Is it possible to have equality of outcome at the workplace?

Author: BK Vijay

Equality of opportunity and equality of outcome – these are the two typical words that we often hear among common public or in any political discourse. Some think these two concepts are quite controversial topics and literally has nothing to do with one another while others feel they are inter related such that it is hard to understand the terms without considering the other. Well, we don’t want to bring these two concepts in political arguments, but if we refer them at a typical workplace, opportunity refers to the chance that people have to capture in various positions whereas outcome or result entirely depends on the talent and hard work. Basically, we all agree on the fact that people should be given fair and equal opportunity to compete and show their skill & excellence within the framework of same set of rules. The outcome strictly depends on the person’s potential how well he/she utilizes this opportunity and moves towards achieving higher goals.

Fairness of equality of opportunity & outcome

The concept of fairness is quite tricky as what seems to be fair to one person is unfair to the other. Despite the social and economic disparities, people should be given fair and equal chance to compete for opportunities so that they can reach their goals and improve their lives. Sometimes, even this approach is criticized and being taken as advantage by few walks of society because they want to enjoy equal opportunities effortlessly without participating in open and fair competition. Generally, organizations create opportunities for all based on the individual abilities, but the outcome purely depends on how good the employee responds to organizational needs. Many employees feel very distressed expecting equality of outcome, when they compare themselves with other colleagues of the same job role, thinking that company is very unfair towards them. It is very important to understand that law of equal outcomes will be applicable only for equal actions. Only if you are evenly working with your colleague, generating equal output and equal economic value then you are eligible for appealing equality of outcome.

The idea of equal outcome deprives the organizations

If we look at some countries that are highly influenced by socialism and communism, the ultimate result is that talent and skill will not have significant recognition. Their concept depends on the fact that – if we cannot all be equally rich, then we must all be poor. Then people that are highly talented will really lose interest in working on innovative things if they have equal outcomes same as the ordinary individuals. Will a person with IIT caliber be interested to work with same enthusiasm if he gets the same salary as an ordinary graduate? Guess not. Hence the concept of equality of outcome will not only deprive the organizations from moving forward but create laziness among individuals, as people feel no more competent to work for higher benefits.