INFLUENCE OF VISIBLE BODY MODIFICATION ON EMPLOYABILITY OF JOB APPLICANTS

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ABSTRACT

The popularity of visible body modification has soared in recent times especially among the millennial generation. However, research on visible body modification has focused predominantly on its health implications. Little is known about the impact of visible body modification in the organizational context. The objective of this study was to examine the perception of visible body modification and experiences of persons with visible body modification. Using a mixed method approach, 32 in-depth qualitative interviews were carried out with recruiters and persons with visible body modification in Study 1. Study 2 involved a quasi-experiment in which 240 Master of Business Administration students rated pictures of job applicant with different kinds of visible body modification. Thematic analysis of the qualitative data showed that persons with visible body modification experienced negative and positive attitude and that visible body modification constitute a major constraint to employability.

However, the type of job, industry effect and competence of the applicant with visible body modification were also determining factors in some cases where visible body modification is permitted. Results from the quasi-experiment showed that visible body modification is detrimental to employability. These findings call for much attention to be paid on the consequence of wearing a visible body modification for the individual and the organization.