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Rebel without a cause!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Research on reservation in India

Researchers from Princeton University and the Indian Institute for Dalit Studies have published findings which show that caste-based discrimination exists in job opportunities in private sector in India. More of the story here.

An interesting part of the news article was-
The studies, however, cast some doubt on whether, without government intervention, the self-interest of theoretically economically "rational" recruiters, who would want to minimise wage bills by recruiting from the widest possible pool of qualified talent, would be sufficient to correct the problem.

This argument has been given even for the affirmative action against women and minorities. It basically says that if having diversity in work place helps an organization, then organization doing that will become fitter and over time will become more successful and this trend will come in automatically without legistlation.

While this argument is appealing from a darwinian point of view, there is some amount of subtelity involved. Maybe this might be better explained by someone with more experience in genetics but I would still try to give my understanding.

While I think that there is some benefit which comes out of diversity in workplace, but I think ultimately success is much more strongly dependent on people (irrespective of their background). So diversity will not per-se give organization fitness advantage. But what it will do, is that it will give chance to someone extremely gifted from that background to work in a conducive environment. So I think that affirmative action or reservation gives the society an opportunity to sample its population more uniformly so as to throw up one talented individual.

These arguments are making me more convinced of the need for affirmative action or reservations for long term benefits of the organization. And they might have to be legistlated in.

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