Mapping the contours of organisational fairness
The very contours of what is meant by 'fair' are changing; we are living through a period of socio-economic development where the ‘taken-for-granteds’ are subject to substantial social debates – from the provision of pensions and job opportunities across generational groups, to whether income inequalities have a deleterious effect on employee behaviour and a broader debate about the moral compass of leaders be these in political or corporate life. We observe a general fall in the social tolerance for a widening range of corporate activity (eg taxation arrangements) and executive perquisites.
With this in mind, we must now re-examine some of the principles and assumptions used to support and justify policy, practice and behaviour. This programme of research seeks to map out the evolving contours of fairness primarily within organisations so as to better inform both future policy and practice.
Our new programme of work seeks to:
- Expand leaders’ and managers’ professional field of vision so they are sensitised to the ‘externalities’ shaping the employment relationship
Systematically investigate and map the processes that are currently determining, and will in future determine, the contours of (un)fairness
Develop an evidence-based approach to developing the skills and building the capacity to support the negotiation of (un)fairness by interested stakeholders of a healthy employment relationship
In Phase One of the programme, The Work Foundation in partnership with the Centre for Performance-Led HR
at Lancaster University Management School and the CIPD will map out the contours of fairness by reviewing the literature broadly to identify patterns in the way fairness is defined and understood across disciplines, contexts and cultures.