Bald is better (?!...)

Updated: Oct 6, 2019

Surprisingly, it appears true that bald is better for men in the workplace. A recent study showed that observers believe a male's shaved head indicates greater masculinity, dominance, and leadership potential than longer or thinning hair.

Thinning hair was perceived as the least powerful look, and other studies have agreed that male-pattern baldness (when some hair remains) is not considered advantageous. Why is this? In some respects, the reported youthful advantage of a shaved head is counter-intuitive. Because we have more hair when we are young, and contemporary culture considers youthfulness a desirable characteristic in the workplace, it would make more sense for a hairless head to be a distinct disadvantage.

Yet the media is loaded with images of powerful men with shaved heads - military heroes, winning athletes, and action heroes. A bald head has become the hallmark of some important business leaders, notably Jeff Bezos of Amazon, Lloyd Blankfein of Goldman Sachs, Marc Andreessen of Netscape, and "Shark tank" investor Daymond John.

Men who shave their heads report it can give them a business advantage, whether or not it makes them look younger (which is debatable). According to psychologist Caroline Keating, just as older silver-back gorillas are "typically the powerful actors in their social groups," so it is in the office, where baldness may "signal who is in charge and potentially dangerous". Research professor Michael Cunningham agrees, adding that baldness "is nature's way of telling the rest of the world you are a survivor". Men with shaved heads convey aggressiveness, competitiveness, and interdependence, he adds.

Will you join the 13 percent of men who shave their heads? Though we don't wish to advocate head-shaving for this reason, it does demonstrate how biased we continue to be in judging people by superficial characteristics.

Time will tell if this situation ever improves.

ource: Organizational behavior - Pearson


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