In This Article Organizational Justice

  • Introduction
  • General Overviews
  • Justice and Beyond
  • Journals
  • Multifoci Justice
  • Person-Centric Justice
  • Behavioral Ethics
  • Organizational Justice vs. Social Justice
  • Cross-Cultural Perspectives
  • Measuring Justice

Psychology Organizational Justice
by
Deborah Rupp, Meghan Thornton
  • LAST MODIFIED: 29 November 2011
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199828340-0044

Introduction

Organizational justice refers to employee perceptions of fairness in the workplace. These perceptions can be classified into four categories: distributive, procedural, informational, and interactional. Distributive justice reflects perceptions regarding fairness of outcomes, while procedural justice reflects perceptions of processes that lead to these outcomes. A third type of justice, informational justice, relates to the accounts provided for justice-related events. Finally, interpersonal justice reflects perceptions of interpersonal interactions and treatment. Research demonstrates that, although correlated, these specific justice judgments are each predictive of work- and worker-related outcomes. Whereas this classic taxonomy reflects historically relevant theories that sought to identify criteria or decision rules used to determine the fairness of outcomes, procedures, and interpersonal treatment, more contemporary perspectives have cast a broader net. Contemporary justice research examines the reasons employees care about justice (content theories) and the processes that lead to both the formation of fairness perceptions, as well as individuals reactions to perceived injustice (process theories). While the lion’s share of the justice literature to date has focused on the degree to which employees view themselves as fairly treated, more recent theories consider employees’ reactions to the treatment of others. This has also led researchers to consider employees’ reactions to corporate social responsibility (considered a special case of third-party justice perceptions). Finally, justice research has become increasingly multilevel, as research has begun to explore how shared perceptions of justice form within work groups and organizations (justice climate), and has considered how justice perceptions and reactions vary across cultural groups (e.g., organizational and national cultures).

General Overviews

The following articles and books provide general overviews of organizational justice. Brockner 2010 discusses the interactive effects of different justice perceptions within the workplace and the empirical evidence supporting these interactions. Cohen-Charash and Spector 2001 demonstrates meta-analytically that distributive, procedural, and interactional justice are strongly related but not identical. Colquitt, et al. 2001 also examines the distinctions between facets of justice in relation to each other and work-related outcomes. Greenberg and Colquitt 2005 is a handbook that provides a broad overview of justice research. Greenberg and Cropanzano 2001 delves into more specific research topics within the domain of organizational justice. Rupp 2011 also provides a general overview organized around the argument that fairness involves complex perceptual processes involving time, memory, and networks of interactions and experiences. Finally, Cropanzano 2001 discusses research regarding justice and its practical applications in organizations.

  • Brockner, Joel. 2010. A contemporary look at organizational justice: Multiplying insult times injury. New York: Routledge.

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    In this work, Brockner presents recent research on the interactive effects of justice in the workplace. Specifically, Brockner examines “outcome favorability” and “process fairness,” which are similar to distributive and procedural justice, respectively.

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    • Cohen-Charash, Yochi, and Paul E. Spector. 2001. The role of justice in organizations: A meta-analysis. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes 86.2: 278–321.

      DOI: 10.1006/obhd.2001.2958E-mail Citation »

      This is an overview demonstrating that distributive, procedural, and interactional justice are similar but distinct. Furthermore, these authors demonstrate that justice affects job performance, affective commitment to the organization, and citizenship behaviors.

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      • Colquitt, Jason A., Donald E. Conlon, Michael J. Wesson, Christopher O. L. H. Porter, and K. Yee Ng. 2001. Justice at the millennium: A meta-analytic review of 25 years of organizational justice research. Journal of Applied Psychology 86.3: 425–445.

        DOI: 10.1037/0021-9010.86.3.425E-mail Citation »

        A meta-analysis of distributive, procedural, interpersonal, and informational justice effects. The results confirm that all four categories of justice are highly related but not identical, as evidenced by their unique impacts on job satisfaction, organizational citizenship behaviors, and withdrawal.

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        • Cropanzano, Russell, ed. 2001. Justice in the workplace. Vol. 2, From theory to practice. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

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          Edited text that discusses theoretical underpinnings of organizational justice and related topics, including cognition, cross-cultural research, and context. After examining justice theory, the contributing authors examine human resource management in relation to justice.

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          • Greenberg, Jerald, and Jason A. Colquitt, eds. 2005. Handbook of organizational justice. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

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            A comprehensive edited book providing a holistic perspective on organizational justice. The editors begin with a historical perspective on organizational justice and then present chapters by various justice scholars that delve into issues including conceptual distinctions, justice-related processes, and relevant outcomes.

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            • Greenberg, Jerald, and Russell Cropanzano, eds. 2001. Advances in organizational justice. Stanford, CA: Stanford Univ. Press.

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              This work is an edited collection that touches on topics including fairness heuristic theory, construct validation, and diversity in relation to justice.

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              • Rupp, Deborah E. 2011. An employee-centered model of organizational justice and social responsibility. Organizational Psychology Review 1:72–94.

                DOI: 10.1177/2041386610376255E-mail Citation »

                Rupp’s paper presents current theories of justice arguing that employee perceptions are informed by personal experiences, the experiences of others, and observations of justice events.

