When Training Backfires

When we face a major problem like sexual harassment, there’s often pressure within the organization to “do something”–anything, really–and to do it quickly. Often, this “something” takes the form of a hastily-prepared training program.

…a number of studies have documented how sexual harassment prevention training (SHPT) can backfire.

Steele & Vandello

The research indicates, however, that poorly-designed programs can do more harm than good. Specifically, ineffective training programs can result in some participants engaging in more victim-blaming and becoming more dismissive in their attitudes about harassment. Even worse, some participants are less likely to report sexual harassment after the training sessions than they were before.

Read When Training Backfires and What Can Be Done About It in Industrial and Organizational Psychology.

About the Author

Ben Butina, Ph.D.
Dr. Butina, who hosts the Department 12 Podcast, is an industrial-organizational psychologist with interests in training, leadership development, talent management, and positive psychology in the workplace.

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