Sunday, May 1, 2016

Elite logics of justification and the lack of transparency

Elitism often survives on the sense of entitlement among the elites.

Thinking that "I am better than the rest" is often offered as a self-justification for a variety of benefits and deviations that elite claim for themselves. New rules and new normative guidelines can be created to justify this sense of entitlement, always operating under the notion "I am better than the rest."

For elites, this heightened sense of self is accompanied by a sense of disdain for the "other," especially for the margins.

The trials and tribulations of the margins are justified by the argument "They are not good enough." This argument therefore results in the conclusion "They are deserving of the way they are treated."

The notion that "they are not good enough" is usually some mix of "they are not hard working enough" and "they are not capable enough."

Both of these judgments about the poor work ethic and the poor ability of the "other" serve as the bases for elite justifications of inequality.

Inequality is thus natural for the elite.

Inequality in rewards and life outcomes are natural products of differences in ability and motivation.

In the elite mind, inequality is a justified order of society. The seduction of neoliberalism lies in its ability to speak to elitism, to nurture a narrow coterie of elites that run modern neoliberal organizations. For these elites, inequality is an accepted part of organizational life and elite privilege is a natural product of the "hard work" and "god gifted ability" of the elites.

It is this very logic then that creates a culture of non-transparency. The sense of entitlement adds as a convenient justification for creating opaqueness into the management of organizations built on elite logics.

"To the extent that I am better than the rest, I can make up the rules of the game and make sure that these rules are not visible to others."

For the elite, rendering organizational processes opaque is a byproduct of not having to respond to people of inferior quality.

"To the extent that I am ordained to lead by virtue of my superior qualities, I can run the organization whichever way I want to run it, retaining the power of decision-making in the hands of my elite network. I don't have to make transparent my processes and frameworks of decision-making."

Elitism thus perpetuates the hegemony of the elites, ensuring that decisions about outcomes, rewards, work distribution etc. are rendered opaque to organizational members.

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