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McGill University
PSYC 215
Donald Taylor

PSYCH 215 Lecture Nov 4 Equity Theory To appreciate its power must understand how formula works. The idea is simple, once we understand you and I want relationships to be equitable (fair). Suggests we analyze relationships according to the equity formula. Anytime a relationship is not equitable, it is psychologically troubling. When within or witnessing inequitable relationship, we take steps to repair equity. Use any psychological ammunition at our disposal to FIX this. Whether over or under benefitted we want to change income and outcomes to make relationship equitable. Sometimes don’t actually have to change convince self you are making more inputs than other. Room for psychological interpretation of inputs and outputs. Try to choose concrete inputs and outputs so there’s no ambiguity. EX. Pay students to lick envelopes and pay 5 dollars an envelope. Charge someone more for same amount. In real life, not this clear. Even in business relationships, negotiating with someone for a pair of shoes 47 to 43, input required and talent to build shoes, even that gets hard to measure. Haggling for inputs even in business transaction.  More complicated when arguing over things that aren’t tangible, how do you measure support? The number of times you say “that’s great, dear”? not easy.  No handbook or universal dictionary of inputs and outcomes of value. Even if something very concrete, $1, you give me gumball I’ll give you a $1, but the value of the dollar changes daily (We live in steady culture).  In some places, on Friday loaf of bread is $1, salary hasn’t changed but on Monday morning bread costs $52.  Socially defined values. Involve emerging consensus amongst a group of people, shared value that goes into that equation. Not a fixed measurable amount. Because socially defined, value can change depending on social consensus. Social consensus requires time.  EX. Medical doctors get paid more than car mechanics; most of us think this is equitable, why? o Are inputs of the doctor greater than car mechanic, because outputs are greater o Society values doctor greater because they save lives. But mechanics also deal with life and death, bad car = death. o Doctor requires more schooling. o Medical doctors are scarcer resource, thus more valuable o You could live without a car, but not yourself o Doctors need to multitask o Array of inputs making it equitable that doctors get paid more o EX. Knee doctor- all he knows is 4 moving part, can ask which part hurts, knocks it and fixes it o Car mechanic can’t ask the car, several parts, must sort all that out- pay mechanic more o Friend, social skills of nut and bolts, who sat in car and only got grunt for 2 hours, 5 minutes with stethoscope diagnosis car o We value certain things- that what makes it equitable  What input should be associated with outcome o Not every student gets to the same grade o But system is fair and equitable o Because student who gets the A has more inputs than others, as long as that ratio is equal getting a different grade is fair o Inputs for an A: performance o EX. Student comes to the office, 22/100 on exam, but I studied hard, Oh you studied hard, 75% then, no I studied really hard, 80% no I actually stayed in during the day on the weekend, ok 90% DOESN’T MAKE SENSE. o How much you study doesn’t matter o Very little studying, good mark, what is mark based on? Performance. o Well in order to improve performance, could study more- in assigning a grade, input is performance o Such is not that clear to students and faculty: some say, I deserve a better grade cause I studied hard, but I like the course, I’m getting a lot out of it sense where prof can understand how performance may not be good but above is true o In some courses, grade for attendance, breathe regularly and get marked? Participation, sometimes participating means performing publicly simple rules of equity such as assigning grades is tricky, beyond surface collective agreement about how the equity formula works in that domain o How collective? The prof decides. Absolutely true in the sense that it is the prof that might decide what kind of performance counts the most, the weight of it- does prof decide necessary inputs? o Prof may decide what content ect. However prof has decided it, performance matters not true 100% all the time, some play with definition and performance expectations o Some give everyone A+ as if so enlightened- students don’t like this, breach of collective part, sounds great for C student free ride, for good student, bad news, starts to crumble o Strange that the distribution of grades in most courses are roughly the same? Some harder than others, by and large in most distribution is kind of the same
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