In my essay, I will discuss how the income inequality in a society results in differences in access to economic and financial growth opportunities. I will show how my experience applies to religiosity, and how it demonstrates conflict theory. All over my life, I have had to struggle to achieve most of my goals because I was born from a low-income family. Currently, the world is very competitive, and most resources and opportunities are in the hands of the few wealthy and privileged individuals. One of my most significant experience of the levels of inequalities in the society happened during a part-time work in the summer holidays. I was shocked that despite a person’s experience and skills, his/her family background and wealth plays a significant role in determining his/her employment opportunities.
Most sociologists believe that religion plays a significant role in determining a person’s sense of belonging, behavior, and beliefs. Noteworthy, these behaviors may not be strictly aligned to a person’s religious beliefs due to the diversity of how an individual can be religious. Accordingly, one’s level of religiosity affects his/her cultural dimensions and perspectives, ideological, communal, consequential, and moral dimensions. As a staunch Christian, I firmly believe that people should be given equal opportunities in the society. Additionally, I am firmly against any form of discrimination, since my religion advocates for inclusivity and justice. Therefore, I believe that the opportunities in the country should be equitably distributed. I also believe that there should not be any form of racial, sexual, income, creed, or religious discrimination in public offices.
Application of Conflict Theory
The conflict theory supports that there are always forms of discrimination in the society due to limited resources. This unfair allocation of resources usually results in tension and conflicts (James and Lynette 2010: 193-198). When carrying out my part-time duties, during the summer holiday, I got a firsthand experience of the conflict theory. My friends and I, who were the most junior workers in the company felt continuously discriminated. For example, despite being the hardest working and most productive individuals in the company, we were the least remunerated. Additionally, we were not given allowances, such as accommodation or transport allowances that were provided to other workers.
From my religious perspective, the organization was unfair to my colleagues and me. I also learned that a person’s social status played a significant role in an individual’s position in the company. For example, one of the CEO’s nephew had been employed as an assistant manager despite him being less skillful and less experienced than most of his juniors. Interestingly, the post held by the young man was never advertised for competitive recruitment when it was vacant. This form of recruitment showed that there was bias in determining the person who would hold this post. Finally, there was a considerable disparity in the salaries of female workers when compared to those of their male colleagues. At the middle management level, for example, male workers earned an approximately $8,000 more per year than their female counterparts, despite them having similar skills, experience, and performing almost same duties.
In most workplaces, employers believe that they have no significant welfare role on interns. Therefore, they are usually only concerned with exposing interns to an environment where they can learn and practice some of the skills taught in school, without necessarily having to incur extra costs for employing. Among some employees, they consider interns as being their assistants, and not individuals who should be trained. This environment usually leads to a culture of exploiting the interns (Edwards 2010: 534). As a result, it is common to find interns who work for free in a company since they are desperate to meet their college requirements of going for an internship for at least three months before graduating. For an employer who is used to hiring unpaid interns, he/she may believe that it is proper not to pay them. Similarly, an employee who is used to overworking his/her interns, in the disguise of training them, may over time believe that it is all right to allocate these individual tasks without emphasizing on specific academic or professional concepts.
In most organizations, the senior management always has considerable influence on their company’s decisions, such as in the recruitment and procurement process. Accordingly, some of the managers believe that they have the right to decide who should be employed. Therefore, the company’s CEO may have thought that he could pick his nephew and post him in the vacant position that was in the company. Since the other employees’ did not complain, they also probably believed that the CEO’s conduct was acceptable.
Finally, the company did not offer equal remuneration to individuals based on their posts and experiences. Particular, women appeared to be discriminated due to their gender. Most societies’ in the word are patriarchal, and thus favor men. In this case, men are usually given better opportunities and rewards than equally competitive and productive women, strictly because of their gender. Additionally, men are expected to be breadwinners of their family. Therefore, the provision of higher remuneration to men than women in the company may be due to the patriarchal society that the human resource officers may have been exposed to, which programmed them to give men better rewards (Hironimus-Wendt and Wallace 2009: 80-83). Further, it may also be due to the perceived greater commitment of men in paying for most of their households’ bills.
Through social imagination, I have been able to understand how the society influences our behavior and interactions with our environment. One of the most tragic effects of socialization is the normalization of some forms of inequalities, such as the allocation of resources and the provision of rewards. As the society continues to develop, some of these ideals will become eroded, and there will be greater levels of equality and inclusivity. Since I am a product of my socialization, my Christian beliefs play a significant role in making me advocate for fairness in the allocation of resources and opportunities in the society.
Edwards, Tony. 2010. “A remarkable sociological imagination.” British Journal of Sociology of Education, 23(4): 532-535. https://doi.org/10.1080/0142569022000038387
Hironimus-Wendt, Robert and Wallace, Lora. 2009. “The social imagination and social responsibility.” American Sociological Association, 371), 76-88. https://doi.org/10.1177/0092055X0903700107.
James Speakman, and Lynette Ryals. 2010 “A re‐evaluation of conflict theory for the management of multiple, simultaneous conflict episodes,” International Journal of Conflict Management, 21(2): 186-201. https://doi.org/10.1108/10444061011037404.