The Nature of Meritocracy in Your Organization – Nu Leadership Series

An intellectual is a man who takes more words than necessary to tell more than he knows.
Dwight D. Eisenhower

Our beliefs and experiences shape our diversity viewpoints. In the case of equal access, America must candidly look in its mirror. The issue of fairness is embedded under the notion of meritocracy in America.

Historically, Americans believe that an individual is judged based on his or her abilities, not family connection. Unlike its European cousins, America promotes social mobility without any limits. That means, with hardwork, an individual can go from rags to riches. We have seen it happen.

Unfortunately, we don’t want to admit our shortcomings. This is a hard pill to swallow. Every person wants to believe his career success is based on merit. Here’s the moral dilemma. How can I be supervised by someone that I feel is inferior to me? Therefore, we declare this individual was given the job without merit.

Tsui and Gutek, demographic gurus, argue that individuals have a tendency to exaggerate the positive stereotypes about their group while promotes the negative characteristics about other groups. Many people continue to promote that their companies promote the best candidates; they operate solely on merit promotions. If America wants to deal with diversity in a meaningful way, it must deal with the notion of meritocracy.

References:

The Economist.com (n.d.). Meritocracy in America: Ever Higher Society, Ever Harder to Ascend. Received on July 28, 2006 from
http://www.economist.com/world/na/displayStory.cfm?story_id=3518560

Tsui, A. & Gutek, B. (1999). Demographic Differences in Organizations. New York: Lexington Books.

© 2006 by Daryl D. Green