Queen's University IRC

Research Briefs – August 2018

Queen's University IRC - Research Briefs

   Bringing Practitioner-Focused Research to People Management Practitioners

Aug 2018   

 

 
 

In This Issue…

  1. The Rising Importance of a National Brand for Organizations – Part 1
  2. Workplace Harassment After #MeToo
  3. Flashback Feature:
    Union Beliefs and Attitudes of Canadian Workers: An Econometric Analysis
  Queen's University Campus 
 

The Rising Importance of a National Brand for Organizations
Part 1: Branding Context & Impact
Françoise Morissette, Queen’s IRC Facilitator, 2018

We are all familiar with corporate brands, focused on either products, services or the overall organization. Solid brands impact recognition, enhance reputation, promote loyalty, influence behaviour and foster engagement.

For instance, since the start of its Olympic partnership in 2013, Canadian Tire has met with great success with its ‘We all play for Canada’ platform “with heavy emphasis on the idea of inclusivity, play, and the importance of communities rallying together: values-based messaging about something that matters to us as a country.” Check out this moving video about combining play and inclusion.

Brands are shaped by a complex set of interdependent factors such as values, vision, mission, strategy, culture, traditions, performance and aspirations. They evolve over time and fluctuate according to external factors like competitive pressures, and internal factors like crisis management: for instance, recalls in the pharmaceutical or auto industry can harm or restore a brand’s image, depending on how they are handled. In the spring of 2018, Facebook data harvesting and sharing scandal, resulted in a brand confidence breakdown, which prompted a worldwide conversation on strengthening privacy protection to safeguard democracy.

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Workplace Harassment After #MeToo
Deborah Hudson, Lawyer, Turnpenney Milne LLP, 2018

On October 5, 2017, the New York Times published an article detailing serious sexual harassment allegations against famous Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. Three days later, his company’s Board of Directors terminated his employment effective immediately. In this context, actress Alyssa Milano took to Twitter, encouraging all women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted to change their status to “Me Too” (a hashtag originally coined by activist Tarana Burke) in order to give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem. Since then, “Me Too” hashtags spread virally across the world’s social media accounts, having reportedly been posted or commented on millions of times. The women who came forward about sexual harassment allegations were referred to as “silence breakers”, and Time Magazine named these “silence breakers” its “2017 Person of the Year”. This movement led to an outpouring of new allegations against various male celebrities and public figures on an ongoing basis. What followed was the rapid downfall of many of those accused, leading to prompt resignations and terminations from their respective roles.

Meanwhile in Canada, two high profile politicians recently resigned promptly after public allegations of sexual harassment and/or misconduct were made. Amidst the #metoo movement, the Toronto Rape Crisis Centre reported an increase in calls. It appears many employers experienced a similar spike in sexual harassment related complaints, likely due to heightened awareness of the issues and women encouraged to speak out by those who already had. Workplace sexual harassment is a complicated subject. It involves far more than inappropriate comments or unwanted sexual advances. Sometimes consensual relationships can be considered sexual harassment when a significant power imbalance exists. Consensual relationships gone sour can turn into sexual harassment if reprisals or unwanted advances occur after the relationship ends. Joking co-workers and jock culture may create a toxic working environment for those exposed to it. Complainants may not wish to come forward due to fear of losing their jobs. Not all complaints are meritorious, leaving some respondents wrongly accused, stigmatized and/or wrongfully dismissed. When receiving a sexual harassment complaint, employers have an obligation to inquire most often by way of an investigation. Third-party or external investigators may be most appropriate in sensitive situations. Given the complexity of sexual harassment issues, findings and fault may not always be clear cut. In some cases, employers should terminate the respondent. In other cases, substantiated findings may not warrant termination, but instead discipline and training. The workplace culture must be considered and may require change, and every circumstance must be considered based on its own facts.

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Flashback Feature:
Union Beliefs and Attitudes of Canadian Workers: An Econometric Analysis
Pradeep Kumar, School of Industrial Relations, Queen's University, 1991

The purpose of this paper is to explore the determinants of union beliefs and attitudes of workers in Canada, and to examine if attitudes towards unions differ systematically by gender, that is, whether men and women differ in their union beliefs and their disposition towards joining a union. Three indicators of union beliefs and attitudes are used in the study: 1) union membership status; 2) general belief that "unions are still needed to protect the interests of working people," and 3) instrumentality perception that "workers benefit from the actions of unions."

This paper was presented at the annual meeting of the Canadian Industrial Relations Association, held at Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario on June 2-4, 1991.

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