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                Justice and Beyond

                These works examine specific topics within organizational justice, often incorporating research from other domains. In Cropanzano 1993, justice is examined in relation to human resource management, providing insight into the practical applications of justice research. Cropanzano and Kacmar 1995 discusses organizational politics, justice, and support, while Cropanzano, et al. 2011 examines research on the relationship of justice with emotions. De Cremer 2007 also provides a number of pieces exploring justice and affect. Folger and Cropanzano 1998 discusses justice as it relates to specific features of work, including performance evaluations and selection. Furthermore, the Research in Social Issues in Management series (see Gilliland, et al. 2002) offers regular volumes touching on justice and related areas.

                • Cropanzano, Russell, ed. 1993. Justice in the workplace: Approaching fairness in human resource management. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

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                  A text dedicated to research on the relationship between justice and human resource management. Provides examples of organizational applications of justice research.

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                  • Cropanzano, Russell S., and K. Michele Kacmar, eds. 1995. Organizational politics, justice, and support: Managing the social climate of the workplace. Westport, CT: Quorum.

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                    Cropanzano and Kacmar incorporate justice theories with research on organizational politics and support. The chapters presented in this book discuss different interaction styles from secretive to open to supportive.

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                    • Cropanzano, Russell, Jordan H. Stein, and Thierry Nadisic. 2011. Social justice and the experience of emotion. New York: Taylor & Francis.

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                      This work illuminates the effect of emotion on justice, and justice on emotion. The authors explore topics including moral emotions, mood, and emotion regulation.

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                      • De Cremer, David, ed. 2007. Advances in the psychology of justice and affect. Charlotte, NC: Information Age.

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                        A collection of chapters exploring the relationship between justice and affect, emotions and morality, and how the interplay of fairness and emotion manifests in organizational contexts.

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                        • Folger, Robert, and Russell Cropanzano. 1998. Organizational justice and human resource management. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.

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                          In this work, Folger and Cropanzano provide an overview of both broad justice research and specific applications of justice theory within an organization, particularly to job selection, appraisal, and conflict.

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                          • Gilliland, Stephen W., Dirk D. Steiner, and Daniel P. Skarlicki, eds. 2002. Emerging perspectives on managing organizational justice. Research in Social Issues in Management 2. Greenwich, CT: Information Age.

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                            A representative text within a series examining justice and social issues within the workplace.

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                            Journals

                            The following is a list of journals in which organizational justice researchers frequently publish their work. These journals include research from the fields of psychology, management, and business. Each journal is given an impact factor, which, in addition to the five-year impact factor, is listed with each journal (see Thomson Reuter’s Journal Citation Reports, which is now integrated with Web of Knowledge and accessed from the Web of Science to JCR Web).

                            • Academy of Management Journal

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                              Publishes empirical and theoretical articles within the field of management. The journal is published six times a year. IF (Impact Factor) = 6.46; five-year (5-year Impact Factor) = 9.26

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                              • Academy of Management Review

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                                Publishes theoretical pieces that advance the field of management research. Issues are published quarterly. IF = 7.867; 5-year = 9.531

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                                • Business Ethics Quarterly

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                                  Publishes research on business ethics not only within the organization but also across organizations interacting with society. Issues are published quarterly. IF = 1.615; 5-year = 1.634

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                                  • Journal of Applied Psychology

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                                    Publishes studies on applied psychology within work settings. The journal includes articles on topics such as job attitudes, organizational design, and positive and negative work behaviors. Issues are published bimonthly. IF = 3.84; 5-year = 5.80

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                                    • Journal of Business Ethics

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                                      Publishes articles on ethical issues within businesses. These issues include multiple facets of business practices, including organizational behavior. The journal is published six times a year. IF = 1.088; 5-year = 1.692

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                                      • Journal of Management

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                                        Publishes works broadly from management, including those focusing on organizational science, management, and human resources. The journal publishes issues on a bimonthly basis. IF = 4.43; 5-year = 5.70

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                                        • Journal of Organizational Behavior

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                                          Publishes research on organizational behavior from and across multiple levels of analysis, including individual, group, and organizational. This journal publishes issues eight times a year. IF = 1.99; 5-year = 3.988

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                                          • Organization Science

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                                            Publishes articles from a wide range of domains including management, organizations, and psychology. Issues are published bimonthly. IF = 3.126; 5-year = 5.777

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                                            Types of Justice

                                            Employees experience fairness-related events in the workplace. They evaluate the fairness of outcomes, procedures, interactions, and accounts. Distributive, procedural, interactional, and informational justice, respectively, have been used to describe these discrete judgments. Colquitt 2001 introduces these constructs and provides evidence for the distinction between different components of justice.

                                            • Colquitt, Jason A. 2001. On the dimensionality of organizational justice: A construct validation of a measure. Journal of Applied Psychology 86.3: 386–400.

                                              DOI: 10.1037/0021-9010.86.3.386E-mail Citation »

                                              Provides an overview of the types of justice in conjunction with the validation of a measure of organizational justice.

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                                              Distributive

                                              Distributive justice refers to employees’ perceptions of the fairness of the outcomes they receive. Based predominantly in equity theory, theories of distributive justice argue that employees prefer an equitable proportion of inputs to outcomes. The theoretical bases for distributive justice can be found in Adams 1965, in which the author describes the reasons for which individuals are concerned with equitable distributions of outcomes.

                                              • Adams, J. Stacy. 1965. Inequity in social exchange. In Advances in experimental social psychology. Edited by Leonard Berkowitz, 267–299. New York: Academic Press.

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                                                Influential work on equity theory that presents the foundations and principles of distributive justice. Adams illuminates how previous concepts such as “relative deprivation” relate to distributive justice. He also discusses definitions, antecedents, and consequences of inequity.

