November 15, 2021
The word ‘meritocracy’ finds its origin in both Latin and Ancient Greek. The word ‘merit’ has Latin origin meaning ‘to earn’ whereas ‘cracy’ stems from Greek word ‘kratos’ meaning strength or power. Therefore, meritocracy is the term given to a system by individuals characterized by their ability, skill, and task success (or, in short, merit) to hold the power positions. Meritocracy ensures that individuals employed in the system are merited for the position and that these employments are not used as political favors. The merit is usually decided by an examination of performance.
Meritocracy has been advocated by many philosophers over the time, but the earliest practical example of meritocracy was found in Ancient China. Chinese philosopher Confucius is believed to be the first person who described the concept. While philosophers like Voltaire, Aristotle and Plato have also advocated meritocracy. The concept of meritocracy spread from China to British India and then to Europe during the 17th century. Since then it has been used by many governments and organizations.
Following are some of the advantages of meritocracy:
- Meritocracy ensures smooth running of the system.
- It promotes equal grounds for people from different backgrounds.
- It endorses efficiency and effectiveness of organizations.
- It prioritizes performance and uses it as a scale for promotions, bonuses and other rewards.
Meritocracy in Modern World
Many countries have incorporated meritocracy in their systems at different levels. This incorporation is of varying degrees in different parts of the world. Singapore is the best example of a modern meritocratic state. Singapore believes meritocracy to be the guiding principle in their public policy formation and academic credentials are regarded as the basis of merit and qualification.
In businesses of all sizes, meritocracy is often tracked by a performance management system that can be entirely quantitative. Thus, it promotes equal opportunity and rewards success without bias of an individuals’ background. This is the approach used at MaxSys. Meritocracy is an efficient system of assigning positions, rewarding success and ensuring equality within an organization. In fact, organizational surveys consistently demonstrate that the vast majority of employees prefer to work in an organization that adopts meritocracy as a philosophy. It has proven to be effective over the time. Keeping in mind that it also requires a clear, and definite description of ‘merit’.