Does your boss have an honest face?

Jul 06 2011 by Brian Amble Print This Article

If you have a male boss, take a good look at his face. Is it long and narrow or altogether wider? And if he does have a wide face, beware. Because according to a new study, men with wide faces are more likely to be dishonest and unethical than their thinner-featured colleagues.

Professor Michael Haselhuhn of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, claims that his research suggests that the link between men's facial ratio and their unethical behaviour is caused by a sense of power.

"Men with larger facial ratios feel more powerful, and this sense of power then leads them to act unethically," he said.

"Men's facial width-to-height ratio is generally a positive signal, evolutionary speaking. Specifically, when men compete for resources with other men, relative facial width is a strong sign of aggressive, self-interested behaviour.

"Our findings suggest that some men are simply predisposed to act unethically in order to achieve their goals. This has important practical implications, for example someone in the market for a new car may wish to peruse photos of salesmen online before visiting the dealership in person to increase the chances of finding an honest negotiator," he added.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the research was an examination of the facial profiles of some 60 chief executives from the US Fortune 500. What Professor Haselhuhn was that successful companies are more likely to be led by men with wider faces, suggesting that they are channelling their aggressive, unethical tendencies into something more constructive (or not, as the case may be . . . )

"It's also important to recognise that men with larger facial ratios aren't all bad," Haselhuhn said.

"The same feelings of power and aggression that spark unethical behaviour can be a net benefit if they are channelled correctly."