In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Organizational Justice

  • Introduction
  • General Overviews
  • Journals
  • Justice Measurement
  • Multifoci Justice
  • Third-Party Justice
  • Justice in Teams
  • Cross-Cultural Perspectives
  • Justice and Affect
  • Justice and Neuroscience
  • Justice and Human Resource Management

Management Organizational Justice
Christine Jackson
  • LAST REVIEWED: 20 June 2023
  • LAST MODIFIED: 28 April 2014
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199846740-0070


Organizational justice is defined as people’s perceptions of fairness in organizations. The focus of much organizational justice research has been on employees’ perceptions of fairness as opposed to norms regarding how people ought to be treated. Perceived fairness is typically in reference to employees’ perception of how fairly they themselves have been treated by the organization or an authority figure. More recently, researchers have begun to examine how the treatment of third parties, such as coworkers or team members, impacts justice perceptions and reactions to justice.

General Overviews

A number of reviews have been conducted in the organizational justice literature. Greenberg 1987 offers a definition for organizational justice. Cropanzano, et al. 2001 (also cited under Major Theories and Models) provides a broad review of organizational justice literature that is organized around three questions: (1) How do people form perceptions of organizational justice? (2) Why do people care about organizational justice? and (3) What is organizational justice? Greenberg and Colquitt 2005 (also cited under Justice and Human Resource Management) provide a comprehensive overview of the organizational justice literature and identify key methodological issues to consider when studying organizational justice. Colquitt, et al. 2001 (also cited under Organizational Justice Types) and Cohen-Charash and Spector 2001 provide meta-analytic reviews that link organizational justice perceptions to a number of organizationally relevant attitudes and behaviors. Gilliland and colleagues (Gilliland, et al. 2011) have edited a series of books that provide theoretical advancements and suggestions regarding future research topics in emerging areas of organizational justice research. Their most recent volume looks at justice and ethics.

  • Cohen-Charash, Yochi, and Paul E. Spector. “The Role of Justice in Organizations: A Meta-Analysis.” Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes 86.2 (2001): 278–321.

    DOI: 10.1006/obhd.2001.2958

    Based on 190 studies, this meta-analytic review found that distributive, procedural, and interactional justice had differential relationships with organizational-relevant outcomes. The review called for additional research on antecedents of justice types and attention to causality in relation to justice types and their correlates.

  • Colquitt, Jason A., Donald E. Conlon, Michael J. Wesson, Christopher O. L. H. Porter, and K. Yee Ng. “Justice at the Millennium: A Meta-Analytic Review of 25 Years of Organizational Justice Research.” Journal of Applied Psychology 86.3 (2001): 425–445.

    DOI: 10.1037/0021-9010.86.3.425

    This meta-analysis of 183 organizational justice studies found that different types of justice (e.g., distributive, procedural, interpersonal, and informational) were distinct constructs that had overall and unique relationships with organizationally relevant attitudes and behaviors.

  • Cropanzano, Russell, Zinta S. Bryne, D. Ramona Bobocel, and Deborah E. Rupp. “Moral Virtues, Fairness Heuristics, Social Entities, and Other Denizens of Organizational Justice.” Journal of Vocational Behavior 58.2 (2001): 164–209.

    DOI: 10.1006/jvbe.2001.1791

    Provides a broad review of the literature organized around three questions: How do people form perceptions of organizational justice? Why do people care about organizational justice? What is organizational justice? A multiple-needs framework is proposed that is composed of the Instrumental, relational, and moral virtue models of justice.

  • Gilliland, Stephen W., Dirk D. Steiner, Daniel P. Skarlicki, eds. Emerging Perspectives on Organizational Justice and Ethics. Research in Social Science Issues in Management. Charlotte, NC: Information Age, 2011.

    This is the most recent of seven volumes edited by Gilliland and colleagues. These volumes provide theoretical insights and future research suggestions regarding emerging topics in organizational justice. Past volumes have focused on examining organizational justice from various perspectives including cultural, interdisciplinary, moral and social responsibility, and ethics issues, among others.

  • Greenberg, Jerald. “A Taxonomy of Organizational Justice Theories.” Academy of Management Review 12.1 (1987): 9–22.

    Provides a two-dimensional taxonomy of organizational justice theories. A reactive-proactive dichotomy is used to distinguish between theories that focus on seeking to redress injustice versus those striving to attain justice, while a process versus content framework distinguishes between theories that focus on the ends achieved in contrast to the means used to acquire those ends.

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

    This edited handbook is a compilation of chapters that provide a comprehensive review of the justice literature, including a detailed history broken down into time waves; an overview of major theories and empirical work; and discussions regarding the critical theoretical and methodological issues to consider.

back to top

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content on this page. Please subscribe or login.

How to Subscribe

Oxford Bibliographies Online is available by subscription and perpetual access to institutions. For more information or to contact an Oxford Sales Representative click here.