Equity Theory

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EQUITY THEORY
Adams' Equity Theory calls for a fair balance to be struck between an employee's inputs (hard work, skill level, tolerance, enthusiasm, and so on) and an employee's outputs (salary, benefits, intangibles such as recognition (and so on). According to the theory, finding this fair balance serves to ensure a strong and productive relationship is achieved with the employee, with the overall result being contented, motivated employees.
HISTORY
Equity theory proposes that individuals who perceive themselves as either under-rewarded or over-rewarded will experience distress, and that this distress leads to efforts to restore equity within the relationship. It focuses on determining whether the distribution of resources is fair to both relational partners. Equity is measured by comparing the ratios of contributions and benefits of each person within the relationship. Partners do not have to receive equal benefits (such as receiving the same amount of love, care, and financial security) or make equal contributions (such as investing the same amount of effort, time, and financial resources), as long as the ratio between these benefits and contributions is similar. Much like other prevalent theories of motivation, such as Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, equity theory acknowledges that subtle and variable individual factors affect each person’s assessment and perception of their relationship with their relational partners (Guerrero et al., 2007). According to Adams (1965), anger is induced by underpayment inequity and guilt is induced with overpayment equity (Spector 2008). Payment whether hourly wage or salary, is the main concern and therefore the cause of equity or inequity in most cases.

In any position, an employee wants to feel that their contributions and work performance are being rewarded with their pay. If an employee feels underpaid then it will…...

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