Traditionally, in business organizations men performed the tasks associated with the prevailing male sexual script by initiating and dominating, whereas women engaged in supportive tasks and passively awaited assignments. The expectations for women as office wives have for some incorporated acting sexy, perhaps exemplifying sex-role spillover (Gutek, 1985). Some men want young women working for them perhaps because they can continue to hold the image of themselves as sexually potent or attractive. Further, organizations may have clients who perceive that sexual by-play with female personnel constitutes another perk, a benefit like lodging and golf games, and by their actions create a hostile environment for female employees.
Yet, until more fundamental changes occur in sexual scripts, women may stand a better chance in these client serving business organizations than in others we have discussed. Businesses cannot afford negative publicity surrounding sexual harassment cases. Businesses focus on economic issues; if they are at risk of a law suit, they may lose money and customers. К-Mart spent $3.2 million in 1987 in a sexual harassment settlement, and the Marriott Corporation in 1988 spent $3 million in back pay to 3,000 female employees who claimed they had been denied promotions (Benok – raitis & Feagin, 1995). Private sector employers may actually slight the due process required for the accused in the public sector to forestall legal and economic penalties (Robinson, Allen, Franklin, & Duhon, 1993). Other noticeable costs to businesses include the loss of creative personnel, increased absenteeism and turnover, low morale, and overall loss in profit (Benokraitis & Feagin, 1995). Thus in these organizations the impact of hierarchical arrangements linked to traditional conceptions of roles appropriate for men and women may persist; economic incentives provide an impetus for change.