Category Archives: Economics

Competition Between Persons, Competition Between Groups

There is a conflict between integrity and effectiveness. An important portion of this conflict cannot be resolved with more sophisticated, longer-term evaluations of effectiveness or with appeals to ways in which integrity bolsters effectiveness. This portion stems from existence of competitive domains indifferent to integrity.

Thoughts of competition tend to bring to mind noble warriors or callous cheats. There are those who pursue agreed upon goals, uphold agreed upon values, follow agreed upon rules, and honorably advance their chosen practice, their community, and themselves. And there are those who just grab what they can get away with. This dichotomy dominates individual experience because competition we encounter tends to have agreed upon goals, values, and rules. Their existence creates a link to integrity.

But there is competition where the only shared understanding is that all will grab what they can get away with. It tends to be the competition to set goals, values, and rules – or to protect them and their enforcers. It increasingly dominates as scope grows and encounters with incompatible positions intensify. It culminates with international relations.

Although this competition is acted out by individuals who may desire integrity and respect the standards of their craft, it isn’t about them. Nor is it won merely through their individual prowess.

The capacity of a group to dispense largesse or inflict pain, its value as a partner, its strength and independence combine with shrewdness of its guardians to enhance its advantage. The importance of such assets percolates to pressure more mundane interactions within the group – and to constrain which internal goals, values, and rules are viable.

But the influence of integrity on member effectiveness and group solidarity also constrains what such pressure can productively accomplish. And internal expectations of integrity put pressure on goals and methods of group’s external competition.

There are two broad types of competition and they interact but conflict. There is competition between persons where integrity matters and there is competition between groups where effectiveness rules. Continue reading Competition Between Persons, Competition Between Groups

Less Work for Less Pay – Why Don’t Companies Offer The Option?

You are a salaried employee in one of the high pay, high hours, high stress careers and want to slow down a bit. You are happy enough with your company and your job, you just want to do less of it and have time and energy for other things. And you don’t need all that money they are paying you. You want to trade some of that high salary for additional time.

You’ll be a happier, more productive employee who’ll be less likely to jump ship and the company will benefit accordingly. It makes perfect sense, so why is it so rare? Are companies just stuck in the stone age?

I’d like to focus on just one aspect that seems to blindside people asking for less work for less pay.

A Multiple Choice Question:

You are making $160,000/year and are working 80 hours/week. You want to work 40 hours/week. What is a fair annual salary at these reduced hours?

a) $100,000
b) $80,0000
c) $60,0000
d) $45,000

My guess is that most employees looking for reduced hours would say (b) with some selecting (a) or (c). For a company faced with this question the answer is generally (d), sometimes (c). Continue reading Less Work for Less Pay – Why Don’t Companies Offer The Option?