Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Does your personality and how you look affect how you're treated at work?

Date:
August 1, 2013
Source:
Taylor & Francis
Summary:
Is it a coincidence that the least attractive people in your office are the butt of all the jokes? A new study would suggestthat it’s not.

Is it a coincidence that the least attractive people in your office are the butt of all the jokes? A study just published in the journal Human Performance would suggest that it's not.

Brent A. Scott and Timothy A. Judge wanted to learn more about counterproductive work behaviour (CWB), understood as "behavior intended to hurt the organization or other members of the organization." In particular, they wanted to know what made certain employees a target of workplace abuse, aggression or anti-social activity.

The pair tested a model suggesting that being on the receiving end of CWB is related to an employee's personality, his or her appearance, and negative emotions felt toward them by co-workers. Scott and Judge identified employee characteristics likely to encourage emotion in their co-workers and to be associated (or not) with receiving abuse: neuroticism (the tendency to experience negative emotions such as anger, hostility and anxiety), agreeableness (the tendency to be altruistic, warm and considerate), and physical attractiveness (as rated by others).

The authors discovered that disagreeable and physically unattractive employees received more abuse from their co-workers, and that co-workers felt more negatively about them, leading, again, to abuse.

While it's no surprise that 'neurotic' co-workers might get a rougher ride in the canteen than the 'agreeable' ones, the notion of beauty shielding workers from harmful banter is more complicated. Scott and Judge refer to previous studies for some explanations. They note that physically attractive people are judged by others as friendlier, more likeable, and more socially appealing than physically unattractive people; they're also treated better by others than unattractive individuals, even at work.

Emotions play a big part in predicting who might suffer abuse in the office, and beauty, a "socially desirable characteristic," can certainly bring them out. As Scott and Judge explain, "Attractive people may be aesthetically pleasant to others, eliciting positive emotion, while unattractive people may be aesthetically unpleasant to others, eliciting negative emotion."

What do the results of this Human Performance study mean for office politics? Scott and Judge suggest that if managers know who might become targets of abuse, it might help them to prevent them becoming victims in the first place, or to provide support if they do.

As for the rest of us, "Although it is difficult to alter one's physical attractiveness and, presumably, one's level of agreeableness," they write, "employees should realize that, whether fair or unfair, appearances and personality matter in the workplace."

While you might've been told as a child that it's "what's on the inside" that counts, it's now very clear that "what's on the outside" counts just as much, at least around the water cooler.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Taylor & Francis. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Brent A. Scott, Timothy A. Judge. Beauty, Personality, and Affect as Antecedents of Counterproductive Work Behavior Receipt. Human Performance, 2013; 26 (2): 93 DOI: 10.1080/08959285.2013.765876

Cite This Page:

Taylor & Francis. "Does your personality and how you look affect how you're treated at work?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 August 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130801142244.htm>.
Taylor & Francis. (2013, August 1). Does your personality and how you look affect how you're treated at work?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130801142244.htm
Taylor & Francis. "Does your personality and how you look affect how you're treated at work?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130801142244.htm (accessed April 18, 2014).

Share This



More Science & Society News

Friday, April 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism

Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism

AP (Apr. 18, 2014) Operators of recreational businesses on western reservoirs worry that ongoing drought concerns will keep boaters and other visitors from flocking to the popular summer attractions. (April 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Small Reactors Could Be Future of Nuclear Energy

Small Reactors Could Be Future of Nuclear Energy

AP (Apr. 17, 2014) After the Fukushima nuclear disaster, the industry fell under intense scrutiny. Now, small underground nuclear power plants are being considered as the possible future of the nuclear energy. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Heartbleed Hack Leads To Arrest

Heartbleed Hack Leads To Arrest

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) A 19-year-old computer science student has been arrested in relation to a data breach of 900 social insurance numbers from Canada's revenue agency. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) The breakthrough could mean a cure for some serious diseases and even the possibility of human cloning, but it's all still a way off. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins