In the workplace, seniority is based on how long a worker has been in a certain position or within a specific business. It is a privileged rank based on your long-term employment with a business. People who work for the same organization for a long time are rewarded for their commitment under a seniority-based system. In this arrangement, older employees will have certain advantages over new or junior employees, like better compensation, preferred shifts, a few more days of paid vacation, or prospects for advancement (Gupta). However, it is unethical for a company to use seniority as a basis for promotion because it does not predict performance which is important factor to consider when promoting employees. People perform differently on the job for very natural reasons as well as other personality development aspects. The argument that an employee with more experience performs better than subordinates who started at the same company or in a related position much later is not ethically acceptable.
Promoting employees based on seniority is also unethical as it places junior or newly employed personnel in a disadvantaged position even if they are making considerable contributions to the organization. It is unfair because the junior employees may contribute more to the success of the organization but still face discrimination in promotion when the organization is using a seniority-based system. It leads to resentment among the employees which affects their future performance. Additionally, it is also unethical as it creates a culture of mediocrity because if the organization does not reward excellence the employees will also translate that to the customers in the assumption that they also do not deserve excellent services. It leads to general organizations not operating on an ethical basis.
Promotion based on seniority also significantly affects the ethical standards of the organization hindering recruitment since no competent candidate wants to work in an environment where their talents aren’t rewarded. It affects the future of the organization in terms of its ability to attract new competent employees who could have a positive contribution to the organization. Furthermore, promotion on a seniority basis stifles motivation and reduces their performance because the employees see no need of working hard or putting extra unrewarded effort into their performance (Asaari, Desa, & Subramaniam, 2019); this happens because the employees feel that as long as they meet job requirements, all they have to do is wait their turn and be promoted.
Additionally, promoting employees based on seniority is unethical as it does not promote career development since the employees have to work for long periods to meet the promotion requirements. Through this, it undermines the ability of the employees to reach their occupational goals. It also creates a sense of low self-esteem and low ethical judgment among the newly employed personnel which reduces their performance as they know that they have no chance of promotion unless they gain experience through working for a longer time. Additionally, to enforce implicit contracts, seniority norms might be seen as an explicit commitment device. The implicit contract model claims that older employees are rewarded relative to their marginal production while new hires are undervalued (Böckerman, Skedinger & Uusitalo, 2018).
Conclusively, seniority is a privileged rank based on long-term employment with a business, and people who work for the same organization for a long time are rewarded for their commitment through promotion giving them an advantage over new or junior employees. It is unethical as it does not predict performance which is an important factor to consider when promoting employees and may affect the organization negatively. It is also unethical as it does not acknowledge and reward the contribution and effort of the junior employees and also does not promote career development, therefore, undermining the ability of the employees to reach their occupational goals.
Asaari, M. H. A. H., Desa, N. M., & Subramaniam, L. (2019). Influence of salary, promotion, and recognition toward work motivation among government trade agency employees. International Journal of Business and Management, 14(4), 48-59.
Böckerman, P., Skedinger, P., & Uusitalo, R. (2018). Seniority rules, worker mobility and wages: Evidence from multi-country linked employer-employee data. Labour Economics, 51, 48-62.
Gupta, K. K. PRINCIPLES OF SENIORITY-PREFERENCE IN POSITION OF AN EMPLOYEE.