Based on the idea that people are motivated by a desire for fairness, that is, to be treated fairly and will compare their own efforts and the rewards of others in the organization with a view to judging the fairness of their treatment. Developed in the 1960s, it asserts that employees seek to maintain equity and the higher the individual’s perception of equity, the more motivated they will be. The inverse applies – if an individual’s perception is that there isn’t equity, they will become less motivated. A common example of equity theory in the workplace is when a colleague compares the work they do to someone else that gets paid more than them.

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