The guiding principle of a meritocratic organization is that everyone is promoted and rewarded according to their ability. Of course, this laudable aim is rarely achieved in practice. Whilst many organizations have procedures in place that are supposed to produce fairness, they do not always result in the most deserving person benefiting the most. Organizational politics, bias, favouritism, prejudice and ignorance can intervene to distort the decision-making processes and undermine the meritocratic principle. Whilst most people would support a merit-based system publicly, many people in positions of power and influence have benefited from past privileges (family connections, wealth, social status, etc.) that are decidedly not meritocratic. [See equal opportunity.]
Subjects: Human Resource Management.