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                                                Procedural

                                                In addition to outcomes, workers also evaluate the procedures leading up to outcomes and evaluate them in terms of fairness. Procedural justice, according to Leventhal 1976, is influenced by procedural rules-criteria that employees have for fair procedures. Thibaut and Walker 1975, on the other hand, provides two criteria (voice and influence) that influence procedural justice.

                                                • Leventhal, Gerald S. 1976. The distribution of rewards and resources in groups and organizations. In Advances in experimental social psychology. Vol. 9, Equity theory: Toward a general theory of social interaction. Edited by Leonard Berkowitz and Elaine Walster, 91–131. New York: Academic Press.

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                                                  In addition to distributive justice, discusses procedural justice in great detail. Illuminates the events that precede distribution of outcomes, as well as procedural justice “rules” that guide individuals’ perceptions. These rules include consistency, bias suppression, accuracy, correctability, representativeness, and ethicality.

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                                                  • Thibaut, John, and Laurens Walker. 1975. Procedural justice: A psychological analysis. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

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                                                    Integrates psychological and legal perspectives on justice, arguing that procedural justice rests in individual voice during processes (process control) and influence on resulting outcomes (decision control).

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                                                    Interactional

                                                    Employees also experience justice events as they interact with coworkers and supervisors. Bies and Moag 1986 shows that justice rests not only in outcomes and procedures but also in the way that individuals are treated during a justice event. These events inform perceptions of interactional justice. Within interactional justice are two subcomponents: Informational and Interpersonal justice.

                                                    • Bies, Robert J., and Joseph S. Moag. 1986. Interactional justice: Communication criteria of fairness. Research on Negotiation in Organizations 1:43–55.

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                                                      In this work on interactional justice, Bies and Moag argue that perceptions of justice are determined by the way perceivers are treated during the justice-related event.

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                                                      Informational and Interpersonal

                                                      Interactional justice is often understood as informational and interactional justice, as outlined in Greenberg 1993. Justice events often come with an accepted social account for why certain procedures were used and outcomes achieved. These accounts influence perceptions of informational justice. Interpersonal justice, on the other hand, is based in respect and sensitivity experienced from others during a justice-related event.

                                                      • Greenberg, Jerald. 1993. The social side of fairness: Interpersonal and informational classes of organizational justice. In Justice in the workplace: Approaching fairness in human resource management. Edited by Russell Cropanzano, 79–103. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

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                                                        Presents informational justice as a “social determinant of procedural justice.” Informational justice stems from knowledge of the procedures leading up to justice events. Interactional justice is the result of features of interpersonal treatment, especially respect and sensitivity. Greenberg also discusses related empirical findings.

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                                                        Multifoci Justice

                                                        According to multifoci theories of justice, individual perceptions are informed not by single entities (e.g., supervisors, coworkers) but by multiple parties with whom they interact on a daily basis. For example, the system-agent model suggests that agents (e.g., supervisors) have as much impact on justice as do systems (e.g., organizations; Tyler and Bies 1990). Furthermore, research in Cobb, et al. 1997 demonstrates that employees are able to distinguish fairness of an organization’s formal policies from fairness of supervisor policies. Thus, failure to consider the source of justice events leads to an incomplete picture of organizational justice (Rupp 2011). These perceptions affect the relationships with certain parties and have significant effects on outcomes related to those parties (Lavelle, et al. 2007). For example, supervisor-related justice is related to supervisory commitment, while organizational justice is related to organization-directed organizational citizenship behaviors (see Cropanzano, et al. 2001).

                                                        • Cobb, Anthony T., Mike Vest, and Fred Hills. 1997. Who delivers justice? Source perceptions of procedural fairness. Journal of Applied Social Psychology 27:1021–1040.

                                                          DOI: 10.1111/j.1559-1816.1997.tb00284.xE-mail Citation »

                                                          In this study, Cobb and colleagues demonstrate that employees make distinct but shared attributions for procedural justice from their supervisors and their organization.

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                                                          • Cropanzano, Russell, Zinta S. Byrne, D. Ramona Bobocel, and Deborah E. Rupp. 2001. Moral virtues, fairness heuristics, social entities, and other denizens of organizational justice. Journal of Vocational Behavior 58.2: 164–209.

                                                            DOI: 10.1006/jvbe.2001.1791E-mail Citation »

                                                            The authors discuss issues related to justice research, including sources of justice perceptions. Although not explicitly using the term multifoci theory, the authors argue that justice comes from multiple sources.

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                                                            • Lavelle, James J., Deborah E. Rupp, and Joel Brockner. 2007. Taking a multifoci approach to the study of justice, social exchange, and citizenship behavior: The target similarity model. Journal of Management 33.6: 841–866.

                                                              DOI: 10.1177/0149206307307635E-mail Citation »

                                                              The authors integrate several streams of multifoci research into a single model: the “target similarity” model. Incorporates research on organizational justice with social exchange and citizenship research. The model illuminates how specific sources influence attitudes and behaviors, and how these justice sources influence the effects of other sources on outcomes.

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                                                              • Rupp, Deborah E. 2011. An employee-centered model of organizational justice and social responsibility. Organizational Psychology Review 1.1: 72–94.

                                                                DOI: 10.1177/2041386610376255E-mail Citation »

                                                                Discusses multifoci justice within the larger context of employee-focused justice theories. Argues that justice is informed not only by personal experiences but also by experiences related to coworkers and to the organization as a whole.

