Anticipated Dissatisfaction Causes Discrimination against Attractive Candidates

Lee, Margaret and Pillutla, M (2016) Anticipated Dissatisfaction Causes Discrimination against Attractive Candidates. Academy of Management Proceedings, 2016 (1). ISSN 2151-6561

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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.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: The research article was published by the author with the affiliation of London Business School
Subjects: Organizational Behaviour
Date Deposited: 25 Sep 2021 12:17
Last Modified: 11 Jul 2023 13:04

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