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).