Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science in Business Administration

Degree Level





Anand, Dr. Vikas

Committee Member/Reader

Rapert, Dr. Molly


Abstract: The impact of a woman’s physical attractiveness on the height of her glass ceiling

It is the purpose of this thesis to identify whether or not a woman’s level of physical attractiveness has any impact on the height of her glass ceiling. The thesis first provides a comprehensive review of literature and previous studies. It is well established by prior research that attractiveness is beneficial to women pursuing entry-level employment, but there have been mixed conclusions as to whether or not attractiveness is beneficial or detrimental for women seeking employment at the managerial level (Heilman and Saruwatari, 1979; Hosoda, Stone-Romero, and Coats, 2003). Studies have not yet looked at the impact of attractiveness on employment decisions at levels beyond management. Based on the literature, this thesis hypothesizes that attractiveness will be detrimental to women seeking managerial and executive employment and that attractive women will receive lower performance evaluations.

This thesis tests these hypotheses by developing an objective scale for attractiveness and then varying the level of attractiveness of identical applicants for managerial and executive job openings.

All of the proposed hypotheses in this thesis were rejected. There is no statistically significant evidence to suggest that attractiveness is detrimental for women seeking managerial or executive employment. In fact, the results suggest the opposite in one scenario, showing with near significance that attractiveness may in fact be beneficial to women seeking employment at the executive level.


Heilman, M. E. and Saruwatari, L. R. (1979). When beauty is beastly: The effects of appearance and sex on evaluations of job applicants for managerial and nonmanagerial jobs. Organizational Behavior and Human Performance, 23, 360-372.

Hosoda, M., Stone-Romero, E. F., Coats, G. (2003). The effect of physical attractiveness on job related outcomes: A meta-analysis of experimental studies. Personnel Psychology, 56, 431-462.