‘Ugly’ Finding: Unattractive Workers Suffer More

via Michigan State University Ugly group

People who are considered unattractive are more likely to be belittled and bullied in the workplace, according to a first-of-its-kind study led by a Michigan State University business scholar.

“Frankly, it’s an ugly finding,” said Brent Scott, associate professor of management and lead investigator on the study. “Although we like to think we’re professional and mature in the workplace, it can be just like high school in many ways.”

While plenty of research has found that attractive students tend to be more popular in school, the study is the first to link attractiveness to cruelty in the workplace. The results appear in the research journal Human Performance.

The researchers surveyed 114 workers at a health care facility in the southeastern United States. The workers were asked how often their co-workers engaged in cruel behavior toward them (which included saying hurtful things, acting rudely and making fun of them).

People who didn’t know the study participants judged their attractiveness from digital photos.

The unattractive workers were treated much more harshly than attractive employees even when other key factors were taken into account, including age, gender and how long they had worked at the health care facility.

The researchers also collected information on how agreeable or friendly the workers were, based on questionnaires completed by their spouses, partners or good friends. The study found that disagreeable workers, like unattractive employees, were treated more harshly than their co-workers.

“Our findings revealed that both personality and appearance matter,” Scott said.

Knowing the potential targets of hurtful behavior could help managers monitor susceptible employees to prevent them from becoming victims or to provide counseling and social support if prevention attempts fail, he said.

  • john doe

    survival of the fittest. attractive people have better genetics so this is an expression of a natural hierarchy, it is as it should be. sorry uggos!

    • echar

      Are you sure that societies obsession with perceived beauty is not a learned behavior that may have no genetic benefit at all?

      • john doe

        ‘perceived beauty’ lol, certain aspects of beauty like fashion and body size are partially cultural, but for the most part things like facial beauty are based on symmetries of facial features hard coded into the brain to be found attractive, and biologists have linked at least some of these features to genetic strengths. For example, fat men tend to have weaker immune systems than fit men. This relates to the positive relationship between the immune system and testosterone, and high testosterone levels are associated with other masculine ‘beauty’ traits, like having broad shoulders or a defined jawline. Such traits are ‘perceived’ as attractive in just about every society in the world, and the exceptions don’t disprove the rule, they just demonstrate that the influence of culture is strong enough as to encourage dysgenic sexual aberrance to a certain extent.

        • echar

          You caught my presupposition, well done.

    • Joshua Deeds

      Well it’s a good thing you’re not cowardly and all.. John Doe.

      • john doe

        good thing you’re not passive aggressive and all, Joshua Deeds

    • kowalityjesus

      attractiveness is NOT genetic

  • http://www.ContraControl.com/ Zenc

    “could help managers monitor susceptible employees to prevent them from becoming victims or to provide counseling and social support”

    That sounds expensive.

    More likely they’ll just use this as a justification to simply not hire the “unattractive”.

    In a decade we’ll be reading about how many “unattractive” people are on Unemployment and Welfare.

    A few years after that and maybe HillaryCare will cover elective plastic surgery. I bet she could get the Republicans to go along with it, if she sold it as Government Welfare for Corporations and not assistance to actual People.

    All that being said, the study’s sample size seemed a tad small to serve as the basis for any sweeping changes in social policy.

    • echar

      Free Brawndo for the pretty!

  • Rhoid Rager

    Please don’t tell me that I’m the only one that perceives a change in ‘attractiveness’ or ‘repulsiveness’ after getting to know someone for a while. I’ve talked to some supposed ‘pretty’ girls for about 30 minutes and they’ve really started to look hag-like.