Another blog entry that has been rattling around my head is the subject of fairness. In my leadership and teamwork class last semester, Professor Hollenbeck explained the concept of fairness in the simplest, most practical way. In the context of a relationship, someone considers what they put in versus what they get out. Then they compare this to a different relationship for reference. There are three possible outcomes:

  • If the reference relationship matches, they consider it fair.
  • If the comparison reveals that they get out more than put it, they feel guilt.
  • If the comparison reveals that they put in more than they get out, they feel angry.

That should make sense immediately, as long as I explained it well.

Now, let’s apply this to human-corporation relationships, e.g. business transactions. A good example is buying a new car. If I pay the same price for a new car that my neighbor paid, I would consider it fair. If I pay more than my neighbor paid for a new car, I would feel angry. If I pay less than my neighbor paid for a new car, I would feel happy. This all matched up until that last part… while I might feel a tinge of guilt about gloating to my neighbor, it is a victorious feeling knowing that I “beat” the dealership.

I am not going to expand on this right now, but it seems the lack of guilt in business transactions is related to the many woes of globalization. The odd thing is that individual consumers are the source of the cruelty.

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