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Management Side
The Final Word by Chuck Swann
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On television lately, I have noticed a lot of pretty young women selling automobiles, among other things. I also see a lot of attractive mature women in pitches for products associated with the ills of aging. And I see happy couples smiling and embracing in commercials selling remedies for sexual dysfunction.

This brings us to a consideration of the final "s" in the Four S's that motivate human behavior: status, security, savings and, lastly, sex. Sex sells. That is why there is such a plethora of beautiful women and handsome men in advertising. People who look good get and hold our attention, male or female, young or old, on television or in person.

Using sex to sell is not a concern for managers of mills or offices. Curbing some of the impulses of employee sex drives, however, may well be a concern. I happened to be present in an office setting once when a personnel consultant asked a group of women if sexual harassment was a concern to them. They laughed and one of the ladies said, "Yeah, there's not enough of it." Their humorous response to the consultant's question was simply their lighthearted way of saying that they did not experience any such harassment, and their workplace was a happy and safe one for them. Such may not be the case for all women in all work places.

I introduced this series on the Four S's by explaining how they are used in advertising because they are the bases of practically all human behavioral decisions. Workplace behavior motivated or influenced by the sex drive most definitely is a management concern. Once upon a time, women who were sexually harassed simply endured it or quit their jobs. Nowadays they may file lawsuits.

Sensitivity training for employees is a necessity today. They must be instructed clearly in what is acceptable behavior with the opposite sex--and what is not acceptable. This training can take place in gatherings of employees (particularly men), posters in locker rooms, even letters in paycheck envelopes. But do not neglect it. To do so is to expose your company to potential liability.
Chuck Swann is the senior editor of Paperitalo Publications. He can be reached by email at chuck.swann@taii.com.
 

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