What is achievement society?

A performance society is geared towards making performance worthwhile. Those who do more should also get more. Many members of a performance society take this principle as an opportunity to increase their own performance. In addition to a better income, a performance society also aims to get more power, a better social reputation and higher wealth. Other aspects such as Health or happiness, for example, play a rather subordinate role in a performance society.

In this text we introduce you to the term “performance society”. We show you what relevance a performance society has and what characteristics it is characterized by. You will learn the consequences of a performance society and how one can survive in a performance society. Finally, we clarify the question of whether a performance society is in contradiction to the demands for an unconditional basic income. In order to deepen your knowledge, you can answer a few practice questions after the article.

  • Synonym: performance-oriented society
  • English: meritocracy

What is the relevance of a performance society?

According to lawfaqs, the achievement society is very important for many members of an economy. They see performance as a positive trait and define themselves based on what they do. Those who achieve a lot enjoy a high reputation in society. Those who do little are shunned by the other members.


An entrepreneur has achieved something all his life. He worked his way up from the small factory worker to the head of the company. He was always convinced that only his performance could help him. This person has a positive image.

A person who has lost his job and is not looking for a new job or doing something in any other way has no meaning in a performance society.

How did the performance society come about?

The ideas of a performance society come from the 18th century. The bourgeoisie had made it their goal to make wealth more independent of origin. In other words: inheritances and titles should have less influence than the personally rendered service.

The same performance should lead to the same results, i.e. the same pay and the same reputation – it is about justice.

achievement society

What are the characteristics of a performance society?

A performance society is linked to the concept of performance. Everyone who achieves something is welcome in a performance society. Globalization and digitization have contributed to changing the concept of service. Today the achievement is to be faster, better and further. However, performance is seen not only in physical, but also in intellectual work.

The following two examples show the characteristics of the performance society:

  • The company that brings a product to market faster is the first to benefit because consumers are the first to recognize the service.
  • An employee who is confident in a more extensive area of ​​responsibility achieves more. His employer honors this with a higher salary.

Consequences of a performance society

The consequences of a performance society are positive for all members of an economy. Due to the willingness of many companies to perform, the gross domestic product is increasing. The inflation rate can be kept at a low level. Because everyone who works has to consume goods, the demand for the company’s products is high. The companies hire new employees to carry out the activities. Private households also benefit from this because their disposable income increases. Under these aspects, the effects of a performance society are to be seen as positive.

For the individual member of an economy, however, the negative consequences of a performance society also become visible. These consist e.g. B. in the pressure that an employer exerts on his employee to perform better. Many people cannot cope with this pressure and get so sick that they are no longer able to perform. Then they no longer play a role in the performance society.

Problem of performance measurement

If performance is rewarded in a society, performance must also be measurable. If only the services provided on the market are “counted”, this can be difficult because a lot is being done in other areas too.

In human resource management, performance is classically seen as an added value in the company. In other words, performance is often measured not in the way but in the goal.

However, there are also activity-oriented understanding of performance in which the following applies:

Leistung = Tätigkeit + Ergebnis

In this way, the process is rewarded, not just the result, but also the individual willingness and ability to perform.

How can you survive in a performance society?

For many people, the pressure of a performance society leads to the fact that they become ill and as a result are no longer productive. In order to be able to withstand the pressure to perform, the performer must create a balance. An employer must give his employee enough time to regenerate. In addition to relaxation, exercise and a healthier diet are also required so that the bearers of a high-performance society can successfully counter the pressure to perform.

Achievement society and unconditional basic income

The performance society is in contradiction to the demands for an unconditional basic income. Every performance society is geared towards ensuring that remuneration is based on performance. Those who do nothing may not receive anything in a performance society. This principle means that every member of the performance society is measured by what they achieve.

This aspect of performance is completely neglected in the demands for an unconditional basic income. When it comes to the distribution of income, your own performance no longer plays a role.


About the author