You may have a degree from Harvard, but a new study shows that your potential to become a Black male CEO depends on how high you measure on the “adorable” scale:
Of the 40 CEOs, 10 were black (only 10 blacks have ever led Fortune 500 companies). For every black CEO, a current or former white CEO from the same company was included. Another 10 CEOs were white women, and 10 white male CEOs were chosen at random.
Participants rated each photo on scale of 1-4 for “babyfaceness,” leadership competence and personal warmth.
To account for differences in perceptions about blacks or whites in general, participants gave separate ratings on warmth and competence for “blacks,” “whites” and “women,” which were factored into the results.
The results showed that black CEOs who rated high on the babyface scale worked for companies that ranked higher in the Fortune 500 and had higher annual revenues than blacks with more mature faces. The reverse was true for whites – the more babyfaced CEOs tended to work for companies that ranked lower and had less annual revenue.
Black CEOs also were described as significantly more babyfaced than white CEOs. The female CEOs were rated as having more mature faces than both blacks and whites.
The study was duplicated with 106 student participants, with similar results.
Livingston said the study indicates that “disarming” characteristics, which have been shown to hinder white executives, can help black leaders.
“If you’re a white male, you can exhibit anger, pound your fist, make ultimatums … African-Americans have to adopt a kinder, gentler style of leadership,” Livingston said. “The same sorts of behaviors that are effective for white males can’t be utilized effectively by black males.”
Livingston said his conclusion is not that babyface black CEOs reached the pinnacle of success because of their looks: “I’m saying that African-American leaders have to adopt certain qualities or behaviors that make them appear less threatening … a babyface gives a certain perception that they’re docile.”
Piss on talent, drive and determination. Now, Black businessmen need to make sure that they’re clean-shaven, exfoliated and endowed with high cheekbones? Any little bullsh*t to keep us under…
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