back to article Nadella's Karmagate howler was response to MICROSOFT BOARD DIRECTOR – report

Satya Nadalla’s Karmagate will spark an examination at the highest levels within Microsoft of women’s pay and its corporate culture. That’s according to computer scientist Maria Klawe, the person whose softball questioning of Microsoft’s CEO at a women-in-tech event saw Nadella land himself in hot water last week. Klawe is …

  1. Raumkraut

    Stack overpay

    I wonder if Nadalla's answer to the question might have something to do with Microsoft's (past?) culture of stack ranking? As I understand it, under MS' stack ranking system, your bonuses and pay raises are tied to your performance in the ranking. The idea being that, if you deserve a raise then "the system" will work that out automatically based on how well you do your job (or, more realistically, how well you can game the stack-ranking system).

    So Nadalla might be correct when it comes to large companies which have "a system" in place, but being such a long-time Microsoft person, he may not have realised that most of the rest of the world isn't so algorithmically organised.

    1. Hargrove

      Re: Stack overpay

      Interesting and cogent observation.

      My guess is that @Raumkraut is right, and that faith in the system was a contributing factor. If so, Nadella's answer still ignores the elephant in the parlor. . . whether or not the system is biased.

      A pervasive problem is that nearly every IT professional I've ever worked with (and I "were" one, myself, at the system's level) places the same kind of faith in "the system" as the most rabid Christian evangelical fundamentalist places on the bible. The stock answer to any question regarding the rightness of any result is "yes, it (the system) does that. (Just this AM I checked my bandwidth usage and got the following "6.2 GBytes (61%) of 10 GBytes used.")

      "Yes, it does that."

      We live in a world that is looking to wholesale data slurping as the solution to security, and to robotics as the answer to human error. In such a world such fundamentalist presumption of system infallibility is a paramount threat to individual rights and freedoms, and public safety.

      1. Ian Michael Gumby

        Re: Stack overpay

        There is definitely bias in Stack ranking, yet in theory, its going to be the least biased option.

        I think if you took the sex of the individual out of the equation... Nadella's remark could be the same...

        If anyone is thinking of asking the boss for a raise... don't. Karma will bite you in the ass. If you get enough good Karma... you'll get the raise.

        Having said that though, Nadella's comment is for shit.

        Many large companies tend to lag when it comes time for your annual review. (After all, managers are being asked to do more too and reviews take time.) Large companies are also prone to saying... times are hard, we didn't hit our overly optimistic numbers so we've got to tighten our belts...

        Its not until they have a retention problem and only until you've given notice that they try to make a counter offer that they discover that they could have been paying you more...

        (Of course once you've given notice, its never a good idea to accept their counter offer... YMMV)

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Next announcement

    "In light of my recent cock-up, I'm now going to personally ensure that the gender pay gap is decreased accordingly. Therefore, all male staff will receive a ~25% pay cut. I also ensure I will personally provide karma to those affected by the change."


  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    An interesting side effect of this could be where truly sexist employers take on more men if they see women as just a cheaper means of doing the same work. Naturally, I'm not saying that's cool and obviously, even a 1% difference in favour of any group is wrongful discrimination. I'm just throwing this out there.

  4. Mage Silver badge
    Thumb Up


    You couldn't make this stuff up..

    1) Nadella's mad answer. Even if it was given to men, even worse to give it to women who are almost universally paid less for the same job and quality of work. Or for much better work.

    2) Who asked it.

    Machiavelli would have been proud of her though!

    Definitely a better ploy than trying to get the subject added to a Board meeting agenda quietly!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Amazing

      Definitely a better ploy than trying to get the subject added to a Board meeting agenda

      Yes, which makes me wonder if he was in on it. A bit risky from his point of view, but the end result is a public acceptance that something needs to be done.

  5. Bladeforce

    Wow Microsoft...

    Are the masters of bad publicity starting right at the top all the way down to the Hodge podge start menu. Seems bad publicity is endemic now. Bad software, hardware and even their name is no better than mud now

  6. Mark 85 Silver badge

    Is he a bit out of touch?

    For some reason, I read Nadalla as Nutella. I'm not sure what his mindset is but at least he's not throwing chairs. Yet.

    1. Mad Chaz

      Re: Is he a bit out of touch?

      “That might be one of the initial ‘super powers,’ that quite frankly women [who] don’t ask for a raise have,” came the jaw-dropping reply. “It’s good karma. It will come back.”

      Works for men too. What karma does when it comes back is land you with more work, more responsability and not a single cent more, because if you aren't asking for a raise, you must be happy with your salary!

      It's like he's drinking the "trickle down" economy kool-aid.

  7. Johan Bastiaansen

    Karma worked for him

    If you ask the top dog, you'll always get the same answer: "The system works, I deserve to be top dog. And you don't."

  8. Michael Thibault

    >He is the first man to headline the annual event, which celebrates women's achievement in computing.

    Not sure he'll be the last, but reasonably sure he'll be the last for a while, anyway. Unless, they make it into an annual barbecue.

    p.s. "Nadz" or "Nutella"? Tough choice, tough choice.

    1. Nicole D.

      Re: last man for a while

      "Not sure he'll be the last, but reasonably sure he'll be the last for a while, anyway. Unless, they make it into an annual barbecue."

      If they're smart they will ask another prominent man to headline next year, when more eyes than usual will be on the event, then get him, like Satya, on the record on the same set of issues.

  9. Donkey Molestor X

    it's funny that he would choose the term 'karma' too. the concept of karma is a great thoughtstopper when it comes to thinking about justice. if somebody is living on the street and covered in running sores than they must have 'bad karma'. conversely, if somebody is eating kobe beef with gold-leaf garnish every day and helicoptering from one estate to the other they must have 'good karma'. mmmmmmmmmmmmmm that's some good Just World fallacy!

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