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In answer to the last question regarding finding practical help or solace in an alternate motivational theory - I think my partially tongue-in-cheek tally is that it rhymes with "done" - and begins with "n".

I'm not sure if because I'm not always "perceived" as being hugely sympathetic, I've not encountered a lot of instances of being the go-to source in attempts to rectify situations of apparent under-paid imbalance.

I can try to boost the collective Hope-Springs-Eternal Index by stating that in instances where outputs have not been in balance with outcomes (over-paid), I've actually observed where employees became aware of this (somehow) and unilaterally attempted to ratchet up their outputs to restore the requisite balance. Admittedly, there have been precious few of those instances . . .


As in none?! Perhaps it comes up more in consultant-land. I don't know.

On the under-paid side, and especially where there is reluctance to face-up and deal with the deficit (I understand that they're not walking out the door, but they may be responding in other ways...), I've found Adam's theory helpful. And I imagine my advice has greater weight if I quote a motivational theorist then if it's just my opinion.

On the over-paid side, yeah. Happens not so much. Not because there aren't lots of overpaid people out there but because we are generally incapable of observing or admitting to ourselves that we could be paid more than we ought to be.

Thanks for weighing in!

I have an equity theory of my own. (Well, maybe its only a hypothesis, but theory sounds so much better.)

My theory says that for relatively small equity imbalances (in either direction), when an employee becomes aware of the imbalance, they will attempt to restore parity of input and output within the context of their current work setting.

However, once you move beyond a relatively small degree of imbalance, in the absence of managerial intervention, the employee will not attempt to restore parity. If the employee is (or perceives they are) significantly underpaid, they will leave. Conversely, if the employee is significantly overpaid, they will stay. Oddly enough, I believe that in cases where the employee is significantly overpaid, there is actually a tendency for employees to decrease their outputs.

And, in my experience, quoting a theorist does lend credibility, as does using uncommon words. Just today, I was told that my credibility with a client was boosted because I used the word remuneration when discussing international compensation. So, keeping spouting Adam's theory Ann!

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