Is Smoking Stigma Clouding the Objectivity of Employee Performance Appraisal?

By Gilbert, G. Ronald; Hannan, Edward L. et al. | Public Personnel Management, Fall 1998 | Go to article overview

Is Smoking Stigma Clouding the Objectivity of Employee Performance Appraisal?


Gilbert, G. Ronald, Hannan, Edward L., Lowe, Kevin B., Public Personnel Management


The purpose of this research effort is to examine the relationship between smoking tobacco and job performance. Employees who smoke have become stigmatized in the workplace, and this may influence perceptions about their performance on the job.

Changing Societal Attitudes Toward Smoking

Today, smoking is a social stigma; it has not always been that way. At the turn of the 20th century, smokers were socially denigrated. During World War I, use by men became acceptable. By the mid-forties, smoking was socially acceptable and culturally attractive for both men and women, with the cigarette symbolizing social status, personal well being and strength.(1) The tide of social acceptability for smoking in the United States began to turn again starting with the U.S. Surgeon General's report on smoking and health and subsequent supporting studies empirically linking smoking to lung cancer, heart disease, lung disease, and other illnesses.(2) In other studies, smokers were also singled out for causing industries to incur an additional ninety-five billion dollars in expenses per year as a result of greater absenteeism, higher medical costs, and reduced personal and peer productivity.(3)

Research And Public Awareness About The Detrimental Effects Of Smoking

Growing Anti-smoking Sentiment

The following facts have contributed to a widespread public anti-smoking sentiment. The Bureau of National Affairs and the Society for Human Resource Management reported that eighty-five percent of responding firms restrict smoking in the workplace.(4) Smoking is now banned in every federal government facility, the FAA has banned smoking on U.S. domestic flights, and entire restaurant chains like McDonalds have eliminated its use by both its patrons and employees.

Personality Differences Between Smokers And Nonsmokers

Smokers' personalities may further contribute to the smoker being viewed as socially abnormal. Several studies reported smokers to score higher on personality measures associated with emotional coldness, egocentricity, hostility, and/or neuroticism.(5) Most notable are the findings reported by Gilbert where, following his review of 31 studies pertaining to smoking and extroversion, 31 studies pertaining to smoking and neuroticism, 19 studies pertaining to smoking and depression, 21 studies pertaining to smoking and anxiety, 10 studies pertaining to smoking and hostility and anger, 47 studies pertaining to psychoticism and its component facets (impulsivity, sensation seeking, antisocial, aggressiveness, disagreeableness, rebelliousness, and deviance), and 4 studies pertaining to smoking and schizophrenia, it was concluded that "... individuals characterized by chronic psychological disorders and those who do not adhere to traditional social values are more likely to smoke than are others."(6) Though the percent of the smoker population who have such psychosocial disorders is likely to be small, any difference between smoker and nonsmoker populations would likely strengthen the negative bias towards smokers in general.

Stigmatization of Smokers

Awareness by others of a person's smoking status generally results in negative evaluations of that person's attributes. Changes in public policy, negative effects on health, social costs, and possible psychosocial disorders, have all contributed to the stigmatization of smoking, with potentially detrimental consequences for the smoker in the workplace.(7) A recent study supporting this assertion found that supervisors who smoked were rated by their subordinates to be less effective leaders than were supervisors who did not smoke, regardless of the subordinate employee's smoking status.(8)

Smoking As a Social Stigma

Today, cigarette smoking is viewed to be a social stigma.(9) Social stigma is a result of a person being tainted by a physical or personal attribute that is considered taboo, marking the person as different from others in a category. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Is Smoking Stigma Clouding the Objectivity of Employee Performance Appraisal?
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.