I’ve spent most of this week writing about fairness. It’s a simple notion, but one that sits at the heart of social responsibility. Being fair is about consideration and transparency. It still means making tough decisions that people won’t like, but it means doing so with integrity and recognising the evolved social contract of the Social Age.
I came to fairness by thinking about inequality: the notion that we cannot tackle inequality by looking at behaviours alone. We have to consider the culture and environment that we exist within in any organisation. Looking at culture lead me to consider what frameworks we can provide to help organisations reform, to help individuals make strong culture part of their stance. A framework to be fair.
We see a lot of movement towards greater transparency and social responsibility: everything from the move to sustainability to the moves towards equality support this. Organisations recognise the need to change, but are not always able to effect that change.
That’s why i think it’s important to unpick it, that’s why i’ve been reflecting and writing in this space: to change, we have to be curious. Being curious makes us agile.
Morning! I read this post with interest as it overlap very strongly with a process that we use when dealing with conflict at work, called Neutral Assessment. It uses a similar framework, to examine the cultural, environmental and individual behaviours and interpersonal differences that are contributing to a conflict at work. I think of conflict at work as a place where people are feeling like things are ‘unfair’ but they are not sure what, why or how it has come to it.
It gives a very structured clear process for dealing with many of the issues you outline here and in your post from yesterday on Framework for Fairness, you can read more about it on our site: http://cmpresolutions.co.uk/conflict-management/conflict-assessment-service/
Thanks for an interesting meditation on fairness Julian.
I think you’re right fairness is important and becoming more so. I wonder if this is because in a networked world the acute human sensitivity to social hierarchy is manifesting itself more freely. in the old hierarchical world our sensitivities were focused on the vertical aspects of hierarchy: where you sat in the pecking order, how much you earned etc. And of course these are still present and important.
But now the other horizontal aspects of our innate sensitivity to hierarchies can come to the fore: gossip, gifts, sharing, normative behaviours – these have always driven human groups just as much as an awareness of who is ‘up’ and who is ‘down’. Its just the big hierarchies down played them.
In a networked and more horizontal world fairness gains as a motivator whilst power (do what I say) looses.
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Julian, I so love your blogs, thank you for your creativeness and freshness of approach to learning and life. Lis
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It ain’t fair. It ain’t right…its my left leg! 🙂
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