Three essays on the impact of physical attractiveness on individual and interpersonal outcomes in organizations

Lee, Margaret (2018) Three essays on the impact of physical attractiveness on individual and interpersonal outcomes in organizations. Doctoral thesis, University of London: London Business School.


I examine the impact of physical attractiveness on organizational behaviors. In the first chapter, I provide a brief overview of the existing literature on physical attractiveness. The remaining three chapters present empirical work looking at different organizationally-relevant outcomes. The second chapter examines how physical attractiveness, combined with employees' tendencies to compete with same-sex others, clarifies our understanding of gender differences in unethical behavior. We theorize that greater levels of unethical behavior among men occur as a consequence of greater male intrasexual competition for mates. This suggests that more male unethical negotiation behavior should primarily emerge in situations associated with intrasexual competition. Using survey and experimental methods, we find support for our theory. In the third chapter, I extend work on discrimination in selection decisions based on physical attractiveness, showing that a different and unexpected pattern of discrimination occurs in the domain of relatively less desirable jobs. We theorize and find that individuals hold the perception that attractive people feel more entitled to good outcomes than less attractive people. Because of this perception, when decision makers are making hiring decisions for a job that is thought to be relatively less desirable, decision makers judge attractive candidates as more likely to be dissatisfied. Consequently, attractive candidates are discriminated against in the selection for relatively less desirable jobs. The final chapter explores whether the differential importance of physical attractiveness in assessment of men and women lead to differences in status outcomes. I theorize that physical attractiveness is more important to status attainment for women than for men.

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Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subject Areas: Organisational Behaviour
Date Deposited: 10 Feb 2022 10:15
Date of first compliant deposit: 10 Feb 2022
Subjects: Organisational behaviour
Last Modified: 17 Feb 2022 01:38

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