What Happened to Fairness?

That’s the topic of my blog at Big Think today.  I’ve been studying persuasion since before my career began.  I can say with confidence that the effectiveness of persuasion strategies depends upon timing and context.  The focus today is on fairness.

I wrote this blog because I’ve seen so many people, particularly women, support positions taken at work with an appeal to fairness.  While I’m a big believer in the principle, it carries little weight in so many businesses.  Fairness is one of those things that is considered nice to have, but business, we’ve been convinced, is about profits.  Unfair events are bound to happen.  They are, supposedly, nothing personal.

So, do we give up on fairness?  That’s what this blog is about.  There is a way to argue for fairness without using the term — ways to substitute characteristics and principles more appreciated at this moment in time.

The next time you think of arguing for fairness, consider whether the people to whom you’re speaking consider it a priority.  If not, it’s time for another approach.  Fortunately, that doesn’t mean abandoning fairness, only, as described in the blog, introducing it in a more desirable light.  If you do this well, they won’t even see you coming!

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