From an ombuds' rational perspective as a neutral party, visitor concerns about petty office inequities can be confounding. For example, employees can become so preoccupied about coworkers salaries and perks that morale suffers, even when individual compensation packages are above industry or company averages. Michael Shermer, the publisher of Skeptic magazine, explains the latest research in the fields of behavioral economics, neuroeconomics and evolutionary economics. Studies indicate that irrational and emotional responses to relative monetary standing is a trait we've inherited genetically because it is found in other primates. Simply put, relative social ranking often trumps absolute financial status. (LA Times.) Understanding and acknowledging this primal impulse may be critical to addressing associated conflicts.
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