Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 13

Preface

The What and the Why of Social Justice


T h i s is a b o o k a b o u t o r g a n i z a t i o n a l justice. In p a r t i c u l a r , it is a b o u t t h e
c o n d i t i o n s of e m p l o y m e n t t h a t lead i n d i v i d u a l s t o believe t h e y a r e b e i n g
t r e a t e d fairly o r unfairly. In t h e c o u r s e of w r i t i n g t h i s b o o k , w e h a v e r e v i e w e d
a vast b o d y of l i t e r a t u r e i n d i c a t i n g t h a t justice is a n i m p o r t a n t m o t i v a t o r for
w o r k i n g p e o p l e . W e will s h o w t h a t w h e n i n d i v i d u a l s perceive a lack of fairness,
t h e i r m o r a l e d e c l i n e s , t h e y b e c o m e m o r e likely t o leave t h e i r j o b s , a n d t h e y
m a y even retaliate a g a i n s t t h e o r g a n i z a t i o n . Fair t r e a t m e n t , b y c o n t r a s t , b r e e d s
c o m m i t m e n t , i n t e n t i o n s to r e m a i n o n t h e j o b , a n d helpful c i t i z e n s h i p b e h a v iors t h a t g o b e y o n d t h e call of f o r m a l j o b d u t i e s . In s h o r t , j u s t i c e h o l d s p e o p l e
t o g e t h e r , w h e r e a s injustice can pull t h e m a p a r t .
As a p r e l u d e t o o u r b o o k , this preface is o r g a n i z e d a r o u n d t w o b r o a d
q u e s t i o n s : W h a t is justice a n d w h y d o e s it m a t t e r ? We t a k e u p this issue in
t h r e e s e c t i o n s . First, we define o r g a n i z a t i o n a l fairness in a g e n e r a l way, d i s t i n g u i s h i n g it from related p h i l o s o p h i c a l ideas. S e c o n d , w e e x a m i n e w h y j u s t i c e
m a t t e r s in h u m a n societies. We a r g u e t h a t fairness c o n c e r n s arise o u t of a
p r e d i c a m e n t faced b y m a n y social a n i m a l s : H o w can o n e p u r s u e i n d i v i d u a l
goals in t h e c o n t e x t of a social g r o u p ? Fairness p r o v i d e s a m e a n s for r e s o l v i n g
t h i s d i l e m m a . Finally, w e c o n c l u d e by again a s k i n g t h e q u e s t i o n : W h a t is
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justice? T h i s t i m e o u r a n s w e r will b e m o r e specific, focusing o n t h e different


varieties of fairness t h a t i n f l u e n c e w o r k life.

