Anticipated dissatisfaction with undesirable jobs causes discrimination against attractive candidates
Conference Proceeding Article
With few exceptions, physically attractive candidates are believed to fare better when applying for jobs. However, prior research on attractiveness discrimination in selection decisions focused almost exclusively on desirable jobs, such as well-paid and prestigious jobs. We propose that for less desirable jobs, which may in reality constitute the majority of positions, candidates’ attractiveness may have different consequences. Importantly, employee dissatisfaction is an issue with undesirable jobs (more so than with desirable jobs), and employee dissatisfaction has negative implications for organizations. Therefore, when selecting candidates for undesirable jobs, decision makers try to ascertain whether a candidate would be satisfied in those jobs. Because attractive candidates are stereotyped as feeling entitled to good outcomes, they are seen as more likely to be dissatisfied in undesirable (but not desirable) jobs, and are for that reason discriminated against. Three experiments found support for this theory. Our work shows that different discriminatory processes operate when decision makers select among candidates for undesirable jobs, and that attractive people might be systematically discriminated against in a segment of the workforce that, on average, enjoys fewer benefits in life.
attractiveness, entitlement, selection
Human Resources Management | Organizational Behavior and Theory
Organisational Behaviour and Human Resources
Academy of Management Proceedings: 2016 Meeting, Anaheim, August
Academy of Management
City or Country
LEE, Margaret and PITESA, Marko.
Anticipated dissatisfaction with undesirable jobs causes discrimination against attractive candidates. (2016). Academy of Management Proceedings: 2016 Meeting, Anaheim, August. Research Collection Lee Kong Chian School Of Business.
Available at: http://ink.library.smu.edu.sg/lkcsb_research/5265