Predicting Firm Success From the Facial Appearance of Chief Executive Officers of Non-Profit Organizations.Perception. 2016 Oct; 45(10):1137-50.P
Recent research has demonstrated that judgments of Chief Executive Officers' (CEOs') faces predict their firms' financial performance, finding that characteristics associated with higher power (e.g., dominance) predict greater profits. Most of these studies have focused on CEOs of profit-based businesses, where the main criterion for success is financial gain. Here, we examined whether facial appearance might predict measures of success in a sample of CEOs of non-profit organizations (NPOs). Indeed, contrary to findings for the CEOs of profit-based businesses, judgments of leadership and power from the faces of CEOs of NPOs negatively correlated with multiple measures of charitable success (Study 1). Moreover, CEOs of NPOs looked less powerful than the CEOs of profit-based businesses (Study 2) and leadership ratings positively associated with warmth-based traits and NPO success when participants knew the faces belonged to CEOs of NPOs (Study 3). CEOs who look less dominant may therefore achieve greater success in leading NPOs, opposite the relationship found for the CEOs of profit-based companies. Thus, the relationship between facial appearance and leadership success varies by organizational context.