What Is Justice? Social Science


and Philosophical Definitions
For a scientific investigation t o go f o r w a r d , it m u s t d e f i n e i n e v e n a
c u r s o r y s e n s e t h e object o f i n q u i r y . Social j u s t i c e r e s e a r c h e r s h a v e s u c c e e d e d
in t h a t task, b u t t h e i r d e f i n i t i o n h a s h a d t r o u b l e c o m p e t i n g w i t h m o r e p o p u l a r
c o n c e p t i o n s . T h e t e r m justice h a s a colloquial m e a n i n g t h a t is v e r y close t o its
p h i l o s o p h i c a l o r i g i n s . It is social scientists w h o e m p l o y p e c u l i a r t e r m i n o l o g y .
I n this s e c t i o n , w e t r y t o illustrate h o w r e s e a r c h e r s have a p p r o a c h e d t h e s e
d e f i n i t i o n a l m a t t e r s . W e discuss a n d define t h e m e a n i n g of social j u s t i c e , b o t h
as u n d e r s t o o d b y p h i l o s o p h e r s a n d as u n d e r s t o o d b y social scientists.
Let us s t a r t b y c o n s i d e r i n g w h e r e scholars c o n c u r . Social scientists a n d
p h i l o s o p h e r s w o u l d agree t h a t a " j u s t " act is o n e t h a t is p e r c e i v e d t o b e g o o d
o r r i g h t e o u s . Similarly, b o t h g r o u p s of scholars w o u l d also suggest t h a t a n act
c a n b e g o o d w i t h o u t b e i n g fair ( o r u n f a i r ) . For e x a m p l e , A r i s t o t l e b e l i e v e d
t h a t a g o o d p e r s o n s h o u l d live a life of t e m p e r a n c e o r m o d e r a t i o n . By t h a t
view, a d r u n k a r d o r h e d o n i s t is n o t a r i g h t e o u s p e r s o n . P e o p l e w h o c o n s i d e r
excessive d r i n k i n g to b e b a d , however, p r o b a b l y w o u l d n o t say t h a t it is
"unfair." Fairness a n d u n f a i r n e s s s e e m i r r e l e v a n t c o n c e p t s for i m p r u d e n t
b e h a v i o r h a r m i n g n o o n e else.
O n t h e o t h e r h a n d , s u p p o s e t h e d r u n k a r d b e g i n s t o i n c o n v e n i e n c e his o r
her coworkers. H a r m to coworkers by a d r u n k a r d , w h e n the coworkers did
n o t h i n g t o d e s e r v e b e i n g h a r m e d , s e e m s t o qualify as a n injustice. W h y ? T h e
a n s w e r is t h a t j u d g m e n t s a b o u t justice usually involve a social c o n t e x t a n d
unwarranted actions by one party that h a r m or threaten other parties (such
as b y i m p o s i n g c o n s e q u e n c e s t h a t t h e y c o n s i d e r t o b e u n d e s e r v e d ) . If a p e r s o n
d r i n k s a n d h a r m s n o o n e else, t h e n a l t h o u g h this b e h a v i o r m i g h t b e w r o n g h e a d e d , s t u p i d , a n d even sinful, it is n e i t h e r fair n o r unfair. O n t h e o t h e r h a n d ,
o n c e t h a t i n d i v i d u a l b e g i n s t o affect t h e lives of o t h e r s , t h e n fairness c a n
b e c o m e a n issue. W e can d e s c r i b e t h e selfish a l c o h o l i c w i l l i n g t o i g n o r e t h e
p r o s p e c t s of i m p o s i n g u n d u e h a r m o n o t h e r s a s unfair.
In o r g a n i z a t i o n s , justice is a b o u t t h e rules a n d social n o r m s g o v e r n i n g h o w
o u t c o m e s (e.g., r e w a r d s a n d p u n i s h m e n t s ) s h o u l d b e d i s t r i b u t e d , t h e p r o c e d u r e s u s e d for m a k i n g s u c h d i s t r i b u t i o n d e c i s i o n s (as well as o t h e r t y p e s of
d e c i s i o n s ) , a n d h o w p e o p l e a r e t r e a t e d i n t e r p e r s o n a l l y (Bies & T r i p p , 1995a,
1995b). W h e n n o o u t c o m e s are being assigned a n d w h e n there are n o p r o cesses for a s s i g n i n g t h e m (i.e., n o o n e is i n t e r a c t i n g ) , t h e n j u s t i c e b e c o m e s

