A 2009 research conducted by Robert Livingston and Nicholas Pearce from Northwestern University suggests that while having a baby face is negatively correlated with success among white male CEOs, this “look” contributed to the success of black CEOs.
In their study, they found that Black baby-faced CEOs were warmer than White CEOs, and they also tended to lead more prestigious corporations along with higher salaries as compared to their more mature-looking black CEO counterparts. They concluded that having a baby-face for blacks is a disarming mechanism that facilitates success simply because it is able to dissipate the stereotype that blacks are threatening.
The implication of this on leadership of black CEOs is that they can tend to exhibit more self-monitoring behaviour which may lead to impairment of their executive functioning. This behaviour backfires in terms of the cost it can have on the organisational leadership and decision making processes, as they will have to be more constrained in the their expressions simply because of the colour of their skin and the stereotypical demeanour.
Nonetheless, it is still important to note that this feature can itself lift a black executive up the ranks more quickly than a non-baby-faced counterpart. Plastic surgery anyone?
**The original article was published by the Association of Psychological Science (Vol 20 Issue 10, Oct 2009).
Follow the Magazine:
(After you have filled in your email address in the column at the right hand side of the screen, a confirmation email will sent to your email address. You will have to confirm it before subscription begins)
Follow us on Twitter:
Like us on Facebook: