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Identify the key biographical characteristics and describe how they are
relevant to OB.
Biographical characteristics represent many of the surface-level aspects of
These are characteristics that are very easy to identify.
Following are the biographical characteristics:

Sex (Gender)
Race and Ethnicity
Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

1. Age
The relationship between age and job performance is becoming an issue
based on at least three reasons.
First reason is that job performance declines with increasing age.
Second reason is that the workforce is aging.
But many employers recognize that older workers represent a huge
potential pool of high-quality applicants.
Companies have sought to increase their attractiveness to older workers by
providing targeted trainings that meet their needs, offering flexible work
schedules and part-time work.
The third reason is legislation that outlaws mandatory retirement.
One perception is that older workers bring experience, judgment, a strong
work ethic, and commitment to quality.
Another perception is that older workers are lacking flexibility and resisting
new technology.
Older workers have lower turnover rate. It is not surprising because as
workers get older, they have fewer alternative job opportunities as their
skills have become more specialized
Older workers have lower absence rate.
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Many believe productivity declines with increasing age but other reviews
research find that age and job task performance are unrelated.
Older works are more satisfied with their jobs, report better relationships
with co-workers, and are more committed to their employing
2. Sex (Gender)
It has been found that there are very few differences between men and
women that impact job performance.
There are no consistent malefemale differences in problem-solving ability,
analytical skills, competitive drive, motivation, sociability, or learning
Psychological studies have found women are more agreeable and willing to
conform to authority, whereas men are more aggressive and have
expectations of success, but those differences are minor.
However, women, especially those with pre-school age children, do prefer
flexible work schedules and will seek an employer who offers options in
their schedules.
Women have higher rates of absenteeism also.
3. Race and Ethnicity
Race and ethnicity have been studied as they relate to employment
outcomes such as hiring decisions, performance evaluations, pay, and
workplace discrimination
Employees tend to favor colleagues for their own race in performance
evaluations, promotion decisions, pay raises and hiring decisions.
Substantial racial differences exist in attitudes toward affirmative (positive
or favorable) action.
In general, research has found no significant differences in race or ethnic
backgrounds related to absence rates, applied social skills or accident rates.

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4. Disability
A person is disabled who has any physical or mental impairment (deficiency
or damage or injury) that substantially limits one or more major life
The reasonable accommodation is problematic for employers.
Strong biases exist against those with mental impairment.
5. Tenure

People with high job tenure (seniority at a job) are:

More productive,
Absent less frequently,
Have lower turnover, and
Are more satisfied.

6. Religion
Religion may also impact work outcomes due to religious restrictions, such
as dress and grooming.
Schedules may also conflict with the way work is typically done, such as a
Muslim worker adhering to the prayer schedule outlined in Islam.
7. Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
Federal law does not protect employees against discrimination based on
sexual orientation.
Gender Identity referred to as transgender employees, this topic
encompasses those individuals who change genders.

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