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m o o t . W h e n p e o p l e i n t e r a c t , however, t h e y b e g i n t o t r e a t o n e a n o t h e r in
c e r t a i n ways. T h e y m i g h t , for e x a m p l e , d e r o g a t e each o t h e r (i.e., t a k e a w a y
s o m e o n e ' s social s t a t u s o r self-respect) o r t h e y m i g h t t r e a t e a c h o t h e r r e s p e c t fully (i.e., assign each o t h e r positive s t a t u s ) . S o m e t r a n s a c t i o n s a n d o t h e r t y p e s
of i n t e r a c t i o n s a r e j u d g e d t o be v i r t u o u s o r fair, w h e r e a s o t h e r s a r e n o t
" p r o p e r " a n d are unfair. W h e n we say t h a t s o m e o n e has t r e a t e d u s "unfairly,"
w e m e a n t h a t h e o r she h a s v i o l a t e d s o m e ethical s t a n d a r d ( s ) r e g a r d i n g m o r a l
b e h a v i o r . T h a t p e r s o n h a s n o t t r e a t e d us as w e believe p e o p l e " s h o u l d " b e
treated.
F r o m this i n t r o d u c t i o n , it is p r o b a b l y clear w h e r e p h i l o s o p h e r s a n d social
scientists diverge. Ethical p h i l o s o p h e r s a r e i n t e r e s t e d in p r o v i d i n g prescriptive
o r normative
d e f i n i t i o n s of justice. Loosely, w e c a n say t h a t t h e y give u s
g u i d a n c e as t o h o w w e s h o u l d b e h a v e ( D o n a l d s o n 8c D u n f e e , 1994; W a t e r m a n ,
1988). P h i l o s o p h e r s a t t e m p t t o d e v e l o p s t a n d a r d s a n d "first p r i n c i p l e s " t h a t
allow us t o m a k e ethical d e c i s i o n s . O f c o u r s e , t h i s e n t e r p r i s e defines justice
w i t h r e s p e c t t o s o m e p h i l o s o p h i c a l system. T h e s a m e act can b e seen as m o r e
o r less fair, d e p e n d i n g o n w h i c h p h i l o s o p h i c a l system o n e utilizes. For t h i s
r e a s o n , p e o p l e v a r y in w h a t t h e y see as ethical b e h a v i o r ( H o s m e r , 1995; J o n e s ,
1 9 9 1 ) . For e x a m p l e , R o k e a c h ( 1 9 7 3 ) a r g u e d t h a t i n d i v i d u a l s w h o v a l u e b o t h
e q u a l i t y a n d f r e e d o m t e n d t o view w i d e gaps b e t w e e n t h e rich a n d t h e p o o r
as unfair. T h e y d o n o t like it w h e n a relatively s m a l l n u m b e r of p e o p l e c o n t r o l
a d i s p r o p o r t i o n a t e a m o u n t of t h e available w e a l t h . T h e s e i n d i v i d u a l s often
prefer d e m o c r a t i c socialism as a m e a n s of rectifying w h a t t h e y see as a n
"unfair" income distribution. O n the other hand, those w h o have strong
v a l u e s for f r e e d o m b u t less for e q u a l i t y are m o r e o r i e n t e d t o w a r d f r e e - m a r k e t
c a p i t a l i s m . W i d e variability in i n c o m e s is n o t u n f a i r in this p h i l o s o p h i c a l
w o r l d v i e w b e c a u s e e q u a l i t y is a s e c o n d a r y v a l u e . For p e o p l e w i t h this o r i e n t a t i o n , a lack of justice can result from g o v e r n m e n t r e s t r i c t i o n s a n d "confisc a t i o n " of t h e i r w e a l t h t h r o u g h taxes. Justice, in this p h i l o s o p h i c a l s e n s e , refers
t o t h e e x t e n t t o w h i c h a given a c t i o n , o u t c o m e , o r c i r c u m s t a n c e is in a l i g n m e n t
w i t h a c e r t a i n ethical p a r a d i g m ( H o s m e r , 1995).
If this b o o k w e r e a b o u t p h i l o s o p h i c a l views o n justice, t h e c o n t e n t w o u l d
focus o n a p p l i e d ethical p r i n c i p l e s , p e r h a p s even a t o u c h of t h e o l o g y . It w o u l d
p r o b a b l y n o t b e e m p i r i c a l , a l t h o u g h it m i g h t b e i n f o r m e d b y d a t a (cf. D o n a l d s o n & D u n f e e , 1994; R a n d a l l & G i b s o n , 1990). H o w e v e r , w e h a v e offered
t h e r e a d e r this d e f i n i t i o n of justice o n l y b y w a y of c o n t r a s t . F o r social a n d
o r g a n i z a t i o n a l scientists, justice is defined p h e n o m e n o l o g i c a l l y . T h a t is, a n act
is " j u s t " b e c a u s e s o m e o n e t h i n k s it is j u s t a n d r e s p o n d s a c c o r d i n g l y . T h i s
d e f i n i t i o n is subjective a n d socially c o n s t r u c t e d . As o n e m i g h t i m a g i n e , t w o
o r m o r e p e o p l e can d i s a g r e e . Justice, t h e n , is a p e r c e p t u a l c o g n i t i o n . P e o p l e
perceive a c e r t a i n e v e n t . T h e y t h e n m a k e j u d g m e n t s r e g a r d i n g t h a t e v e n t a n d
s t o r e t h e m in m e m o r y . Justice is a m e a n s b y w h i c h i n d i v i d u a l s m a k e sense o u t

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o f t h e i r social w o r l d s . We c a n see from this analysis t h a t justice p e r c e p t i o n s


s h a r e m u c h in c o m m o n w i t h s t e r e o t y p e s , s c h e m a s , h e u r i s t i c s , a n d a t t i t u d e s .
T h e d i s t i n c t i o n b e t w e e n t h e p h i l o s o p h i c a l a n d t h e social scientific v i e w of
justice is i m p o r t a n t for u n d e r s t a n d i n g t e r m i n o l o g y . S u p p o s e t h e r e w a s a
m o d e r a t e l y sized family b u s i n e s s . O n r e t i r e m e n t , t h e o w n e r of t h e firm gave
his i n e x p e r i e n c e d s o n t h e j o b of p r e s i d e n t , t h e r e b y p a s s i n g o v e r e m p l o y e e s
w i t h g r e a t e r seniority, m o r e e x p e r i e n c e , a n d b e t t e r p e r f o r m a n c e r e c o r d s . W a s
t h i s p r o m o t i o n unfair? A p h i l o s o p h e r m i g h t say yes o r no, d e p e n d i n g o n his
o r h e r e t h i c a l i n c l i n a t i o n s . For e x a m p l e , t h e i n d i v i d u a l w h o s t r o n g l y b e l i e v e d
in t h e d o c t r i n e of e m p l o y m e n t at will w o u l d see t h e c o m p a n y as t h e p e r s o n a l
p r o p e r t y o f t h e o w n e r . A l t h o u g h t h e o w n e r ' s d e c i s i o n m a y h a v e b e e n foolh a r d y , it is n o t unfair. T h e o w n e r can d o w h a t e v e r h e w a n t s w i t h h i s p r o p e r t y .
O n e m i g h t d e b a t e this c o n c l u s i o n ( m o s t p h i l o s o p h e r s p r o b a b l y w o u l d ) , b u t
t h e r e s o l u t i o n u l t i m a t e l y d e p e n d s o n o n e ' s values. D e p e n d i n g o n o n e ' s p o i n t
of view, t h e act c o u l d b e seen as fair.
A social scientist h a s a n a r r o w e r q u e s t i o n . In this case, t h e act is u n f a i r w h e n
o b s e r v e r s j u d g e it t o b e unfair. T h e social scientist assesses p e r c e i v e d fairness
b y collecting d a t a . If m o s t p e o p l e perceive t h e act as a n injustice, t h e n it is a n
i n j u s t i c e a s far as t h e social scientist is c o n c e r n e d . A n o t h e r i n v e s t i g a t o r
d i s a g r e e i n g w i t h t h a t a p p r a i s a l w o u l d p r o b a b l y refer t o t h e q u a l i t y o f t h e d a t a
r a t h e r t h a n t o s o m e a b s t r a c t ethical system.
In t h i s b o o k , of c o u r s e , w e will b e u s i n g t h e social scientific d e f i n i t i o n .
Justice is a b o u t h o w r e w a r d s a n d p u n i s h m e n t s are d i s t r i b u t e d b y a n d w i t h i n
social collectives, a n d it is also a b o u t h o w p e o p l e g o v e r n r e l a t i o n s w i t h o n e
a n o t h e r . It is a b o u t w h o gets w h a t a n d w h e t h e r t h e p a r t i c i p a n t s in ( a n d
o b s e r v e r s of) t h e s e t r a n s a c t i o n s believe t h e m t o b e r i g h t e o u s . It is also a b o u t
t h e r e a c t i o n s of p a r t i c i p a n t s a n d o b s e r v e r s to t h e r i g h t e o u s n e s s of o t h e r k i n d s
of h u m a n i n t e r a c t i o n s t h o s e t h a t s e e m t o lie b e y o n d m a t e r i a l t r a n s a c t i o n
a n d d i s t r i b u t i o n . O n c e w e u n d e r s t a n d w h a t j u s t i c e is, w e c a n easily c o m p r e h e n d w h y it is so c e n t r a l to h u m a n affairs: P e o p l e care d e e p l y a b o u t h o w t h e y
are t r e a t e d b y o t h e r s .
It s h o u l d c o m e as n o s u r p r i s e t o learn t h a t scholars of all s t r i p e s a n d e r a s
h a v e b e e n c o n c e r n e d w i t h social justice. M a n y of t h e earliest h u m a n w r i t i n g s ,
s u c h as H a m m u r a b i ' s C o d e a n d t h e Bible, s h o w e d a n i n t e r e s t in social j u s t i c e .
These writings discussed h o w people should treat other people a n d h o w
r e s o u r c e s s h o u l d b e allocated. T h e m y t h s a n d folklore of e v e r y c u l t u r e also
c o n t a i n at least s o m e tales d e s i g n e d t o teach m o r a l a n d e t h i c a l l e s s o n s .
Likewise, in t h e W e s t e r n p h i l o s o p h i c a l t r a d i t i o n , p h i l o s o p h e r s since P l a t o a n d
A r i s t o t l e h a v e w r e s t l e d w i t h issues of fairness. I n d e e d , it s e e m s n a t u r a l for
h u m a n b e i n g s t o w o r r y a b o u t j u s t i c e . C h i l d r e n s h o w a c o n c e r n for fairness at
a v e r y early age (see W i l s o n , 1993, for a r e v i e w ) . Research r e v i e w e d b y d e Waal
( 1 9 9 6 ) i n d i c a t e s t h a t n o n h u m a n p r i m a t e s s h o w a r u d i m e n t a r y s e n s e of j u s -

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tice; t h e y p r a c t i c e r e c i p r o c i t y a n d p u n i s h t h o s e m e m b e r s w h o h a v e t h e t e m e r ity t o h a r m t h e g r o u p , d i s p l a y i n g w h a t e t h o l o g i s t s call m o r a l i s t i c a g g r e s s i o n .


D e s p i t e differing n o r m s , all h u m a n g r o u p s s h o w at least s o m e c o n c e r n w i t h
fairness ( W i l s o n , 1993), if this is u n d e r s t o o d t o m e a n p l a y i n g b y t h e r u l e s a n d
a b i d i n g b y ethical s t a n d a r d s .
A l t h o u g h a n y o n e can easily i m a g i n e u n f a i r s i t u a t i o n s , it is difficult t o
e n v i s i o n a social w o r l d in w h i c h justice w o u l d n o t even b e a c o n s i d e r a t i o n .
W e k n o w u n f a i r n e s s b e c a u s e it violates o u r sense o f w h a t is fair. A n y t h i n g else
w o u l d r e q u i r e us t o i m a g i n e a w o r l d in w h i c h n o o n e c a r e d a b o u t w h o g o t
w h a t , o r in w h i c h t h e r e w e r e n o rules g o v e r n i n g t h e a l l o c a t i o n o f b e n e f i t s a n d
p u n i s h m e n t s . T h i s is n o t easy for us t o c o n t e m p l a t e . I n d e e d , w h e n w e m e e t
p e o p l e w i t h a b s o l u t e l y n o sense of justice w e label t h e m psychopaths
or
narcissists a n d a s s u m e t h a t t h e y are m e n t a l l y ill ( W i l s o n , 1993). S o m e m i g h t
e v e n suggest t h a t a p e r s o n w h o d o e s n o t c o n s i d e r fairness s h o u l d b e s e p a r a t e d
f r o m t h e rest of u s b y m e a n s of i n c a r c e r a t i o n .

