HIGH POINT, N.C., Jan. 20, 2010 ? Dr. Deborah Danzis, associate professor of psychology at High Point University, recently published an article in the December 2009 “Journal of Managerial Psychology.”
The article, titled “Effects of Helper Sex, Recipient Attractiveness, and Recipient Femininity on Helping Behavior in Organizations,” details influences on helping and altruistic behaviors in work organizations, and indicates that when one is deciding whether or not to help a female coworker, a variety of factors affect the decision.
“We found that people responded differently to a coworker needing helping, depending on the extent to which that coworker was physically attractive and traditionally feminine,” Danzis explains. “Participants were put in a situation in which they had the choice about whether or not to help a female acquaintance on a joint task, and the researchers systematically varied the female?s attractiveness or femininity.”
Danzis says she and her co-author ? Dr. Eugene Stone-Romero, a professor from the University of Texas at San Antonio ? found that male participants helped at similar rates, regardless of the coworker?s attractiveness or femininity, possibly due to social expectations about social roles or chivalry norms. But female participants responded very differently to attractiveness and femininity, providing much less help to some attractive and highly feminine women.
“Previous research has suggested that people have a general bias toward helping attractive women, but this research suggests that under certain circumstances, being attractive may actually be detrimental and result in others being less likely to help,” Danzis says. “It is very important to understand behaviors such as helping in work organizations, because companies? effectiveness often depends on cooperation between coworkers to complete the mission of the organization. ? Understanding when these helping behaviors are and are not likely to happen assists employers in figuring out how to encourage and support these behaviors, to the benefit of both the company and the employers involved.”
At High Point University, every student receives an extraordinary education in an inspiring environment with caring people. HPU, located in the Piedmont Triad region of North Carolina, is a liberal arts institution with 3,700 undergraduate and graduate students from 50 countries and 44 states at campuses in High Point and Winston-Salem. It is ranked by US News and World Report No. 5 among comprehensive universities in the South and No. 1 in its category among up-and-coming schools. Forbes.com ranks HPU in the top 6 percent among “America’s Best Colleges.” HPU was included in The Chronicle of Higher Education’s “Great Colleges to Work For” 2009 listings. The university offers 68 undergraduate majors, 40 undergraduate minors and seven graduate degree programs. It is accredited by the Commission of Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, and is a member of the NCAA, Division I and the Big South Conference. Visit High Point University on the Web at www.highpoint.edu or on Twitter at @HighPointU.
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