comeliness over competence

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The Concourse's the CEO look is brutal:

The duties of CEOs vary somewhat from company to company, but they all have a few things in common:
  • They are paid an astounding sum of money, relative to the people who do the actual "work."
  • They justify their salary by taking credit for everything that goes right and blaming everything that goes wrong on rogue employees or uncontrollable "market forces." And,
  • They are okay to look at.

"The third point is very important," the piece continues:

CEOs need not have model looks, but they do need to have a reassuring look, like airline pilots. When you watch a CEO speak, you must think to yourself, "This middle-aged white male has everything under control." Whether or not that is in fact the case is a minor, secondary point. There are underlings for that.

"A CEO job is welfare for dudes with salt-and-pepper hair," it states, citing this WSJ piece on CEOs "looking the part" [which cites the study "A Corporate Beauty Contest"]:

Study participants were shown pairs of photos, one of a CEO and one of a non-CEO of the same race, age and gender. Despite not knowing which of the pair was the CEO and having no other biographical knowledge, the online survey takers (mostly students at Duke University) rated the CEOs as looking more competent than the non-CEOs, based on facial characteristics.

In a separate experiment, survey takers labeled large-company CEOs as looking more competent than their counterparts at smaller firms.

Privileging comeliness over competence seems to be a hallmark of our age:

Understanding these subconscious behavioral biases is important because there is no evidence that looking competent leads to better business decisions, according to the researchers.

"The look of competence isn't correlated with superior performance," Dr. Graham says.

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This page contains a single entry by cognitivedissident published on February 17, 2017 3:42 PM.

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