Why Justice?
All of t h e s e o b s e r v a t i o n s p o i n t t o t h e p e r v a s i v e n e s s of j u s t i c e c o n s i d e r a t i o n s in h u m a n e n d e a v o r s . H o w e v e r , n o n e of t h e m specifies w h y t h i s is so.
W e are m u c h like t h e p r o v e r b i a l fish w h o , h a v i n g n e v e r b e e n a n y w h e r e else,
fails t o see t h a t it is in t h e water. Because w e often t h i n k in fairness t e r m s , we
h a v e difficulty i m a g i n i n g h o w it c o u l d b e o t h e r w i s e . We can u n d e r s t a n d w h y
justice is i m p o r t a n t by r e m e m b e r i n g t h a t fairness c o n c e r n s itself w i t h w h a t
t h i n g s get allocated a n d h o w these a l l o c a t i o n s take place. T h u s , to say t h a t
justice m a t t e r s is m o r e o r less s y n o n y m o u s w i t h m a i n t a i n i n g t h a t p e o p l e care
a b o u t h o w t h e y a r e t r e a t e d b y o t h e r s . T h e r o o t s of j u s t i c e can b e f o u n d in o u r
i n c l i n a t i o n t o affiliate w i t h o t h e r p e o p l e .
W i t h t h e s e o b s e r v a t i o n s in m i n d , w e are n o w r e a d y t o a n s w e r t h e " w h y "
q u e s t i o n . T h i s preface will a p p r o a c h t h e m a t t e r b r o a d l y , d i v i d i n g o u r a r g u m e n t i n t o f o u r s e c t i o n s . First, w e discuss w h y p e o p l e live a n d w o r k in g r o u p s .
W e e m p h a s i z e t h a t social collectives, in t h e b r o a d e s t sense of t h a t t e r m ,
p r o v i d e Homo sapiens w i t h a v a r i e t y of a d v a n t a g e s . S e c o n d , given t h e a d v a n tages of g r o u p living, it s e e m s likely t h a t g r e g a r i o u s n e s s h a d clear s u r v i v a l
v a l u e . O n t h e basis of this, we will a r g u e t h a t sociability is b u i l t i n t o t h e h u m a n
p s y c h e . N a t u r e h a s e n d o w e d h u m a n s w i t h a set o f i n c l i n a t i o n s o r n e e d s t h a t
o t h e r p e o p l e a r e helpful in fulfilling. T h i r d , w e will e x a m i n e h u m a n n e e d s in
m o r e detail. G e n e r a l l y s p e a k i n g , h u m a n n e e d s can b e o r g a n i z e d i n t o t w o
b r o a d c a t e g o r i e s . O n e set of n e e d s is e c o n o m i c o r q u a s i - e c o n o m i c . For
e x a m p l e , p e o p l e r e q u i r e shelter, food, a n d so o n . A n o t h e r set is s o c i o e m o -

xvii

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t i o n a l . For e x a m p l e , p e o p l e t e n d t o b e d e s i r o u s of s t a t u s a n d a s e n s e o f d i g n i t y .
S u c h n e e d s d r a w u s t o o t h e r s . F o u r t h , w e discuss h o w i n d i v i d u a l i n c l i n a t i o n s
t u g p e o p l e i n t o social g r o u p s as a m e a n s of fulfilling t h e i r n e e d s . C o n s e q u e n t l y , m o s t of u s seek o u t o t h e r s , b u t w e t e n d t o d o s o t o fulfill o u r o w n
objectives. As s u c h , o u t c o m e s in t h e g r o u p n e e d t o b e n e g o t i a t e d . Justice
p r o v i d e s t h e vehicle b y w h i c h these n e g o t i a t i o n s can o c c u r .
1

