Definition:‘Pay systems are sets of rules with which employers link pay rates not only to job descriptions, but also to any of a great variety of indicators related to issues such as employees’ competence, performance and career expectations’ (Brown et al. 2003:196) Equity theory:
Inputs are defined as each participant’s contributions to the relational exchange and are viewed as entitling him/her to rewards or costs. The inputs that a participant contributes to a relationship can be either assets – entitling him/her to rewards – or liabilities - entitling him/her to costs. Outputs are defined as the positive and negative consequences that an individual perceives a participant has incurred as a consequence of his/her relationship with another. 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 result in the employee feeling hostile towards the organization and perhaps their co-workers, which may result in the employee not performing well at work anymore. It is the subtle variables that also play an important role in the feeling of equity. Just the idea of recognition for the job performance and the mere act of thanking the employee will cause a feeling of satisfaction and therefore help the employee feel worthwhile and have better outcomes. Internal Equity: The internal equity method undertakes the job position in the organizational hierarchy. The process aims at balancing the compensation provided to a job profile in comparison to the compensation provided to its senior and junior level in the hierarchy. The fairness is ensured using job ranking, job classification, level of management, level of status and factor comparison. External Equity: Here the market pricing analysis is done. Organizations formulate their compensation strategies by assessing the competitors’ or industry standards. Organizations set the compensation packages of their employees aligned with the prevailing compensation packages in the market. This entails for fair treatment to the employees. At times organizations offer higher compensation packages to attract and retain the best talent in their organizations. Equity theory consists of four propositions:...
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