultural dimensions emerge as a pivotal factor, yielding varying conclusions for the developing and developed worlds during IT Change Management (Burrell et al., 2021; Hunt et al., 2010). Developed countries exhibit greater acceptance and flexibility in addressing social taboos, thereby enhancing the efficacy of anti-harassment laws during periods of change. This entails that organizations are committed to ensuring victims receive justice by holding offenders accountable. In contrast, a considerable gap exists in raising awareness of critical social issues such as sexual harassment and addressing them appropriately within IT Change Management. In response, regulatory bodies in countries like Pakistan must accord serious attention to such sensitive concerns and take stringent actions against wrongdoers (Burrell et al., 2021; Hunt et al., 2010).
It can be argued that multinational corporations should perceive workplace sexual harassment as a burgeoning and pressing issue, necessitating policy-level intervention. The strategic imperative lies in creating awareness of these issues in developing countries through comprehensive cross-training programs during IT Change Management (Cheng, 1999; Mishra and Davison, 2020). Practical sexual harassment training should be tailored to encompass cultural nuances, addressing employees’ specific needs and sensitivities. Such strategic policies should be systematically implemented across all developing countries where these organizations operate. Identifying countries with high rates of sexual harassment issues and those with a higher tolerance for such problems becomes central during the IT Change Management process. Initially, awareness programs must be devised in developing nations, fostering an environment where employees feel comfortable discussing any incidents, thereby facilitating the success of the change management program.