Mendoza School of Business

Here is why work is like high school, and it should make you sad

Published: July 18, 2013 / Author: Chris Nerney

The following is an excerpt from IT World that quotes Management Professor Tim Judge on his research that links attractiveness to cruelty in the workplace. A similar article was published in Salon. To read the entire article visit: Here is why work is like high school, and it should make you sad

We all know how it’s supposed to work: Once we become adults, we leave behind the pettiness of our youth, no longer judging others based on superficial traits such as looks.

That’s how it’s supposed to work. But if you’ve long suspected that shallow high school behavior follows us into adulthood and the workplace, I am sad to report that new research confirms your suspicions.

In “Beauty, Personality, and Affect as Antecedents of Counterproductive Work Behavior Receipt,” a paper published in the journal Human Performance, two university professors study negative behavior in the workplace and its impact on employees.

The research by Timothy Judge, professor of management at the University of Notre Dame, and Brent Scott from Michigan State University, shows that physical attractiveness plays as much of a role as personality in how a worker is treated by colleagues.

“The researchers surveyed 114 workers at a health care facility, asking them how often their co-workers treated them cruelly, including saying hurtful things, acting rudely and making fun of them,” according to a Notre Dame statement. “Through digital photos, the workers’ ‘attractiveness’ was then judged by others who didn’t know them.”


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