Lessons from a Singapore Campus Sexual Harassment Case: Escalation of Incidents and Implications for Organisational Risk Management

Dr Majeed Khader, MS  Tan Mingyi Eunice1, MS  Charmaine  Lee Siew Ling1
1Ministry of Home Affairs, Singapore, Singapore

Lessons from a Singapore Campus Sexual Harassment Case: Escalation of Incidents and Implications for Organisational Risk Management  Risk  management  is  key  to  complement  the  day-to-day  operations  in  any organisation  in  order  to  ensure  the  sustainability  of  the  operations  and strategic relevance of the organisation. Aside from the immediate impact to the  organisation  post-incident,  at  times,  the  larger  risk  and  subsequent damage to the organisation lies in the potential of an incident to escalate past the triggering event.  As such, it becomes key for organisations to accurately assess the potential of an event from escalating and posing further risks to the organisation.   This  presentation  centres  on  a  recent  case  of  sexual  harassment  of  a  local university  student  that  had  gained  both  local  and  international  media attention.  It  considers  the  risks  faced  by,  and  negative  impact  on,  the institution  due  to  the  escalation  of  the  incident  (e.g.,  negative  publicity following from the perceived failure of the institution in meeting the needs of stakeholders). What were the organisational ‘blind spots’ that had warranted more  attention  and  which  may  have  prevented  or  minimised  the  incident’s escalation?  How  can  organisational  structures  and  response  approaches  be enhanced to better manage risks in similar contexts? The presentation seeks to examine and address these.   The research  adopts a case study approach in combination with a review of relevant  academic  literature  and  organisational  best  practices  on  risk management, as well as the gathering and analysis of case-relevant qualitative data.  Following  from  an  analysis  of  the  case  incident,  implications  for organisations in assessing and mitigating the risk of incident escalation will be highlighted and discussed from a systems perspective (e.g., signal detection, cultural factors).


Biography:

Dr. Majeed Khader is a forensic psychologist in Singapore and the Director of the Home Team Behavioural Sciences Centre. He is the Chief Psychologist of the  Ministry  of  Home  Affairs  and  also  the  Asian  Director  of  the  US  based Society  of  Police  and  Criminal  Psychology.  A  graduate  from  the  National University of Singapore, Majeed also holds a Masters degree (with Distinction) in Forensic Psychology from Leicester University (U.K) and a PhD in Psychology, (specialising in crisis and personality) from Aberdeen University, Scotland. The first formally trained forensic psychologist in Singapore, Majeed has overseen the development of psychological services in the areas of stress, counselling, resilience,  personnel  selection,  leadership  development,  crisis  negotiations, crime profiling, and crisis psychology in law enforcement settings. For his work in  the  psychology  of  terrorism,  he  was  awarded  two  National  Day  Public Administration Medals (in 2006 and 2014). Dr Majeed is Associate Professor (Adjunct)  and  teaches  forensic  and  criminal  psychology  at  the  Nanyang Technological University.  He is a Registered Psychologist with the Singapore Psychological  Society,  and  a  member  of  the  British  Psychological  Society, American Psychological Association and Australian Psychological Society.   Ms. Eunice Tan is a Principal Psychologist and Senior Assistant Director of the Operations  and  Leadership  Psychology  Branch,  Home  Team  Behavioural Sciences  Centre  (HTBSC),  Ministry  of  Home  Affairs,  Singapore.  She  holds  a Masters  degree  (with  distinction)  in  Investigative  and  Forensic  Psychology from  the  University  of  Liverpool  (United  Kingdom)  and  is  a  member  of  the Society for Police and Criminal Psychology (SPCP), USA. Eunice has twice served as  Head  Scientific  Committee  in  the  Asian  Conference  of  Criminal  and Operations  Psychology  (ACCOP).  Her  research  interests  include  talent assessment and development, crisis leadership, organisational deviance, and more recently, organisational health, change management and employee well- being.   Ms. Charmaine Lee graduated from the National University of Singapore with a  Bachelor  of  Social  Sciences  (Major  in  Psychology),  highest  distinction.  Her thesis research was presented at the Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Therapies  Annual  Convention  and  National  Psychology  Graduate  Student Conference  in  2017,  and  published  in  Psychiatry  Research  in  2019.  She  has since worked as a psychologist with the Operations and Leadership Psychology Branch  of  the  Home  Team  Behavioural  Sciences  Centre,  where  she  has undertaken  research  in  the  areas  of  organisational  deviance,  wellbeing  and crisis  leadership.  Beyond  work,  she  has  been  and  continues  to  be  an  active volunteer  with  the  Victim  Care  Cadre  of  the  Police  Psychological  Services Department.

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