Sexuality at work:Female secretaries’ experiences in the context of Chinese culture

Alicia S M LEUNG*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


The current study explored the dynamics of sexuality that are embodied in secretaries’ work experiences. The study found that sexuality infused the process for recruitment, selection, and personnel development in organisations, but it made a distinction between junior and senior secretaries. The study also revealed that the boss-secretary relation was linked to Chinese cultural values and traditions, especially those associated with filial piety and respect for authority. The boss-secretary relation remained personal, but the Confucian ethic governed and guided the behaviour within the relationships. Secretaries accepted the “patriarchal right” and were deferential and compliant to meet men's professional and personal demands. In respect to the boss-secretary relation, the male boss might be a soft father, a demanding master, or a peer-like friend with some overlapping qualities. Father-daughter discourse was the most visible aspect of structural domination. Limitations and implications for future study are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)506-522
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Managerial Psychology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2002

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Applied Psychology
  • Management Science and Operations Research
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management

User-Defined Keywords

  • China
  • Discrimination
  • Gender
  • Secretaries


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