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                                                                • Tyler, Tom R., and Robert J. Bies. 1990. Beyond formal procedures: The interpersonal context of procedural justice. In Applied social psychology and organizational settings. Edited by John S. Carroll, 77–98. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

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                                                                  In this work, Tyler and Bies discuss the system-agent model. The model argues that workers believe that systems and agents (i.e., organizations and supervisors) both impact justice. However, systems tend to be associated with procedural justice and agents with interactional justice.

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                                                                  Person-Centric Justice

                                                                  Weiss and Rupp 2011 calls for a shift in the current paradigm used in organizational sciences. The authors argue that researchers should explore work as it is experienced by employees in the moment. Guo, et al. 2011, applies this perspective to justice research, arguing that justice should be examined in situ in contrast to the prevailing approach.

                                                                  • Guo, Jing, Deborah Rupp, Howard Weiss, and John Trougakos. 2011. Justice in organizations: A person-centric perspective. In Emerging perspectives on organizational justice and ethics. Edited by Stephen W. Gilliland, Dirk D. Steiner, and Daniel P. Skarlicki, 3–32. Research in Social Issues in Management 7. Charlotte, NC: Information Age.

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                                                                    This paper applies the arguments made by Weiss and Rupp 2011 to justice research. According to the authors, justice should be examined as an experience. Thus, researchers should examine the affective and cognitive responses, memory processes, and other individual factors that impact how justice is perceived by the employee.

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                                                                    • Weiss, Howard M., and Deborah E. Rupp. 2011. Experiencing work: An essay on a person-centric work psychology. Industrial and Organizational Psychology: Perspectives on Science and Practice 4:83–97

                                                                      DOI: 10.1111/j.1754-9434.2010.01302.xE-mail Citation »

                                                                      Weiss and Rupp propose a shift to a person-centric in work psychology. Currently, employees are assessed based on their properties rather than experiences. A person-centric approach focuses on the latter, examining the subjective experience of work by the employee.

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                                                                      Content Theories

                                                                      Content theories reflect the reasons for which individuals care about justice issues. In Cropanzano, et al. 2001, three types of content theories are outlined: Instrumental, Relational, and Moral/Deontic. The instrumental approach argues that justice is primarily focused on outcome maximization. Relational theories focus on the social value of fairness. Finally, moral/deontic theories propose that justice is a universally held moral virtue that regulates social behavior within groups and systems.

                                                                      • Cropanzano, Russell, Deborah E. Rupp, Carolyn J. Mohler, and Marshall Schminke. 2001. Three roads to organizational justice. Research in Personnel and Human Resources Management 20:1–115.

                                                                        DOI: 10.1016/S0742-7301(01)20001-2E-mail Citation »

                                                                        The authors argue that justice theories can be understood from three perspectives: instrumental, interpersonal, and moral.

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                                                                        Instrumental

                                                                        Instrumental theories present justice concerns as motivated by self-interest. Justice is, in other words, a way to ensure that the individual gets his or her just desserts. Inequity theories (Adams 1965) and exchange theories (Blau 1964) provide two theoretical bases for instrumental perspectives on justice.

                                                                        • Adams, J. Stacy. 1965. Inequity in social exchange. In Advances in experimental social psychology. Edited by Leonard Berkowitz, 267–299. New York: Academic Press.

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                                                                          This work discusses theoretical foundations of inequity and its relation to distributive justice.

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                                                                          • Blau, Peter M. 1964. Justice in social exchange. Sociological Inquiry 34.2: 193–206.

                                                                            DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-682X.1964.tb00583.xE-mail Citation »

                                                                            Blau discusses relationships as a type of exchange in which perceptions of injustice can result from unfair dealings within these exchanges.

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                                                                            Relational

                                                                            Relational experiences can inform justice perceptions, as individuals use their interactions with others as indicators of fair treatment within the workplace. The relational model presented in Lind and Tyler 1988 and the exchange/communal relationship theory in Clark and Mills 1979, an example of contemporary social exchange theories, both demonstrate that relational concerns have the potential to influence justice perceptions.

                                                                            • Clark, Margaret S., and Judson Mills. 1979. Interpersonal attraction in exchange and communal relationships. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 37.1: 12–24.

                                                                              DOI: 10.1037/0022-3514.37.1.12E-mail Citation »

                                                                              Based on an understanding of relationships as types of exchanges, the authors demonstrate that preferences for certain types of relationships influence attraction to different exchanges. Attraction or preference for different types of relationships may indicate when individuals would find interactions unfair or fair.

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                                                                              • Lind, E. Allan, and Tom R. Tyler. 1988. The social psychology of procedural justice. New York: Plenum.

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                                                                                The authors present the relational model, which argues that individuals desire to be treated fairly because such treatment is indicative of their standing and status within valued (work) groups. In other words, fair treatment is desirable because of its implications for social status.

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                                                                                Moral/Deontic

                                                                                This perspective on justice argues that individuals experience emotional, visceral reactions to injustice and unfairness, even if they themselves are not the victims of the injustice, as discussed in Folger 2001. Cropanzano, et al. 2003 offers a similar perspective on justice, arguing that people are inherently concerned with justice. Relatedly, Folger 1998 proposes that justice concerns can be characterized as a moral virtue.

                                                                                • Cropanzano, Russell, Barry Goldman, and Robert Folger. 2003. Deontic justice: The role of moral principles in workplace fairness. Journal of Organizational Behavior 24.8: 1019–1024.

                                                                                  DOI: 10.1002/job.228E-mail Citation »

                                                                                  Presents a brief discussion of moral perspectives on justice. The authors argue that concerns regarding justice can be motivated by not only relation needs or personal gain but also a true concern for moral or just actions.

