Mendoza School of Business

Office Bullies Pick on Their Unattractive Co-Workers

Published: August 1, 2013 / Author: Keenan Mayo

Whether or not your unfriendly workplace Johnny Lawrence or Regina George is aware of it, he or she is singling out at least one type of victim with his or her cruelty: less-attractive colleagues.

That’s one of the unhappy conclusions in a study titled “Beauty, Personality, and Affect as Antecedents of Counterproductive Work Behavior Receipt,” recently published in the journal Human Performance. Conducted by professors Brent A. Scott of Michigan State University and Timothy A. Judge of the University of Notre Dame, the experiment drew on a pool of more than 100 health-care professionals. The test subjects were photographed and “evaluated for physical attractiveness by those otherwise unfamiliar with the study,” says Judge in an e-mail. Yes, this experiment began with the scientific equivalent of Hot or Not.

After being rated based on their looks, the subjects were then asked about “the degree to which their co-workers treated them in an uncivil manner at work.” The results, as they say, weren’t pretty.

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Topics: Mendoza