When Fair Procedures Don’t Work: a Self-Threat Model of Procedural Justice
- 160 Downloads
Why do individuals sometimes claim a decision is unfair when the decision process is considered fair by socially accepted standards? Past research on the interaction pattern between procedural and distributive justice generally supports the fair process effect, the idea that fair procedures ameliorate negative reactions to unfavorable decision outcomes. However, some research suggests that self-relevant variables play a role in altering the interaction pattern. Using elements of attribution theory, specifically external self-serving bias and self-threat, with group identification, we develop a new self-threat model of procedural justice. Specifically, we hypothesize that when individuals experience self-threat (threat to the ego or self-concept) as a result of a decision outcome, the tendency to protect the self by engaging in externalized attributions may result in lower perceptions of fairness and organizational justice regardless of whether the decision process is fair. Results indicate that group identification is negatively related to external self-serving bias, but is not significantly related to perceptions of self-threat. However, external self-serving bias and perceptions of self-threat are negatively related to perceptions of procedural justice. The results may help explain why individuals who have low group identification or who feel undervalued by society, such as minorities or people with disabilities, may be more likely to react negatively to an unfavorable outcome determined by fair procedures.
KeywordsProcedural justice Group identification Attribution Self-threat Self-serving bias
Compliance with Ethical Standards
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
- Adams, J. S. (1963). Wage inequities, productivity and work quality. Industrial Relations, 3, 9–16.Google Scholar
- Brockner, J. (2010). A contemporary look at organizational justice: multiplying insult times injury. New York: Taylor & Francis, LLC.Google Scholar
- Brockner, J., Heuer, L., Magner, N., Folger, R., Umphress, E., van den Bos, K., Vermunt, R., Magner, M., & Siegel, P. (2003). High procedural fairness heightens the effect of outcome favorability on self-evaluations: an attributional analysis. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 91, 51–68. doi: 10.1016/S0749-5978(02)00531-9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Brockner, J., & Wiesenfeld, B. (2005). How, when, and why does outcome favorability interact with procedural fairness? In J. Greenberg & J. A. Colquitt (Eds.), Handbook of organizational justice (pp. 525–553). Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Publishers.Google Scholar
- Chin, W. W., Marcolin, B. L., & Newsted, P. R. (2003). A partial least squares latent variable modeling approach for measuring interaction effects: results from a Monte Carlo simulation study and an electronic-mail emotion/adoption study. Information Systems Research, 14, 189–217. doi: 10.1287/isre.126.96.36.19918.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Cohen, J. (1988). Statistical power analysis for the behavioral sciences (2nd ed.). Hillsdale: Lawrence Earlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
- Folger, R., & Cropanzano, R. (1998). Organizational justice and human resource management. Beverly Hills: Sage.Google Scholar
- Folger, R., & Cropanzano, R. (2001). Fairness theory: justice as accountability. In J. Greenberg & R. Cropanzano (Eds.), Advances in organizational justice (pp. 89–118). Stanford: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
- Gefen, D., & Straub, D. (2005). A practical guide to factorial validity using PLS-graph: tutorial and annotated example. Communications of the Association for Information Systems, 16, 91–109.Google Scholar
- Hair, J. F., Black, B., Babin, B., Anderson, R. E., & Tatham, R. L. (2005). Multivariate Data Analysis (6th ed.). Prentice Hall: Englewood Cliffs.Google Scholar
- Hair Jr., J. F., Hult, G. T. M., Ringle, C., & Sarstedt, M. (2014). A primer on partial least squares structural equation modeling (PLS-SEM). Thousand Oaks: Sage.Google Scholar
- Lazarus, R. S., & Folkman, S. (1984). Stress, appraisal, and coping. New York: Springer.Google Scholar
- Leventhal, G. S. (1976). Fairness in social relationships. In J. W. Thibaut, J. T. Spence, & R. C. Carson (Eds.), Contemporary topics in social psychology (pp. 211–239). New Jersey: General Learning Press.Google Scholar
- Lind, E. A., & Van den Bos, K. (2002). When fairness works: toward a general theory of uncertainty management. In B. M. Staw & R. M. Kramer (Eds.), Research in organizational behavior (Vol. 24, pp. 181–223). Boston: Elsevier.Google Scholar
- Nunnally, J. C. (1978). Psychometric theory. NY: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
- Ringle, C. M., Wende, S., & Will, S. (2005). SmartPLS 2.0 (M3) Beta, Hamburg. http://www.smartpls.de.
- Soper, D. S. (2014). A-priori Sample Size Calculator for Structural Equation Models [Software]. http://www.danielsoper.com/statcalc.
- Thibaut, J., & Walker, L. (1975). Procedural justice: a psychological analysis. Hillsdale: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
- Tyler, T. R., & Lind, E. A. (1992). A relational model of authority in groups. In M. P. Zanna (Ed.), Advances in experimental social psychology (Vol. 25, pp. 115–191). San Diego: Academic Press.Google Scholar
- van den Bos, K. (2005). What is responsible for the fair process effect? In J. Greenberg & J. A. Colquitt (Eds.), Handbook of organizational justice (pp. 273–300). Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Publishers.Google Scholar
- van den Bos, K., Lind, E. A., & Wilke, H. A. M. (2001). The psychology of procedural and distributive justice viewed from the perspective of fairness heuristic theory. In R. Cropanzano (Ed.), Justice in the workplace (Vol. 2, pp. 49–66). Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
- van den Bos, K., Vermunt, R., & Wilke, H. A. M. (1996). The consistency rule and the voice effect: the influence of expectations on procedural fairness judgments and performance. European Journal of Social Psychology, 26, 411–428. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1099-0992(199605)26:3<411::AID-EJSP766>3.0.CO;2-2.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Wasko, M. M., & Faraj, S. (2005). Why should I share? Examining social capital and knowledge contribution in electronic networks of practice. MIS Quarterly, 29, 35–57.Google Scholar