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                                                                                  • Folger, Robert. 1998. Fairness as a moral virtue. In Managerial ethics: Moral management of people and processes. Edited by Marshall Schminke, 13–34. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

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                                                                                    Folger argues that previous conceptualizations of fairness were based on theories of self-interest. He argues that fairness could be better understood as a moral virtue rather than concern for oneself.

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                                                                                    • Folger, Robert. 2001. Fairness as deonance. In Theoretical and cultural perspectives on organizational justice. Edited by S. W. Gilliland, D. D. Steiner, and Daniel P. Skarlicki, 3–33. Research in Social Issues in Management. New York: Information Age.

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                                                                                      Fairness is characterized as deontic response to justice or injustice. Deontic responses occur when an individual responds to an event by using internalized moral considerations.

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                                                                                      Process Theories

                                                                                      Unlike content theories, process theories refer to the processes underlying justice perception formation. Cropanzano, et al. 2001, a review of organizational justice theories, outlines Fairness Heuristic/Uncertainty Management and Fairness Theory as examples of process theories.

                                                                                      • Cropanzano, Russell, Zinta S. Byrne, D. Ramona Bobocel, and Deborah E. Rupp. 2001. Moral virtues, fairness heuristics, social entities, and other denizens of organizational justice. Journal of Vocational Behavior 58.2: 164–209.

                                                                                        DOI: 10.1006/jvbe.2001.1791E-mail Citation »

                                                                                        These authors provide an overview of many process theories, including those that are elaborated on in the section on Fairness Heuristic/Uncertainty Management. The authors also touch on instrumental and relational models in their discussion of justice.

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                                                                                        Fairness Heuristic/Uncertainty Management

                                                                                        Fairness heuristic theory argues that people use heuristics when evaluating and applying fairness information (Lind 2001). According to uncertainty management (Lind and van den Bos 2002), fairness becomes particularly salient for individuals who are uncertain about their lives or specific aspects of their lives, as demonstrated in van den Bos 2001. Within organizational contexts, this often involves judgments about whether individuals in positions of power can be trusted and the use of fairness perceptions as a proxy for trust.

                                                                                        • Lind, E. Allan. 2001. Fairness heuristic theory: Justice judgments as pivotal cognitions in organizational relations. In Advances in organizational justice. Edited by Jerald Greenberg and Russell Cropanzano, 56–88. Stanford, CA: Stanford Univ. Press.

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                                                                                          Provides theoretical support for employees’ use of fairness heuristics.

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                                                                                          • Lind, E. Allan, and Kees van den Bos. 2002. When fairness works: Toward a general theory of uncertainty management. Research in Organizational Behavior 24:181–223.

                                                                                            DOI: 10.1016/S0191-3085(02)24006-XE-mail Citation »

                                                                                            Lind and van den Bos argue that fairness is significantly related to uncertainty, as individuals use fairness as a way to deal with experiences of uncertainty.

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                                                                                            • van den Bos, Kees. 2001. Uncertainty management: The influence of uncertainty salience on reactions to perceived procedural fairness. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 80.6: 931–941.

                                                                                              DOI: 10.1037/0022-3514.80.6.931E-mail Citation »

                                                                                              Van den Bos’s work provides empirical support for uncertainty theories of justice, as a significant positive relationship is shown between induced uncertainty and procedural justice effects.

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                                                                                              Fairness Theory

                                                                                              Fairness theory contends that individuals focus on accountability attributions made following fairness-related events (Folger and Cropanzano 2001). It consists of three elements: disadvantage, attributions, and moral violations. Upon experiencing or witnessing the infliction of harm, individuals are said to engage in a three-step counterfactual thought process. Injustice perceptions are theorized to result when it is perceived that the action could have been avoided, that alternative actions would have led to less harm, and when it is thought that perpetrators should have behaved differently (i.e., their actions violated moral or ethical codes of conduct)

                                                                                              • Folger, Robert, and Russell Cropanzano. 2001. Fairness theory: Justice as accountability. In Advances in organizational justice. Edited by Jerald Greenberg and Russell Cropanzano, 1–55. Stanford, CA: Stanford Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                Provides a conceptual overview of fairness theory.

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                                                                                                Multilevel Justice

                                                                                                In order to understand organizational justice, researchers must consider justice as an individual-, group-, and organizational-level phenomenon. For example, in addition to individual perceptions of fairness, Justice Climates (shared perceptions of justice) might emerge within work groups or organizations. Furthermore, organizational structure (e.g., centralization, formalization, and size; see Schminke, et al. 2000, cited under Effects of Organizational Structure) might influence employees’ justice perceptions.

                                                                                                Effects of Organizational Structure

                                                                                                Characteristics such as centralization (Schminke, et al. 2000; Schminke, et al. 2002), mechanistic/organic form (Ambrose and Schminke 2003), and formalization (Schminke, et al. 2002) have been shown to influence both perceptions of justice and reactions to perceived injustice.

                                                                                                • Ambrose, Maureen L., and Marshall Schminke. 2003. Organization structure as a moderator of the relationship between procedural justice, interactional justice, perceived organizational support, and supervisory trust. Journal of Applied Psychology 88.2: 295–305.

                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1037/0021-9010.88.2.295E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                  Ambrose and Schminke show that organizational structure moderated the effect of procedural justice on perceived organizational support and supervisory trust, and interactional justice on supervisory trust.

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                                                                                                  • Schminke, Marshall, Maureen L. Ambrose, and Russell S. Cropanzano. 2000. The effect of organizational structure on perceptions of procedural fairness. Journal of Applied Psychology 85.2: 294–304.

