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Unattractive People More Likely to Be Bullied at Work

"We're more influenced by attractiveness than we are willing to admit."
High school. 

Both the high point and low point experience of growing up.

Why? 

Because every school has an in-crowd and an out-crowd, with the outs often the butt of jokes, teasing and downright mean treatment. 

Do we grow out of it?

Apparently not, according to new research by Timothy Judge, professor of management at the University of Notre Dame's Mendoza College of Business, and Brent Scott of Michigan State University.

In the article "Beauty, Personality, and Affect as Antecedents of Counterproductive Work Behavior Receipt," recently published in the scientific journal, Human Performance, the researchers examine how physical attractiveness plays as much of a role as personality in how a person is treated in the workplace.

According to Judge, "Unattractive individuals are more likely the subject of rude, uncivil and even cruel treatment by their coworkers. And, not only do we, as a society, perceive attractive and unattractive coworkers differently, we act on those perceptions in ways that are hurtful."

"Given that physical attractiveness is not a bona fide occupational qualification for most jobs, our new findings are problematic for society," Judge says. "Worse, research reliably shows that we're more influenced by attractiveness than we are willing to admit."

It's a problem with no easy solution, especially given the increasingly visual nature of communication, according to Judge, who has written and been interviewed extensively about his gender, ambition and work stress research, among other studies.

"Awareness is surely one important step," Judge says. "If we recognize our biases and are more open and honest about their pervasiveness, we'll be in much better shape to combat the influence."

Story Source:  Brent A. Scott, Timothy A. Judge. Beauty, Personality, and Affect as Antecedents of Counterproductive Work Behavior Receipt. Human Performance, 2013

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