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The changing contours of fairness: Can we match individual and organisational perspectives?

The changing contours of fairness: Can we match individual and organisational perspectives?

Paul Sparrow, Wilson Wong, Lilian Otaye and Stephen Bevan
04 November 2013

“We often use a ‘shorthand’ for the word ‘fair’ and talk about ‘doing the right thing’ – a catch-all that can hide many a wrong action.”

Although there are dozens of ways of framing fairness, this report synthesises these into 6 broad families of fairness ‘lenses’.  When these lenses are applied to a range of issues faced by organisations – women on boards; pensions; executive pay; equality vs equity vs diversity; corporate social responsibility; inter-generational rewards – the different notions that are emerging about what is ‘fair’ can be revealed.

The report, a collaboration between The Work Foundation, the Centre for Performance-led HR (Lancaster University Management School) and the CIPD, includes a review of multi-disciplinary academic literature on the sources, theories and applications of ‘fairness’, ‘equity’, ‘equality’ and ‘justice’. It also draws upon data from a survey representation of the UK workforce - the CIPD Employee Outlook survey.

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