Obese workers not lazier, says new study

July 19th, 2008 - 2:51 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, July 19 (IANS) Obese workers are not lazier, emotionally unstable and harder to get along with than their thinner colleagues, says a new study that demolishes some of the stereotypes about such people. Overweight and obese adults were not found to be significantly less conscientious, less agreeable, less extraverted or less emotionally stable.

Mark Roehling, associate professor in Michigan State University, and two of his colleagues based the study on the relationship between body weight and personality traits of 3,500 adults.

“Previous research has demonstrated that many employers hold negative stereotypes about obese workers, and those beliefs contribute to discrimination against overweight workers at virtually. . . from hiring to promotion to firing,” Roehling said.

“This study goes a step further by examining whether there is empirical support for these commonly held negative stereotypes. Are they based on fact or fiction? Our results suggest that the answer is fiction.”

The findings are based on two separate but convergent national studies. Roehling, who’s also a lawyer, said the practical implication of the research is that employers should take steps to prevent managers from using weight as a predicator of personality traits when it comes to hiring, promoting or firing.

“Employers concerned about the fair and effective management of their work force,” Roehling said, “should be proactive in preventing negative stereotypes about overweight workers from influencing employment decisions.”

The research appeared in the current edition of Group & Organization Management.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Posted in World |