Mutual Exclusivity

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A definition of mutual exclusivity infers non-simultaneousoccurrences whereby mutually exclusive events will be those thatcannot occur at the same time [ CITATION Fer12 l 1033 ]. Forexample, one cannot turn both left and right, thus forced to chooseone. Mutual exclusivity pervades all facets of life, including theworkplace. The following example demonstrates mutually exclusiveevents within the workplace.

The example assumes that Company Y is an internet service providerthat has recently expanded to cover a new town, Rapid Falls. Thecompany has sent out a mobile team to increase awareness of theirservices and to register new subscribers. The team has been given atarget of three new subscribers for the first day. However, the teammay fail to get even one new registration, while it may also registermore people exceeding the set target.

Therefore, the number of newly registered individuals are mutuallyexclusive events. The team will either register no people, oneperson, two people, three and so on. Since the company adopted apenetration pricing model and further offers competitive internetpackages, there is a very low probability that they will fail toregister any subscribers. Therefore, the probability of zerosubscribers (Event Z) is 10%, while that of 1 subscriber (Event O) is15%. The probability of both Z and O occurring is equal to zero whilethat of either Z or O occurring is the sum of the individualprobabilities.

Therefore, P(Z O)= 0.

P(Z O) = P(Z) + P(O) = 10% + 15% = 25%

The probability of either Event Z or Event O occurring is therefore25%. Even if another event is added, for example, registration of twopeople (Event T), the same calculations will be utilized. If theprobability of Event T is 25%, then:

P(Z OT) = P(Z) + P(O) + P(T) = 10% + 15% + 25% = 50%


Ferraro, E. F. (2012). Investigations in the Workplace (Second ed.). Boca Raton: CRC Press.