The Effect of Physical Height on Workplace Success and Income: Preliminary Test of a Theoretical Model

Department of Management, Warrington College of Business, University of Florida, Gainesville 32611, USA.
Journal of Applied Psychology (Impact Factor: 4.31). 07/2004; 89(3):428-41. DOI: 10.1037/0021-9010.89.3.428
Source: PubMed


In this article, the authors propose a theoretical model of the relationship between physical height and career success. We then test several linkages in the model based on a meta-analysis of the literature, with results indicating that physical height is significantly related to measures of social esteem (rho =.41), leader emergence (rho =.24), and performance (rho =.18). Height was somewhat more strongly related to success for men (rho =.29) than for women (rho =.21), although this difference was not significant. Finally, given that almost no research has examined the relationship between individuals' physical height and their incomes, we present four large-sample studies (total N = 8,590) showing that height is positively related to income (beta =.26) after controlling for sex, age, and weight. Overall, this article presents the most comprehensive analysis of the relationship of height to workplace success to date, and the results suggest that tall individuals have advantages in several important aspects of their careers and organizational lives.

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Article: The Effect of Physical Height on Workplace Success and Income: Preliminary Test of a Theoretical Model

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    • "This legitimacy, however, may not always be beneficial in terms of leading performance if leader's demographic features are in question solely. Features such as gender (Eagly et al. 1995; Thompson 2000) and height or age (Judge and Cable 2004; Stogdill 1974) are not always related to leadership effectiveness. An interesting event is that some scholars have tried to step out the legitimacy issue entirely while considering leader emergence. "
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    • "In addition, a variety of systematic biases are evident: age effects and ''halo'' effects have been reported (e.g., Murphy & Balzer, 1986). Subjects' height (Judge & Cable, 2004); facial attractiveness (Hosoda, Stone- Romero, & Coats, 2003); and unconscious ethnic bias (Berry, Clark, & McClure, 2011; Jencks, 1998; Stauffer & Buckley, 2005), have all been shown to influence supervisor ratings of work performance. In describing the difficulties, in his own experience, of seeking objective supervisor ratings across a wide range of jobs, Guion (2006) says, ''Perhaps, indeed, we should abandon the pretence about 'objective', 'true', or 'hard' criteria of proficiency in performance'' (pp. "
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    • "Physically shorter or height dissatisfied individuals report less appearance self-esteem, physical self-worth, and general appearance satisfaction (Chen et al., 2006; Jackson & Chen, 2008a, 2008b; Tiggemann, Martins, & Churchett, 2008), as well as lower levels of general self-esteem (Chen et al., 2006; Judge & Cable, 2004; Swami et al., 2008) and subjective well-being (Carrieri & De Paola, 2012). Because diet and exercise may not affect height to the extent that they can influence body weight and shape, dissatisfaction with stature even drives some to undergo expensive, potentially crippling, leg-lengthening operations to increase height (Campens, Mousny, & Docquier, 2010; Watts, 2004). "
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