Merit and bias

A good article in Canada’s Globe and Mail by Leah Eichler
called “You can’t get ahead on merit alone.”

An excerpt:

“Companies that actively promote a meritocracy may be at risk of introducing greater bias than those that don’t, according to a 2010 study titled the “ The Paradox of Meritocracy in Organizations” published by the U.S.-based Administrative Science Quarterly. In this experimental study, professors Emilio Castilla, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Stephen Benard, at Indiana University, asked male and female participants with managerial experience to evaluate small groups of employees based on their performance at a fictitious company.
The results showed that men in the merit-based organization – which stressed fairness in how it promotes and compensates its employees – received larger bonuses than women, despite identical job performance evaluations. This bias did not surface when the experiment was repeated in a company that did not emphasize merit and fairness in its core values.
The finding that managers in organizations that promote meritocracy show a greater bias in favour of men, while it may seem counterintuitive, remains consistent with broader scholarship on the topic, Dr. Castilla explained.”