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Human Resource Management and Evolutionary Psychology

Exploring the Biological Foundations of Managing People at Work

Andrew R. Timming

Answering pressing questions regarding employee selection and mobbing culture in the workplace, Andrew R. Timming explores the unique intersection of the biological sciences and human resource management.
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Chapter 3: Skin tone as a cue to employability: sociology against evolutionary psychology

Andrew R. Timming


This chapter is presented as a debate between evolutionary psychology and sociology. It examines empirically whether skin tone among white job applicants is a cue to perceived employability. Using a controlled experimental research design, it is found that employers are averse to lighter skinned Caucasian job applicants because they are perceived as less healthy and attractive. Across three separate experiments, it is shown that lighter skinned Caucasians are viewed more negatively than those with normal skin tones and darker skin tones. Among women, it was found that darker skin tones are perceived as more attractive than normal skin tones, but this does not appear to affect perceptions of employability. The results support an evolutionary explanation of employee selection in relation to skin tone.

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