Breaking News

It Pays to Be Pretty... In More Ways than One

August 1, 2013

Homely workers are more likely to be picked on.

It may not be fair, but the ugly truth is that good-looking people get paid more than unsightly folks. Now it turns out that less attractive workers are more likely to get picked on in the office, too.

“Beauty, Personality, and Affect as Antecedents of Counterproductive Work Behavior Receipt,” recently published in the journal Human Performance. Conducted by professors Brent A. Scott of Michigan State University and Timothy A. Judge of the University of Notre Dame, the experiment drew on a pool of more than 100 health-care professionals. The test subjects were photographed and “evaluated for physical attractiveness by those otherwise unfamiliar with the study,” says Judge in an e-mail. Yes, this experiment began with the scientific equivalent of Hot or Not.

After being rated based on their looks, the subjects were then asked about “the degree to which their co-workers treated them in an uncivil manner at work.” The results, as they say, weren’t pretty.

The subjects who were considered unattractive reported incidents of being tormented. “It is not merely the characteristics of the [bully] that drive bullying behavior at work—as has mostly been the assumption in past research,” says Judge. “The characteristics of the targets of bullying are important as well. We found that both the inner (personality) and outer (physical attractiveness) influence the degree to which others behave in a negative way toward us at work.” In other words, if you’re unattractive and lack self-confidence, you could be unwittingly “inviting” a bully to ruin your day.

While many people may believe that this type of behavior is confined to high school cafeterias, workplace bullying has come to light in recent years as a serious issue. “Counterproductive work behavior,” as it’s otherwise known, is characterized by abuse, aggression, antisocial behavior, incivility, social undermining, and workplace deviance, according to Scott and Judge. Or, as Joe Grimm, editor of the book The New Bullying: How Social Media, Social Exclusion, Laws and Suicide Have Changed Our Definition of Bullying, told Bloomberg Businessweek last year: “In a lot of workplaces, it’s just considered part of workplace culture: browbeating, intimidation, cutting people off, and being the loudest in the room with an opinion.” In a survey last year, CareerBuilder reported that 35 percent of employees said they had been bullied at work.

Bullying can be costly, as well. A Gallup poll in 2008 of more than a million workers revealed that an “overbearing boss” was the No. 1 reason employees quit their jobs. “If you quit because of bullying, it would take a company twice your annual salary to replace you: flying in job candidates, hiring, and training,” said Grimm.

According to Judge, the point of their study was awareness. “We know from substantial research that physical attraction influences hiring decisions, earnings, career success, and now how our colleagues treat us at work,” he says. “Very few of us would admit that we take attractiveness into consideration in how we treat our co-workers—yet our study suggests that we do.”

 

Related End-User Markets:

blog comments powered by Disqus
  • ‘Lash’-ing Out!

    ‘Lash’-ing Out!

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||August 29, 2016
    All eyes are on Lash Star Beauty, a lash-centric beauty brand that recently made its QVC debut.

  • Long Term Sustainability In the Nonwovens Market

    Long Term Sustainability In the Nonwovens Market

    August 23, 2016
    Learn more at Cleaning Products USA, Nov. 9-11, 2016

  • TLC for Those Who Need It Most

    TLC for Those Who Need It Most

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||August 22, 2016
    New curriculum debuting at Bellus Academy helps estheticians treat a population that needs TLC.

  • Special Effects

    Special Effects

    Melissa Meisel, Associate Editor||August 1, 2016
    Fall 2016 color cosmetics reflect light and offer a focus on elements like pigment, slip and wear.

  • Sustainability is Omnipresent

    Sustainability is Omnipresent

    Christine Esposito , Associate Editor||July 1, 2016
    Industry stakeholders convene in New York City for Organic Monitor’s annual event

  • Perceived Perfection

    Perceived Perfection

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||July 1, 2016
    From primers to pressed powders, facial cosmetics help create the illusion of a flawless complexion.