meritocracy


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meritocracy

1. rule by persons chosen not because of birth or wealth, but for their superior talents or intellect
2. the persons constituting such a group
3. a social system formed on such a basis

meritocracy

a form of society in which educational and social success is the outcome of ability (measured by IQ) and individual effort. The notion, given prominence by Michael Young (The Rise of the Meritocracy, 1958), figured prominently in the work of Fabian socialists who did much to promote it as a guiding principle to legitimate the changes sought in the 1944 Education Act and the subsequent drive to secondary reorganization along comprehensive lines. Meritocracy emphasizes equality of competition rather than equality of outcome, assuming that positions in an occupational hierarchy will be obtained as a result of achievement on merit against universal, objective criteria, rather than on ascribed criteria of age, gender, race, or inherited wealth. No person of quality, competence or appropriate character should be denied the opportunity to achieve a commensurate social status. Essential to the concept of meritocracy is the belief that only a limited pool of talent exists and that it is an important function of the education system to see that such talent is not wasted but is developed and fostered. (See also FUNCTIONALIST THEORY OF SOCIAL STRATIFICATION).

The principle of meritocracy is by no means universally accepted. Young himself was ambivalent about some of its consequences, e.g. a denuding of working-class culture and working-class leadership. Major criticisms have also come from those who argue that genuine EQUALITY can only be achieved by the adoption of strategies which are designed to produce greater equality as an end product of the system rather than at its starting point. In any event, those advocating the meritocratic view have to resolve the recurring difficulty of devising objective measures of ability. See also INTELLIGENCE.

References in periodicals archive ?
Horio Teruhisa, a professor at Tokyo University, suggested that meritocracy forces schoolchildren to endure the obsessions of a competitive society.
The participants were told either that the organization's core values emphasized meritocracy or that the values emphasized use of regular evaluation procedures.
Despite the bureaucratic theory of management, meritocracy is a system that gives credit to highly capable faculty members.
China's current economic growth is increasing the spread, but the idea of a meritocracy remains strongly within its societal structures.
The school is really a bastard meritocracy because of all the human excellences it sacrifices on the altar of its competitive ideal.
Unfortunately, President Obama's economic policy team is meritocracy in motion.
Questioning Mandarins" introduces east Asian meritocracy and highlights its modern nature; "Meritocracy's Underworlds" explores the dark side of the rationalist norm as revealed by east Asian experiences; "Administrative Welfare Dreams" analyzes the gap between proclaimed political goals and their practiced reality in Asian meritocracy; and "Mandarin Management Theorists?
If we who are gifted with so many skills that have let us rise to the top of the current unstable meritocracy do not lead the change, we will be relics of the past.
Little wonder, then, that The Rise of the Meritocracy should continue to evoke such contradictory and often critical responses.
The day that happens the day the game stops being a meritocracy, is the day the game ends.
He equally recognises that the field of sociology is itself contested, and attempts to make clear the foundations upon which key concepts such as meritocracy, credentialism, technology and postindustrial society, (all social constructions, as he rightly insists) rest.
Intrigued by this notion of technical meritocracy, we read the article and the study by the consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton Inc.