Height, Gender, and Authority Status at Work: Analyses for a National Sample of Canadian Workers

Abstract

A small number of previous studies using convenience samples from outside Canada, and mostly for males, show positive relationships between physical height and holding a position of authority as a manager or supervisor. The present study employs Multiple Classification Analysis to assess the generality of these patterns to a representative sample of full-time Canadian workers (2,210 males and 1,815 females) using seven alternative measures of authority status. The results for male workers, after controls, generally show significant positive relationships between height and authority status. The controlled analyses for female workers, however, do not. Additional analyses for males show height to be a comparatively strong predictor relative to other social background predictors of authority status. Alternative interpretations of the patterns of findings are discussed.

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Acknowledgement

We acknowledge with thanks that our data source was made available by the Housing, Family and Social Statistics Division, Statistics Canada, and that the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council provided funding for our work. Also, we owe thanks to Terry Stewart for his very helpful assistance with the analyses, and to Julie Dembski and Terry Stewart for their helpful comments on earlier drafts.

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Correspondence to Tim Gawley or Thomas Perks.

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This article is dedicated to the extraordinary life and career of Professor James Curtis. His innovative promotion and advancement of Canadian sociology and psychology through teaching, research and heartfelt mentorship will always be remembered.

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Gawley, T., Perks, T. & Curtis, J. Height, Gender, and Authority Status at Work: Analyses for a National Sample of Canadian Workers. Sex Roles 60, 208–222 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11199-008-9520-5

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Keywords

  • Height
  • Authority status
  • Gender