Why Do You See the World as More Fair Than I Do?

New research from the Kellogg School suggests that a subtler underlying problem may make such thorny issues even harder to resolve: people who support egalitarianism tend to see more inequality, while those who prefer hierarchical systems see less inequality. In other words, not only would these two groups likely clash over causes and solutions, but they may not even agree on the severity of the problem—in this case, just how skewed the organization’s gender ratio actually is. These differences are likely compounding struggles to address equality-related issues, says Nour Kteily, an assistant professor of management and organizations at the Kellogg School of Management. “There’s already variation in people’s beliefs about the desirability of hierarchy” and their explanations for why inequality exists, he notes. “It’s an even worse problem if people are starting from a different baseline about how much inequality there actually is.”

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