Inequality is a pertinent consideration when viewing organizations. Due to the process of social exclusion which is defined by the Alder School of Psychology as the “complex processes that deny certain groups access to rights, opportunities, and resources that are key to social integration”, organizations often run rampant with exclusionary rules and tactics that pay individuals differently on the basis of gender, ethnic orientation, social class, and other factors. In Joan Acker’s article titled “Inequality Regimes: Gender, Class, and Race in Organizations”, a thorough analysis of inequality regimes shows how economic inequalities in organizations are affected by intersectionality, defined by Acker in the article as “the mutual reproduction of class, gender, and racial relations of inequality” (p. 441), as well as the barriers that impede equality from flourishing in organizations and possible solutions to this ongoing predicament (p. 442).

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Economic inequality shows itself in many forms in organizations. Acker’s article references gender inequalities in many organizations, such as employers viewing women as less able to perform demanding occupations (p. 452). Problems regarding economic equality are also based on social and race discrimination, as shown by how organizational hierarchies, which are main determinants of wages, differ partly based on the process of social exclusion (Acker,
p. 448). A main issue with economic disparity in organizations is that the privileged party does not often perceive themselves as privileged, and therefore does not see other parties as disadvantaged.

According to Acker’s article, inequalities between different social classes, genders, and races in organizations can be difficult to notice because the practices that influence and possibly produce these inequalities can be very subtle and difficult to dissect from the whole of patterns and practices that make up an organization (p. 452). This becomes a problem because according to Michael Arfkin in an article titled “Social Justice and the Politics of Recognition,” in order for society to become more equitable, social exclusion, especially in terms of economic disparity, must be eliminated within organizations around the world (p. 475). Though economic inequality is apparent in all organizations, the problem is very difficult to solve.

Acker’s states in her article that procedures are often carried out to eliminate the inequality regimes which cause economic disparity; unfortunately, many of these efforts are unsuccessful (p. 455). A main problem that causes these procedures to fail is that the privileged party often loses something when eliminating inequality in an organization. An organization’s hierarchy requires certain members to be respected and distinguished above others, and even though this process does not require marginalization to occur, it does often require economic inequality to exist. Another issue Acker presents in the article with trying to dissolve inequalities in organizations is that the male-model of occupation is still presently working in organizations around the world (p. 457). With this model in place, workplace stereotypes, especially those regarding women, often stay in place because of their cultural attachment to the model. Despite the many apparent failed programs that intend to make limit or extinguish economic inequality in organizations, some programs have achieved success.

Acker states in the article that one common factor in projects that succeeded in changing the unequal distribution of funds through an organization was to focus on single mechanisms that were found to influence inequality (p. 455). When attempting to eliminate economic inequality in an organization, especially if social exclusion plays a large factor, a holistic view often fails because many mechanisms that are in place may be contributing factors to the problem. Another factor that may help eliminate some of the economic inequality in organizations, especially globalized organizations, is the reinforcement of unions. Acker stated in the article that when unions do not have enough power to make substantial changes within an organization, job security may become such an important consideration that employees would rather not attempt to make changes to their organizations hierarchal structure in fear of losing their jobs. According to an article titled “Disintegrating Democracy at Work” by Frank Dobbin, strong unions are correlated immensely with high-participation work patterns and higher wages for service workers, thus limiting the amount of economic inequality (p. 153). With the knowledge that focusing on specific mechanisms of inequality and endorsing union progress in organizations can limit economic inequality, more research can be made to suggest a tactical and effective way of eradicating some economic disparity between hierarchal levels of employees within organizations.