Food for thought on eating while meeting virtually

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Publication Title

Journal of Social Psychology


This study examines observers’ perceptions of employees eating during virtual work meetings. Using a 2 × 3 experimental design, participants (N = 842) were randomly assigned to one of three eating conditions including no one eating, target eating, and everyone eating where they rated either a male or female target. While existing research has demonstrated positive consequences of sharing food in the traditional workplace, our findings demonstrate that individuals who eat during virtual work meetings are perceived as less professional, less competent, and less likely to experience career success. Observers’ perceptions of the eater’s professionalism are negatively impacted, regardless of whether the target is the only one eating or whether everyone is eating. We offer practical suggestions for HRM professionals working to help managers and employees understand the nuances of videoconferencing.



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