Study Shows Baldness Can Be Beneficial in the Workplace

Bald man

October 8, 2012

Bald men may lack a full head of hair, but this paucity could work to their advantage in the workplace. A new study, released in the journal of Social Psychological and Personality Science, showed that bald men are perceived as more dominant, masculine and powerful than men who have a full head of hair.

Researcher Dr. Albert Mannes from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania undertook the research. He noticed that he was being treated differently following his own mid-30s hair loss and the subsequent decision to go bald, reported Life Inc.

Three tests comprised his study, which examined people's perceptions of men with shaved heads. In one of these tests, people were shown pictures both of men with full heads of hair as well shaved heads; they were then asked their perceptions of each. The men with shaved heads were seen as more dominant, but also taller, stronger, and older than the men with full heads of hair, noted The Wall Street Journal. The other two tests examined similar perceptions and also showed that people viewed men with shaved heads as more dominant.

It's not clear to Mannes why this is so, but he postulated that bare heads are linked with masculine images such as those of professional athletes, military men and Hollywood-action stars like Bruce Willis.

"It's associated with traditionally masculine professions such as the military or sports, but there is also a certain level of confidence you have to have to willingly dispense with your hair. It violates societal norms" he explained in TheSpec.

The appearance of dominance may be the reason why some business executives, such as Amazon's Jeff Bezos, 48, and Netscape founder Marc Andreessen, 41, go for the look, pointed out The Wall Street Journal. Seth Godin, 52, chief executive of the website Squidoo, also sports a bare head. He's had this look for the past 20 years.

"I'm not saying that shaving your head makes you successful, but it starts the conversation that you've done something active," Godin said in The Wall Street Journal. "These are people who decide to own what they have, as opposed to trying to pretend to be something else."

The study also showed that people perceived men with thinning hair as the least attractive and the least dominant of all. This may be because male-pattern baldness is associated with characters such as Seinfeld's George Costanza. A liberating step could be as easy as shaving the head.

"If you are visibly balding, shaving could make you feel better about it and give you more confidence," Mannes said in TheSpec.

Compiled by Doresa Banning


"Bald is beautiful… and a career boost, study finds,", October 5, 2012, Ben Popken

"Bald men appear stronger, more manly, study finds,", October 5, 2012, Lesley Ciarula Taylor

"Shorn Scalps and Perceptions of Male Dominance,", July 16, 2012, Albert Mannes

"Study Shows Baldness Can Be a Business Advantage,", October 2, 2012, Rachel Emma Silverman

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