Modeling Organizational Justice Improvements in a Pediatric Health Service

A Discrete-Choice Conjoint Experiment
  • Charles E. Cunningham
  • Linda Kostrzewa
  • Heather Rimas
  • Yvonne Chen
  • Ken Deal
  • Susan Blatz
  • Alida Bowman
  • Don H. Buchanan
  • Randy Calvert
  • Barbara Jennings
Original Research Article



Patients value health service teams that function effectively. Organizational justice is linked to the performance, health, and emotional adjustment of the members of these teams.


We used a discrete-choice conjoint experiment to study the organizational justice improvement preferences of pediatric health service providers.


Using themes from a focus group with 22 staff, we composed 14 four-level organizational justice improvement attributes. A sample of 652 staff (76 % return) completed 30 choice tasks, each presenting three hospitals defined by experimentally varying the attribute levels.


Latent class analysis yielded three segments. Procedural justice attributes were more important to the Decision Sensitive segment, 50.6 % of the sample. They preferred to contribute to and understand how all decisions were made and expected management to act promptly on more staff suggestions. Interactional justice attributes were more important to the Conduct Sensitive segment (38.5 %). A universal code of respectful conduct, consequences encouraging respectful interaction, and management’s response when staff disagreed with them were more important to this segment. Distributive justice attributes were more important to the Benefit Sensitive segment, 10.9 % of the sample. Simulations predicted that, while Decision Sensitive (74.9 %) participants preferred procedural justice improvements, Conduct (74.6 %) and Benefit Sensitive (50.3 %) participants preferred interactional justice improvements. Overall, 97.4 % of participants would prefer an approach combining procedural and interactional justice improvements.


Efforts to create the health service environments that patients value need to be comprehensive enough to address the preferences of segments of staff who are sensitive to different dimensions of organizational justice.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Charles E. Cunningham
    • 1
    • 2
  • Linda Kostrzewa
    • 2
  • Heather Rimas
    • 1
  • Yvonne Chen
    • 1
  • Ken Deal
    • 1
  • Susan Blatz
    • 2
  • Alida Bowman
    • 2
  • Don H. Buchanan
    • 2
  • Randy Calvert
    • 2
  • Barbara Jennings
    • 2
  1. 1.McMaster UniversityHamiltonCanada
  2. 2.McMaster Children’s HospitalHamiltonCanada

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