Objectivity vs Subjectivity

In a world in which accusations of monumental proportions exist because of prejudicial biases, it would stand to reason that one way to avoid the conflict would be to have clear, objective criteria established for selections or evaluations rather than making selections or making evaluations–subjectively (personal biased opinions).

So, let’s look at definitions–


  1. the quality of being based on or influenced by personal feelings, tastes, or opinions.
    “he is the first to acknowledge the subjectivity of memories”
    • the quality of existing in someone’s mind rather than the external world.
      “the subjectivity of human perception”



    the state or quality of being objective:

Objective Criteria


1. a. Existing independent of or external to the mind; actual or real: objective reality.

b. Based on observable phenomena; empirical: objective facts.
2. Uninfluenced by emotions or personal prejudices: an objective critic. See Synonyms at fair1.
So, Objective Criterion–very simply could have been established prior to the day of the interviews in order to avoid confusion and to respect the time of the interviewees.  Measurable criteria for the appointment of a person to fill a vacant seat could have included:
1) the number of council meetings a person has attended within the past 12 months
2) participation in other city positions (commissions, events)
3) engagement with the residents on a regular basis
4) extent of volunteerism in a resume
5) relevant experience indicating one’s ability to understand governance, decision-making, and analyzing information before a decision is made.
With an established objective criterion–everyone involved knows what is expected and how a decision will be made without chaos or awkwardness or the possibility of allegations of personal bias. This is what true leadership does.
Good managers/Supervisors on just about any job based evaluations on clear, measurable objective criterion, ie excessive absences is grounds for dismissal or other forms of remedy; productivity, ability to work as a team, or to promote the goals and objectives of the company.
Good teachers use more than one method of evaluating a student’s performance or improvement other than in a test. Most create a “rubric” by which measurable criterion are established and the value clearly and explicitly stated. One of the primary reasons a rubric is used in evaluation projects or writing assignments is to avoid a student’s accusation of a teacher “not liking” them and therefore they didn’t get a good grade.
Point systems–predetermined by clearly stated measurable criteria work well in the business world, as well as in classrooms.
Therefore, misunderstandings, misconcepts, or chaotic awkwardness can be avoided in the future when and if it is necessary to “appoint” someone to fill a position in which there is the possibility of personal bias influencing any decision.
According to comments noted in the November 20th edition of The Eastsider, only one council member listed a measurable criteria for anyone to be measured by in the selection process–“demonstrated dedication”–measurable by one’s actual experience and integrity.  Ideas and visions, though lofty goals, are not measurable in any quantifiable way and are prone to be judged, subjectively.

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