                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1037/0021-9010.85.2.294E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                    A study of demonstrating that centralization was significantly related to procedural justice and size was negatively related to interactional justice.

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                                                                                                    • Schminke, Marshall, Russell Cropanzano, and Deborah E. Rupp. 2002. Organization structure and fairness perceptions: The moderating effects of organizational level. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes 89:881–905.

                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1016/S0749-5978(02)00034-1E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                      A study examining the effect of organizational structure on distributive justice, procedural justice, and interactional justice, and the moderating effect of organizational level on these relationships.

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                                                                                                      Justice Climate

                                                                                                      Theories of justice climate argue that the perceptions of justice among individuals working together in groups and teams can converge over time to create justice climates (see Colquitt, et al. 2005; Li and Cropanzano 2009). While early research on justice climate focused primarily on procedural justice (e.g., Mossholder, et al. 1998; Naumann and Bennett 2000), current research frequently examines justice climates in general, especially the underlying processes and structures. Just climates are argued to emerge via both top-down (e.g., organizational structure), and bottom-up (e.g., attraction-selection-attrition; social information processing) processes (see Mannix, et al. 2010; Roberson and Colquitt 2005; Rupp and Paddock 2010). In addition to outlining the emergent processes, previous research, including the papers in Dansereau and Yammarino 2007, has outlined the structure of justice. The resulting group-level justice perceptions (and sometimes organizational-level justice perceptions) have been shown to predict attitudes and behaviors above and beyond the effects of individual-level perceptions.

                                                                                                      • Colquitt, Jason A., Cindy P. Zapata-Phelan, Quinetta M. Roberson. 2005. Justice in teams: A review of fairness effects in collective contexts. Research in Personnel and Human Resources Management 24:53–94.

                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1016/S0742-7301(05)24002-1E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                        A review piece demonstrating the unique effects of team-level justice.

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                                                                                                        • Dansereau, Fred, and Francis J. Yammarino, eds. 2007. Multi-level issues in organizations and time. Research in Multi-level Issues 6. Amsterdam: Elsevier JAI.

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                                                                                                          An edited work containing four papers discussing justice climate. The first paper, by Rupp and colleagues, discusses the emergence and structure of justice, while the proceeding two papers, by Ambrose and Schminke and by Cropanzano and colleagues, provide commentary relating to models of justice and inter-/intra-unit justice, respectively. Finally, Rupp and colleagues conclude with a paper responding to these commentaries.

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                                                                                                          • Li, Andrew, and Russell Cropanzano. 2009. Fairness at the group level: Justice climate and intraunit justice climate. Journal of Management 35.3: 564–599.

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                                                                                                            In addition to justice climate, Li and Cropanzano discuss intra-unit justice climate, referred to as the team members’ perceptions of how members treat each other.

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                                                                                                            • Mannix, Elizabeth A., Margaret A. Neale, and Elizabeth Mullen, eds. 2010. Fairness and groups. Research on Managing Groups and Teams 13. Bingley, UK: JAI Emerald.

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                                                                                                              This volume in an annual series focused on teams research is devoted to research on fairness in groups.

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                                                                                                              • Mossholder, Kevin W., Nathan Bennett, and Christopher L. Martin. 1998. A multilevel analysis of procedural justice context. Journal of Organizational Behavior 19.2: 131–141.

                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1002/(SICI)1099-1379(199803)19:2%3C131::AID-JOB878%3E3.0.CO;2-PE-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                In this first known paper on organizational justice climate, the authors define and test the effects of procedural justice climate (originally referred to as procedural justice context).

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                                                                                                                • Naumann, Stephanie E., and Nathan Bennett. 2000. A case for procedural justice climate: Development and test of a multilevel model. Academy of Management Journal 43.5: 881–889.

                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.2307/1556416E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                  Among the first studies to provide empirical support for the existence of procedural justice climate.

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                                                                                                                  • Roberson, Quinetta M., and Jason A. Colquitt. 2005. Shared and configural justice: A social network model of justice in teams. Academy of Management Review 30.3: 595–607.

                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.5465/AMR.2005.17293715E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                    While researchers have acknowledged the emergence of justice climate, few have discussed the processes behind its development. Roberson and Colquitt argue that social network theory, which is based on relational links between social entities, can illuminate how justice climate emerges in the workplace.

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                                                                                                                    • Rupp, Deborah E., and E. Layne Paddock. 2010. From justice events to justice climate: A multi-level temporal model of information aggregation and judgment. In Fairness and Groups. Edited by Elizabeth A. Mannix, Margaret A. Neale, and Elizabeth Mullen, 245–273. Research on Managing Groups and Teams 13. Bingley, UK: Emerald.

                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1108/S1534-0856(2010)0000013012E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                      A discussion of justice climate from a multilevel perspective. Unlike in other reviews, Rupp and Paddock incorporate time into their model of justice. They describe how justice perceptions form at the individual level and ascend to higher levels of analysis via social processes.

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                                                                                                                      Third-Party Justice Perceptions

                                                                                                                      In addition to experiencing justice events, employees also witness others experiencing justice. As third-party observers, employees are often motivated to punish individuals who act unfairly, even at their own personal or financial cost. However, decisions to punish others may be influenced by moral self-regulation in addition to concerns with fairness. Third-party observations extend not only to the observing of others but also to judgments about how organizations treat its stakeholders. This research falls within the realm of corporate social responsibility (CSR).

