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A new study on sexual behaviour in the workplace reveals that men in less-powerful positions are more likely to flirt or harass coworkers as they seek to move up. 

Men in low-power positions are most likely to flirt with moving up 

Often research and stereotypes on sexuality and gender in office have been focusing on men in powerful positions and women in low-power positions. However, the latest research findings dispel the notion that women use sexual appeal at work to move up. 

According to University of California-Berkeley researchers, males who feel uneasy about their position within the company are nonetheless the ones that engage in sexually explicit conduct and potentially unwelcome comments. In addition, men who hold such “low-power positions” are inclined to engage in “unwanted social behaviour” and refer to themselves as delightful flirts at work.

Findings showed that men in low-power positions tend to justify their big flirting in the workplace by trying to project the image of authority. Heterosexual men are most inclined to flirt with supervisors than women in subordinate positions. 

Men are the only ones who “turn up the harassment with coworkers” whenever they feel they have too little authority, even though some women also make comparable strategic overtures to their sexual or physical nature.

The Study debunks the myth that women flirt with moving positions in the workplace

Laura Kray, who studies gender roles at UC Berkley’s Hass School of Business, said that most of the research has focused on men in powerful positions. However, after several studies, the myth has been debunked. It is not men in power only who can take advantage of coworkers sexually. Kray said that they found that insecure men about their role are likely to use unwanted social sexual behaviour to look powerful and more masculine even when they know it is offensive to women. 

Researchers found that men turn to workplace flirtation because of the “desire for more power-not holding power”, which affects their intentions toward coworkers. The behaviour is common in men who self-identify as “flirts” with seemingly inflated or fragile views about their role in the workplace.