|Skills, efforts, hard work, loyalty, determination, dedication, enthusiasm, trust in superiors and organization, cooperation with colleagues, support to subordinates, tolerance, time, personal sacrifice, commitment, flexibility, experience, etc.||Salary, allowances, perquisites, benefits, recognition, appreciation, responsibility (additional), promotion, training, cooperation from organization and colleagues, sense of achievement, growth and development, additional opportunities within organization, etc.||The feeling that the points under INPUTand OUTCOMESare balanced and the proportion is equivalent to that of others’ (colleagues and peers) INPUT:OUTCOME ratios.|
Management pertains majorly to organizational behavior and employees’ expectation of management’s fair play. An understanding of this theory would help understand a lot of gray areas of personnel management which result due to employee dissatisfaction despite fair remuneration. An understanding of this theory, along with other personnel-oriented theories such as the Expectancy Theory of Motivation, may assist in the formulation of creative employee motivation strategies. Employees expect a justifiable reward for their personal and professional contributions for the organization’s benefit. This concept is known as the Equity Norm. Employees set this “norm” to determine equity by comparing the ratio of their inputs and outcomes with those of their colleagues; this phenomenon is referred to as Social Comparison. After the previous two psychological steps have been followed, the employee will now determine whether they are at an input-outcome equilibrium or not. Those who feel they are at a disequilibrium would seek to reduce it by either mentally distorting their inputs and outcomes (cognitive distortion) or by directly altering the input-outcome ratio. Failure to achieve equity by either of these two methods would result in the employee leaving the organization. Let us look at a couple of managerial examples to understand how employees seek to establish equilibrium between their individual input-output ratio with relation to the organization.
- A senior staff at an organization may be initially satisfied with more pay, owing to his experience being more than his colleagues but the thought of getting more than he is offering may act as a demotivating factor for him to produce quality work. It becomes a “taken for granted” situation where an employee, who feels he is getting more than he is putting in, becomes complacent.
- On the other hand, an employee who feels he/she is over-compensated may increase his/her work efforts to live up to the standards, which he/she feels, have been set by the (perceived) high compensation. This may result in a “burn-out” situation where the employee, in a bid to balance professional effort with compensation, may end up unbalancing his/her professional and personal life.
In case of personal relationships also, be it filial or intimate, people tend to make efforts towards establishing equity. Even when it comes to love, care, affection and sharing joint responsibilities, both or all the parties tend to evaluate their extended efforts against their received benefits and compare these with those involved in the relationship. For instance, let us take a romantic relationship involving two intimate partners. “He” would expect from “Her” a perceived similar amount of attention and affection which “He” showers “Her” with and vice versa. In case if “He” feels that “She” is investing in the relationship more than “Him”, “He” would either start feeling guilty or try to make up for his perceived lacuna by other ways such as treating “Her” to vacations or exclusive dates, giving “Her” gifts very often, etc. Carried to extremes, this perception of being the lesser contributor to the relationship might actually give rise to feelings of resentment, inadequacy and can be the first sparks towards fueling a break-up. This has to do with the ego of the “inadequate” partner which needs to constantly feel boosted and a relationship where “he” is getting more than “he” is giving may actually deflate it. Same applies to “Her”. In the reverse case, where one partner feels that he/she is getting less than he/she is giving the other, dissatisfaction and frustration settles in, straining the relationship. A very common example of the play of equity theory of relationships can be seen in the contemporary work-life scenario. Working parents often indulge their kids as a way of compensating for less time spent with them. People who are often kept away from their families owing to work are seen to have the tendency of treating their families to exclusive vacations and amusements, as a way to save themselves from an emotional guilt trip.