                                                                                                                      Third-Party Justice

                                                                                                                      Third-party justice refers to perceptions of actions that are not directed at the perceiver. The following research demonstrates that individuals make these types of judgments (e.g., Skarlicki and Kulik 2004) and that they are willing to make sacrifices in order to punish people who act unfairly (e.g., Kahneman, et al. 1987; Turillo, et al. 2002). Furthermore, Rupp and Bell 2010 and Skarlicki and Rupp 2010 demonstrate that individual differences moderate these relationships.

                                                                                                                      • Kahneman, Daniel, Jack L. Knetsch, and Richard H. Thaler. 1987. Fairness and the assumptions of economics. In Rational choice: The contrast between economics and psychology. Edited by Robin M. Hogarth and Melvin W. Reder, 101–116. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press.

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                                                                                                                        The authors incorporate notions of fairness into economic theories and provide empirical evidence for the importance of fairness in making economic decisions. Most notably, the authors show that individuals are willing to incur cost in order to preserve fairness.

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                                                                                                                        • Rupp, Deborah E., and Chris M. Bell. 2010. Extending the deontic model of justice: Moral self-regulation in third-party responses to injustice. Business Ethics Quarterly 20.1: 89–106.

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                                                                                                                          An empirical study demonstrating that while deontic justice may lead third-party observers to punish transgressors, moral self-regulation may lead individuals to avoid punishment.

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                                                                                                                          • Skarlicki, Daniel P., and Carol T. Kulik. 2004. Third-party reactions to employee (mis)treatment: A justice perspective. Research in Organizational Behavior 26:183–229.

                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1016/S0191-3085(04)26005-1E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                            Proposes a model for how individuals form third-party perceptions of justice.

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                                                                                                                            • Skarlicki, Daniel P., and Deborah E. Rupp. 2010. Dual processing and organizational justice: The role of rational versus experiential processing in third-party reactions to workplace mistreatment. Journal of Applied Psychology 95.5: 944–952.

                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1037/a0020468E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                              Skarlicki and Rupp test two moderators of the relationship between third-party justice perceptions and punishment. The authors demonstrate that employees’ motivation to seek justice against an unfair supervisor is hampered by both rational decision-making primes and high levels of moral identity.

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                                                                                                                              • Turillo, Carmelo Joseph, Robert Folger, James J. Lavelle, Elizabeth E. Umphress, and Julie O. Gee. 2002. Is virtue its own reward? Self-sacrificial decisions for the sake of fairness. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes 89.1: 839–865.

                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1016/S0749-5978(02)00032-8E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                Provides further empirical support for Kahneman, et al. 1987 by demonstrating that individuals are willing to sacrifice financial gains in order to punish an individual who intends on acting unfairly.

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                                                                                                                                Organizational Justice and Corporate Social Responsibility

                                                                                                                                Organizational justice and corporate social responsibility (CSR) are related, especially when CSR is considered as a form of third-party justice (see Rupp, et al. 2010). While Aguinis 2011 provides a general discussion of the multiple manifestations of organizational responsibility, Cropanzano, et al. 2004 takes a more in-depth approach by applying fairness theory/ethics approaches to CSR.

                                                                                                                                • Aguinis, Herman. 2011. Organizational responsibility: Doing good and doing well. In APA handbook of industrial and organizational psychology. Vol. 3, Maintaining, expanding, and contracting the organization. Edited by Sheldon Zedeck, 855–879. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1037/12171-000E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                  Aguinis provides a broad overview of organizational responsibility, covering a history of research within this area. Also discusses practical implications of organizational responsibility.

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                                                                                                                                  • Cropanzano, Russell, Donna Chrobot-Mason, Deborah E. Rupp, and Cynthia A. Prehar. 2004. Accountability for corporate injustice. Human Resource Management Review 14.1: 107–133.

                                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1016/j.hrmr.2004.02.006E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                    This article takes a fairness theory approach to corporate actions, arguing that organizations are accountable for their ethical and unethical actions.

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                                                                                                                                    • Rupp, Deborah E., Cynthia A. Williams, and Ruth V. Aguilera. 2010. Increasing corporate social responsibility through stakeholder value internalization (and the catalyzing effect of new governance): An application of organizational justice, self-determination, and social influence theories. In Managerial ethics: Managing the psychology of morality. Edited by Marshall Schminke, 71–90. New York: Routledge.

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                                                                                                                                      Discusses corporate social responsibility as a form of third-party justice. The review takes a justice perspective in considering leaders’ and employees’ motivations for engaging in corporate social responsibility.

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                                                                                                                                      Behavioral Ethics

                                                                                                                                      Behavioral ethics represents a relatively new and emerging field within organizational studies that is currently gaining a great deal of momentum in the research literature (see De Cremer, et al. 2010). When discussing behavioral ethics, researchers focus on behaviors that are “subject to or judged according to generally accepted moral norms of behavior” (Trevino, et al. 2006, p. 952). These behaviors, according to Trevino 1986, emerge from the interaction of individual and environmental characteristics. In general, approaching behavior from an ethical standpoint has proven valuable for managerial and organizational practices (see Schminke 2010 and Schminke 1998).

                                                                                                                                      • De Cremer, David, David M. Mayer, and Marshall Schminke. 2010. On understanding ethical behavior and decision making: A behavioral ethics approach. Business Ethics Quarterly 20.1: 1–6.

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                                                                                                                                        An introduction to a special issue of Business Ethics Quarterly focusing on behavioral ethics. Includes descriptions of the articles within this issue, which provide further examinations of behavioral ethics.

