Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Idiocy Alert! Research Says Fat-Faced CEOs Perform Better

US News' HealthDay reports that "The width of a CEO's face may predict how well a company performs, according to a new study." That was enough to trip my rant switch all by itself.

I mean, really, even if it's true, what should we do with that finding, hire only chubby-cheeked CEOs? And how do you account for Steve Jobs who, even at his most boyish, could never be described as "fat-faced?"

If that had been all there was, there would be no blog post. I would have grumped a bit and gone on. But I made the mistake of reading the article, and that old rant switch tripped again. Here's what did it.

"Researchers compared the photos of 55 male CEOs of Fortune 500 organizations with their companies' financial performance. The study included only men because previous research found that a link between face shape and behavior applies only to men."

OK, I'm just a humble preacher's boy trying to make his way in the world, but I thought there were 500 CEOs in the Fortune 500. Only twelve are women just now, so why didn't the researchers study 488 male CEO photographs. Are the other 433 CEOs camera-shy? How did the researchers determine which 55 photographs to analyze?

It seems to me that if you're going to spend time and money and effort on a study, why study only 55 of 488 CEOs? If there's a reason, why not share it?

And the question remains about why to do a study like this at all. Besides ticking another publication box on the way to tenure, what's the purpose?

Boss's Bottom Line

This is the kind of research that gives academics a bad name.

Thanks to Wally Bock's Three Star Leadership Blog


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