Unfairness is a Costly Business

By Heather Campbell

monkey-003By Heather Campbell >>

Capuchin monkeys have a sense of fairness.

This is apparent from research where a group of monkeys were given food in return for handing over a small granite rock.

When certain monkeys received more than others in return for the rock, the primates refused to continue their participation; some got angry with their handlers.

Fairness is important to humans too.

Inequity demotivates us, at best – and drives us to acts of retaliation at worst.

But even worse, all too often leaders and managers fail to listen when people raise their frustrations.

They ignore, soft-soap, add a positive spin – when all they really need to do is acknowledge the reality.

It isn’t always that individuals expect the situation to change. They know when it isn’t easy to move to a fairer system.

But they do want bosses to acknowledge the unfairness inherent in the status quo.

And when the unfairness can be remedied, naturally they want their boss to take action to do so.

Neither acknowledgement nor action is sure to result in motivation, engagement and productivity being negatively impacted.

The capuchin monkey in this clip makes its discontent clear.

How do employees in your organization make their feelings apparent?

And how effective is your response?

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