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When beauty helps and when it hurts: An organizational context model of attractiveness discrimination in selection decisions

Lee, S; Pitesa, M; Pillutla, M; Thau, S; (2015) When beauty helps and when it hurts: An organizational context model of attractiveness discrimination in selection decisions. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes , 128 pp. 15-28. 10.1016/j.obhdp.2015.02.003. Green open access

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Abstract

We propose and test a theory explaining how and why decision makers engage in attractiveness discrimination in selection decisions. We integrate status generalization with interdependence theories and contextualize attractiveness discrimination within interdependent relationships among decision makers and candidates. Drawing on status generalization theory, we propose that decision makers associate attractiveness with competence in male but not in female candidates. We then draw on interdependence theory to propose that cooperative and competitive interdependence result in opposing patterns of attractiveness discrimination. When decision makers expect to cooperate with the candidate, they perceive attractive male candidates as more capable cooperators and discriminate in their favor. When decision makers expect to compete with the candidate, they perceive attractive male candidates as more capable competitors, and discriminate against them. Four studies, using different samples, selection tasks, manipulations of candidate attractiveness, and manipulations of interdependence, found evidence consistent with the theory.

Type: Article
Title: When beauty helps and when it hurts: An organizational context model of attractiveness discrimination in selection decisions
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.obhdp.2015.02.003
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.obhdp.2015.02.003
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright Elsevier 2015. This article is published under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial Non-derivative 4.0 International license (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0). This license allows you to share, copy, distribute and transmit the work for personal and non-commercial use providing author and publisher attribution is clearly stated. Further details about CC BY licenses are available at http://creativecommons.org/ licenses/by/4.0. Access may be initally restricted by the publisher.
Keywords: Selection decisions; Attractiveness discrimination; Status generalization theory; Interdependence theory
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > UCL School of Management
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1466583
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