Nordic working life actors' perspectives on sexual harassment prevention strategies in hospitality and tourism workplaces: Dr Olga Gjerald, University of Stavanger

Event Date: 14 June 2023

Speaker: Dr Olga Gjerald

Time: 1.30pm GMT

Location: CW5.07a or online (please contact for details)


The prevalence of sexual harassment in the tourism and hospitality sector is alarmingly high compared to other sectors, and workers in tourism and hospitality are more exposed to workplace-related mistreatment and violence than many other sectors. Taking the tourism and hospitality sector as a lens, this interdisciplinary project initiates collaborative activities between Nordic working life actors (specifically unions, employer associations and tripartite organisations representing employees, employers and government) and researchers in Iceland, Norway and Sweden. The project creates knowledge exchange opportunities to provide user-friendly industry and educational outcomes that will add clarity to the current murky understanding of sexual harassment in servicescapes dominated by low-paid, precarious workers who are often women, migrants or young people.  The goal of the project is to provide industry organisations with a fuller picture of trans-Nordic prevention and intervention strategies around sexual harassment that can be used to inform new campaigns, strategies and policies moving forward. 

In this project, we ask three key questions:  

  1. How have Nordic working life actors worked with their employees, employers and other stakeholders on prevention of sexual harassment in hospitality and tourism workplaces? 
  2. What are definitions of sexual harassment in the tourism and hospitality sector across different Nordic contexts, and what impacts do these definitions have on the acceptance of behaviours that may be perceived or understood as forms of sexual harassment? 
  3. How can understanding past and current approaches to sexual harassment prevention provide opportunities for future collaboration, exchange of best practice and other initiatives that lead to active prevention strategies for sexual harassment in tourism and hospitality workplaces?

The study adopts a qualitative approach in order to gain in-depth knowledge. The study design consists of three stages: stocktaking activities (collating existing material, in-depth interviews with key working life actors and a broad literature review), two workshops, and knowledge consolidation and dissemination (trans-Nordic). The focus is on three main methods:

  1. Document analysis of texts written in campaigns, information brochures and on webpages connected to the stakeholders in the hospitality industry. 
  2. In-depth interviews with key stakeholders (eg. unions, employer associations and tripartite organisations representing employees, employers and government).
  3.  with key stakeholders and researchers. The workshops have been designed to be both data gathering activities and dissemination activities where we encourage working life actors to work more collaborative to combat issues of sexual harassment

The preliminary findings from this trans-Nordic project will be presented at the seminar.

Published: 1 June 2023

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