Is Workplace Discrimination Really Discrimination – Part 1

Today’s topic has been inspired by a dedicated reader. Thanks for the great ideas people.

I’ve been tossing up how to present this and I think I’ve now worked out my opinion. It’s going to take two parts so i apologise for the delay in getting to the conclusion. Part 1 and Part 2 present two ideas or thought processes that will allow me to make my final argument in Part 3. Hope that makes sense, let’s begin.

Workplace discrimination is discrimination. There’s no question about it and it should not be allowed. However, if ask ourselves a slightly different question, maybe there is a place for ‘appropriate discrimination.’

I want to stop here and present the first idea.

1. The Beauty of Trust

No matter what working environment you are in, your company or business is in one way or another, supplying a service to a customer who then buys that service. There’s no way around it. It’s just simple business. Many sales equals a successful business. However, the key thing to remember is ‘what is the key point to a sale?’


I say it’s trust. Trust can mean many things. It could be the trust that you are getting the information you paid for. It could also be the trust that the seller has been completely honest with you and it could also be the trust that that you are getting the quality that you require. No matter what the sale is, if there is no trust there is no sale.

Now let’s take this to the next level.

I say that trust is a function of intimacy, reputation and risk. By this I mean:

Trust = (Intimacy x Reputation)/Risk

The average person will have no control over reputation so let’s assume that is constant. 

This means that the two variables that influence trust, are intimacy and risk.

A. Intimacy

Intimacy is your personal connection to the customer or client. How intimate you are will decide how much trust you get. 

B. Risk

Risk is the opposite of intimacy. As such, the higher the risk the less trust you will get.


The conundrum of all this is exactly how much trust someone needs for the sale to happen. By this, I mean a low risk transaction does not need a huge amount of intimacy to ensure the sale goes ahead (think cafes, supermarkets and mid priced clothing stores). Similarly, a high risk transaction, needs a huge amount of intimacy for the sale to go ahead (think large business acquisitions).

You should now have an understanding of what constitutes trust and it’s requirements for a sales transaction. This concludes Part 1.

Stay tuned for Part 2.



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