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                                                                                                                                        • Schminke, Marshall, ed. 1998. Managerial ethics: Moral management of people and processes. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

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                                                                                                                                          A review of research in managerial ethics that describes how considerations of fairness and justice can influence organizational practices.

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                                                                                                                                          • Schminke, Marshall, ed. 2010. Managerial ethics: Managing the psychology of morality. New York: Routledge.

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                                                                                                                                            Researchers discuss issues related managerial ethics.

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                                                                                                                                            • Trevino, Linda Klebe. 1986. Ethical decision making in organizations: A person-situation interactionist model. Academy of Management Review 11.3: 601–617.

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                                                                                                                                              Trevino argues that ethical decisions are the result of interaction processes. Individual traits, specifically moral development, and environmental factors, such as organizational climate, interact and influence behaviors.

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                                                                                                                                              • Trevino, Linda K., Gary R. Weaver, and Scott J. Reynolds. 2006. Behavioral ethics in organizations: A review. Journal of Management 32.1: 951–990.

                                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1177/0149206306294258E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                Presents a general review of behavioral ethics at multiple levels of analysis, focusing first on individual-level antecedents and following with group processes and organizational/contextual influences.

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                                                                                                                                                Organizational Justice vs. Social Justice

                                                                                                                                                In order to fully understand organizational justice, one must be able to distinguish it from other disciplines focused on justice processes. The field of social justice studies justice across multiple fields and disciplines, as indicated by the interdisciplinary approach of the International Society for Justice Research and the research presented in its journal Social Justice Research. Organizational justice, however, refers specifically to experiences with and within organizations.

                                                                                                                                                Cross-Cultural Perspectives

                                                                                                                                                Researchers across the globe have also examined justice, providing multicultural perspectives on the phenomenon. Karregat and Steensma 2005 and Syroit, et al. 2007, for example, demonstrate how justice research has been conducted and applied in a Dutch context. Researchers have also expanded justice research to incorporate cross-cultural perspectives on how perceptions of fairness can be moderated by cultural values. Leung 2005 examines whether justice effects are generalizable to different cultures, as the effects are often explored in a Western context. Research such as Brockner, et al. 2000 indicates that cultural values do in fact moderate justice effects.

                                                                                                                                                • Brockner, Joel, Ya Ru Chen, Elizabeth A. Mannix, Kwok Leung, and Daniel P. Skarlicki. 2000. Culture and procedural fairness: When the effects of what you do depend on how you do it. Administrative Science Quarterly 45:138–159.

                                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.2307/2666982E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                  The moderating effect of culture is examined in relation to procedural justice and outcome favorability. Specifically, the authors show that interdependence/independence moderates this relationship such that the relationship is stronger when interdependence is higher.

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                                                                                                                                                  • Karregat, Simone, and Herman Steensma. 2005. Sociale rechtvaardigheid, psychologisch terugtrekgedrag en ziekteverzuim. Gedrag en Organisatie 18.3: 139–155.

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                                                                                                                                                    (Social justice, psychological withdrawal, and absenteeism.) The authors examine the effect of justice on absenteeism through the mediating effects of withdrawal, job satisfaction, organizational commitment, and absenteeism tolerance. While the mediational model was not supported, injustice was negatively related to job satisfaction.

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                                                                                                                                                    • Leung, Kwok. 2005. How generalizable are justice effects across cultures? In Handbook of organizational justice. Edited by Jerald Greenberg and Jason A. Colquitt, 555–586. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

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                                                                                                                                                      Discusses the applications of organizational justice research across cultures.

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                                                                                                                                                      • Syroit, Jef, Herman Steensma, and Wim van Breukelen. 2007. Rechtvaardigheidsonderzoek in Nederland. Gedrag en Organisatie 20.4: 321–326.

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                                                                                                                                                        (Justice research in the Netherlands.) This brief paper introduces a special issue of the Dutch journal Gedrag en Organisatie dedicated to justice research. The authors briefly discuss each of the articles in the issue, which deal with such topics as affect, deviance, and general work outcomes.

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                                                                                                                                                        Measuring Justice

                                                                                                                                                        In order to understand the construct justice, researchers require accurate measures. Colquitt and Shaw 2005 provides an overview of potential methods for assessing justice. Ambrose and Schminke 2009, for example, have developed a brief scale of perceived overall justice (POJ). Colquitt 2001 has also developed a measure of justice that taps into the commonly used procedural, distributive, interpersonal, and informational justice.

                                                                                                                                                        • Ambrose, Maureen L., and Marshall Schminke. 2009. The role of overall justice judgments in organizational justice research: A test of mediation. Journal of Applied Psychology 94.2: 491–500.

                                                                                                                                                          DOI: 10.1037/a0013203E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                          Within their study of the mediating effect of overall justice, Ambrose and Schminke present their measure of perceived overall justice—the perceived overall justice scale (POJ). The measure taps general perceptions of treatment within the organizational context.

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                                                                                                                                                          • Colquitt, Jason A. 2001. On the dimensionality of organizational justice: A construct validation of a measure. Journal of Applied Psychology 86.3: 386–400.

                                                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1037/0021-9010.86.3.386E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                            Using previous research and measures of justice, Colquitt provides a measure of procedural, distributive, interpersonal, and informational justice. Results from his study indicate that the measure assesses four distinct facets of justice.

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                                                                                                                                                            • Colquitt, Jason A., and John C. Shaw. 2005. How should organizational justice be measured? In Handbook of organizational justice. Edited by Jerald Greenberg and Jason A. Colquitt, 113–152. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

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                                                                                                                                                              A general review of available measures for organizational justice.

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