Consequences of Unfair Job Promotions in Organizations

  • Peter Bußwolder
  • Swetlana DregertEmail author
  • Peter Letmathe
Original Article


We analyze the effect of fair and unfair job promotions on the willingness to cooperate within a group. To investigate how individuals respond to unfair (fair) job promotions, a laboratory experiment was conducted. During the experiment, one of the two persons in each dyad was assigned the role of supervisor and the other one was assigned the role of subordinate. We manipulate two factors: fair and unfair promotion (procedural injustice) as well as the possibility for the subordinate to punish the supervisor. We show that regardless of procedural justice and supported by inequity aversion as well as attribution theory, the willingness to cooperate when supervisors offer low compensation is limited. Paradoxically, supervisors who try to offset their unfair promotion actually benefit from procedural unfairness. We also show that Social Value Orientation (SVO) plays a role in the supervisor’s behavior but does not affect the subordinate’s willingness to cooperate.


Job promotion Cooperation Attribution Inequity aversion Reciprocity Punishment 



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Copyright information

© Schmalenbach-Gesellschaft für Betriebswirtschaft e.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Business and EconomicsRWTH Aachen UniversityAachenGermany

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