Affecting the Behavior Outcomes of Employees through Harassment Training

by Mike Miranda

In her article “The Impact of Training and Conflict Avoidance on Response to Sexual Harassment,” Caren B. Goldberg conducts a study to examine and analyze the effects of sexual harassment training on employees. Goldberg discovers that sexual harassment training positively affects the behavior of employees as well as the ability of employees to avoid harassment conflicts all together.

Goldberg explains that the best form of prevention concerning the behaviors of employees is providing them with the knowledge to identify and understand what sexual harassment is. Therefore, training should be aimed at altering the perception of the likely target of sexual harassment. If the target is knowledgeable on what harassment is, they will be prepared to stop harassment by articulating that such behavior is unacceptable and should be stopped. This she argues will help increase the likelihood of good behavior and quickly end harassment.

While Goldberg argues that knowledge of harassment behavior helps to distinguish harassment, she also explains that adequate harassment training should provide potential targets with the mode to be able to handle a high amount of conflict within such a sensitive situation. This can only be done by making sure people are educated in the means of understanding their own conflict resolution style. As such, training sessions should utilize Blake and Mouton’s five structured conflict resolution model—which has been adapted over the years. This model is beneficial because it helps potential targets work through the steps needed to avoid potentially risky conflicts. The steps that should be stressed in training should include collaboration, accommodation, competition, compromise, and avoidance.

In her study, Goldberg found that participants who were trained through the uses of behavioral control and conflict resolution styles were most likely to put an end to sexual harassment on their own, while engaging in behaviors that would force the perpetrator to evaluate their actions.

The results of Goldberg’s study explain reveal that the best form of prevention for potential targets is being able to understand, handle, and control a situation that may be considered harassment. As such, when thinking about harassment programs Clear Law Institute takes studies such as Goldberg’s into consideration when providing behavioral centered training through training sessions. For more information, visit

Mike Miranda is a writer and blogger for Clear Law Institute. He specializes in employment law articles.

Goldberg, Caren B. "The Impact Of Training And Conflict Avoidance On Responses To Sexual Harassment." Psychology Of Women Quarterly 31.1 (2007): 62-72. SocINDEX with Full Text. Web. 7 Jan. 2015.

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