30 Second Wine Advisor: Do I look suave with this wine? 30 Second Wine Advisor: Do I look suave with this wine?

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Do I look suave with this wine?

If you've been sipping wine because you think it makes you look more suave and sophisticated than coffee, tea or milk, you may want to re-evaluate that, at least if you're looking for a job, a team of U.S. business and management researchers says.

According to a study covered in a recent Reuters news agency report, job applicants who drink alcohol are perceived as less intelligent and less hirable by American bosses.

In a series of six related experiments, researchers found that if a potential supervisor perceived any association with alcohol in the job seeker, this discovery prompted the boss to "expect cognitive impairment" in the candidate. In other words, the alcohol created a built-in bias that the job seeker was less intelligent than a non-drinking applicant.

Perhaps grasping for a headline-worthy title, the researchers dubbed this prejudice "the imbibing idiot bias."

"Merely holding an alcoholic beverage may reduce the perceived intelligence of the person," researchers Scott Rick and Maurice Schweitzer wrote in the study presented to the Academy of Management's recent annual meeting.

One experiment invited 610 middle managers to evaluate a video in which actors played a manager and a prospective hire meeting over dinner. In some of the mock interviews, the manager ordered "Coke" or "the house Merlot." The job seeker also ordered either a soft drink or the wine.

Regardless of the manager's order, the observers judged the Merlot-sipping job seekers as less worthy of being hired and less "intelligent, scholarly and intellectual." Job seekers who ordered wine after the manager asked for a Coke were "especially punished" with low ratings for perceived intelligence.

Rick, a professor of marketing at the University of Michigan, said he had just completed a round of interviews for academic jobs when he and Schweitzer, of the University of Pennsylvania, began brainstorming about testing the ways in which drinking affects the way Americans are seen by .

Rick said he was recently job seeking and was in some social settings where he and those evaluating him had drinks. "I chose alcohol often, and there were a lot of interviews with jobs that I didn't get," he said. "Now I wonder about that choice."

Here's a link to an abstract of the original paper and, if you wish, download a PDF of the full report from SSRN: Rick, Scott and Schweitzer, Maurice E., The Imbibing Idiot Bias: Merely Holding an Alcoholic Beverage Can Be Hazardous to Your (Perceived) Intelligence.


What do you think? Discuss it on our forum

Tell us your opinion. Does this study make sense, or does your experience suggest otherwise. My immediate response is that I wouldn't want to work for a company whose executives made knee-jerk decisions like this anyway, but then, I'm not looking for a job.
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