In today’s developing work life, organizational justice is increasingly important to the welfare of the organization, managers, and employees. Organizational justice shows how employees view the fairness of work-related issues in the workplace and the trust they have in the organization and its management. According to Burge, the study of organizational justice is important for three reasons: 1. Justice is a social aspect that strongly affects every-day life, whether it is social or organizational.
2. The most important asset of any organization is its members, and the manner in which they are treated influences behaviors such as commitment, trust, performance, and turnover. 3. Since the global workforce is becoming more educated and skilled, workers are demanding not only better jobs with better pay, but also more respect and dignity in their work environment. (as cited in Marjani & Ardahaey, 2012, p.125).
Some theorists such as Schmink, Cropanzano, and Rupp (as cited in Marjani & Ardahaey, 2012) have stated that organizational justice is influenced by the structure of the organization and that organizational structure, justice, and ethics are potentially related. The way organizational members view the justice and the fairness they receive from the organization will affect the way they work and interact with others in their group or team. These factors, in turn greatly affect the organization’s effectiveness and efficiency.
Studies have linked organizational justice to the actual health of the organization’s members. A study in the “American Journal of Public Health” showed that a state of distress is instilled in members who have put in a great amount of effort but received low salary and job security. The procedures that determine how these rewards will be distributed also affect members. These issues are shown to influence the overall health of the organization’s members (Elovainio, Kivimaki, & Vahtera, 2002). Organizational justice is commonly known to have two facets: procedural justice and distributive justice.
However, it can actually be broken down into four facets: distributive justice, procedural justice, interactive justice, and informational justice (Ul Haq Sha, Wagas, & Salem, 2012, p. 672). Distributive Justice Distributive justice is based on John Stacey Adams’ equity theory. An article written by Marjani and Ardahaey (2012) stated: Adams (1965) conceptualized fairness by stating that employees determine whether they have been treated fairly at work by comparing their own payoff ratio of outcomes (such as pay or status) to inputs (such as effort or time) to the ratio of their co-workers.
(p. 124) Distributive justice adds to this by saying that it is the employees’ perceptions on managerial decisions and how fair they are in the distribution of outcomes, such as pay, promotions, job titles, and job location. People compare the ratios of their own received rewards and their perceived outcomes to those of their co-workers; if these ratios are unequal, the people with the higher ratios are thought of as unfairly overpaid.
As a result, they may feel guilty. To the contrary, people with a lower ratio are thought of as unfairly underpaid, and they may feel angry. When ratios are equal, all workers will think they are treated fairly and feel satisfied (Greenburg, 1990). This shows that distributive justice can be a good predictor of personal outcome. A study done by Ul Haq Sha et al. (2012) showed that distributive justice plays a significant role in determining employee job satisfaction.
Since Adams’ equity theory, there have been many other studies by researchers such as Andrews (1967), Garland (1973), Mowday (1987), and Greenberg (1990). Each study has shown that when an employee feels underpaid, his or her job performance will decrease when an employee feels equally paid or over-paid, his or her job performance will increase. Procedural Justice As research became more complete on distributive justice, researchers began to have more questions on how organizational decisions of fairness were made as opposed to what those decisions were.
Therefore, the focus shifted to procedural justice, which Brockner and Siegel defined as, “the fairness of the process in distribution of outcomes and the interpersonal behavior accorded to the recipients by those who implemented distribution decisions” (as cited in Marjani & Ardahaey, 2012, p. 125). Procedural justice is related to attitudinal variables, such as pride, satisfaction, and commitment (Whitman, Carpenter, Horner, & Bernerth, 2012). One of the keys to organizational effectiveness is trust.
Procedural justice impacts trust because if members view the procedures of the organization as unfair, their trust will decrease. The opposite also holds true: When members view the procedures as fair, trust will increase. Procedural justice is important to employees because they have more ability to control the process and outcomes of decisions and it helps provide a sense of self-worth (Ul Haq et al. , 2012). Levanthal’s (1980) proposed a list of fair procedures characteristics that can be used to judge the procedural justice of an organization: 1. Consistency of implementation. 2. Impartiality. 3. Basing decisions on accurate information. 4. Mechanisms to correct inappropriate decisions. 5.
‘Voice’ opportunities that allow employees to give input into decisions or have their concerns represented. 6. Compatibility with current ethical and moral standards. (as cited in Ul Haq et al. , 2012, p. 677) Folger and Cropanzano stated that studies on procedural justice regarding pay satisfaction, performance appraisals, and organizational members’ reactions to pay freezes found that when employees are able to voice their opinions on issues, they show a greater commitment to the organization because of their overall satisfaction (as cited by Phromket C. , Thanyaphirak V. , & Phromket C. , 2012).
Interactive Justice According to Whitman et al. (2012), interactive justice is defined as, “shared perceptions of fair interpersonal treatment by organizational authorities” (p. 779). Interactive justice asks the questions “are supervisors fairly using the procedures designed by the organization to promote fairness? What is the behavior of the supervisor while enacting the procedures set by the organization? ” (Marjani & Ardahaey, 2012). Bies and Moag identified five different elements employees look at in decision makers to judge how fairly they are being treated by those decision makers: 1. Truthfulness.
2. Courtesy 3. Respect for individual rights 4. Propriety of behavior 5. Justifying decisions. (as cited in Ul Haq et al. , 2012, p. 677) Considering these five factors, trust is the dominating factor. The trust an employee has for his or her supervisor has a positive relationship to loyalty to that supervisor. This loyalty is directly related to the performance of the employee. An organization with high interactive justice shows employees that they are respected, creating a strong cohesive structure. Low interactive justice will lead to conflict and a low level of cooperation (Whitman, 2012).
Informational Justice According to Greenberg (1990), informational justice is, “the truthfulness and justification of information provided to employees” (p. 674). Adequate and honest communication in an organization can implement an increase in informational justice. Every organization should strive to provide honest, adequate information. Even in time of organizational layoffs, an organization that provides its members with honest, adequate, and advance information is more likely to be viewed as a trustworthy organization as those laid off (Kim, 2009).
If organizational members believe the information is inadequate or untrue it will lead to the perception of unfair treatment. According to a study by Coliquitt and Rodell (2011), informational justice is the only facet of organizational justice that leads to the willingness to be vulnerable because informational justice can capture the affect-based reasons for trust, which is trust based on emotional investments and ties. This can be based on the mutual sharing of ideas and feelings and being able to talk freely.
According to Tyler and Bies, good communication between group members will decrease secrecy and dishonesty, which enhances trust in the group (as cited in Hess & Ambrose) Conclusion Organizational justice is a major factor of any organization, its managers, and employees. The four facets of organizational justice distributive justice, procedural justice, interactive justice, and informational justice define the ways management are using fairness in the administration of members and gaining the members’ trust in the organization.
The more an organization can develop these four aspects of organizational justice, the more it will be able to support effective, efficient members, which will lead to gaining increased competitive advantage. Works Cited Colquitt, J. A. , & Rodell, J. B. (2011). Justice, trust, and trustworthiness: A longitudinal analysis integrating three theoretical perspectives. Academy Of Management Journal, 54(6), 1183-1206. doi:10. 5465/amj. 2007. 0572 Elovainio, M. , Kivimaki, M. , & Vahtera, J. (2002). Organizational justice: evidence of new psychosocial preditor health.
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