Professor of Organisational Behaviour
Attractiveness, Bias, Discrimination, Selection Decisions;
People generally hold positive stereotypes of physically attractive people and because of those stereotypes often treat them more favorably. However, the authors propose that some beliefs about attractive people, specifically, the perception that attractive individuals have a greater sense of entitlement than less attractive individuals, can result in negative treatment of attractive people. They examine this in the context of job selection and propose that for relatively less desirable jobs, attractive candidates will be discriminated against.The authors argue that the ascribed sense of entitlement to good outcomes leads to perceptions that attractive individuals are more likely to be dissatisfied working in relatively less desirable jobs. When selecting candidates for relatively less desirable jobs, decision makers try to ascertain whether a candidate would be satisfied in those jobs, and the stereotype of attractive individuals feeling entitled to good outcomes makes decision makers judge attractive candidates as more likely to be dissatisfied in relatively less (but not more) desirable jobs. Consequently, attractive candidates are discriminated against in the selection for relatively less desirable jobs. Four experiments found support for this theory. Our results suggest that different discriminatory processes operate when decision makers select among candidates for relatively less desirable jobs and that attractive people might be systematically discriminated against in a segment of the workforce.