Why People Need Other People


T h e b o t t o m line in species survival is t h e r e p r o d u c t i o n of v i a b l e o f f s p r i n g
( W r i g h t , 1994). O f c o u r s e , t o r e a c h t h i s goal o n e n e e d s t o stay alive l o n g
e n o u g h t o m a t e . T h i s r e q u i r e s o b t a i n i n g a d e q u a t e food a n d e s c a p i n g p r e d a t o r s , a m o n g o t h e r t h i n g s . H u m a n b e i n g s are especially v u l n e r a b l e as i n f a n t s .
As G o u l d ( 1 9 8 1 ) o b s e r v e d , h u m a n s a r e b o r n relatively i m m a t u r e , as n o t m u c h
m o r e t h a n e m b r y o s . In a d d i t i o n , t h e large size of i n f a n t h e a d s m a k e s deliveries
difficult a n d d a n g e r o u s for m o t h e r s ( D i a m o n d , 1992). F o r t u n a t e l y , h u m a n s
a n d r e l a t e d species can p o o l t h e i r o t h e r w i s e m o d e s t physical r e s o u r c e s b y
f o r m i n g social g r o u p s . For m o s t of e v o l u t i o n a r y history, t h e s e g r o u p s c o n sisted of s m a l l clans c o m p o s e d m o s t l y of b l o o d r e l a t i o n s w h o m a d e t h e i r living
as h u n t e r - g a t h e r e r s ( D i a m o n d , 1992). O n c e g r o u p s a r e o r g a n i z e d , all s o r t s of
advantages begin to accrue. People can gather themselves into h u n t i n g parties
(or, p e r h a p s m o r e accurately, s c a v e n g i n g p a r t i e s ; see L e w i n , 1 9 8 8 ) , fight as a
t e a m , a n d s h a r e t h e a l l - i m p o r t a n t c h o r e s of child r e a r i n g a n d e d u c a t i o n .
Given these considerations, we might suspect that people w o u l d w o r k
t o g e t h e r o n t h e basis of n o t h i n g m o r e t h a n s t r a i g h t f o r w a r d , r a t i o n a l c o n s i d e r a t i o n s . T h i s idea is n o d o u b t largely t r u e , as r e a s o n allows p e o p l e t o select
a m o n g a p l e t h o r a of a l t e r n a t i v e g r o u p s . For i n s t a n c e , w e p i c k a n d c h o o s e
a m o n g p o t e n t i a l e m p l o y e r s by t a k i n g o u r self-interest i n t o a c c o u n t . A j o b
a p p l i c a n t m i g h t a c c e p t t h e p o s i t i o n t h a t offers t h e h i g h e s t p a y ( a l t h o u g h h e
o r she w e i g h s o t h e r t h i n g s as well; see C h a p t e r 4 in this v o l u m e ) . I n a d d i t i o n ,
w e can also c h o o s e to m o d i f y t h e collectives of w h i c h w e a r e a l r e a d y a p a r t .
For e x a m p l e , t h e size of a c o r p o r a t i o n m i g h t b e e x p a n d e d in o r d e r t o b o o s t
m a n u f a c t u r i n g efficiency ( F u k u y a m a , 1995).
D e s p i t e t h e s t r e n g t h of t h e s e a r g u m e n t s , t h e y tell o n l y p a r t o f t h e story.
P u r e l y r a t i o n a l c o n s i d e r a t i o n s r e q u i r e a r e a s o n a b l y g o o d intellect. N e i t h e r t h e
c h e e t a h n o r t h e gray wolf sits d o w n a n d r e a s o n s t h r o u g h t h e b e s t h u n t i n g
s t r a t e g y m u c h less c o n d u c t s a n e m p i r i c a l study. R a t h e r , t h e c h e e t a h evolved
as a s o l i t a r y stalker a n d t h e gray wolf as a p a c k h u n t e r . W i t h i n e a c h species,
style s h o w s little v a r i a n c e . By e x t e n s i o n , r a t i o n a l c o n s i d e r a t i o n s c a n n o t a c c o u n t for a key aspect of h u m a n life: P e o p l e ( o r t h e a n c e s t o r s o f p e o p l e ) w e r e
affiliating in collectives b e f o r e m o d e r n b r a i n capacities h a d evolved ( d e W a a l ,
1996; L e w i n , 1988). U n d o u b t e d l y , r e a s o n influences t h e m e c h a n i s m s b y w h i c h

xviii

ORGANIZATIONAL

JUSTICE

w e select o u r c o m r a d e s a n d friends. It also p r o v i d e s u s w i t h i n n o v a t i o n s a n d


ideas for h o w t h e s e g r o u p s can b e c h a n g e d a n d a d j u s t e d . O u r o r i e n t a t i o n
t o w a r d o t h e r s in g e n e r a l , h o w e v e r , p r e d a t e s s o p h i s t i c a t e d c o g n i t i v e a n d linguistic capabilities. It is a m o r e basic i n c l i n a t i o n , in t h e n a r r o w s e n s e t h a t o u r
t h i n k i n g capacities d e v e l o p e d w i t h i n t h e c o n t e x t of o u r social n a t u r e s , n o t t h e
reverse.
W e n e e d t o b e e x t r e m e l y careful n o t t o o v e r s t a t e this p o i n t . W e a r e n o t
a r g u i n g for biological d e t e r m i n i s m . A large b r a i n p r o v i d e s h u m a n s w i t h
t r e m e n d o u s flexibility for e n g a g i n g in i n n o v a t i v e p l a n n i n g . Likewise, w e d o
n o t i n t e n d t o u n d e r s t a t e t h e role of c u l t u r e . O b v i o u s l y t h e s e i n f l u e n c e s a r e
v e r y i m p o r t a n t . It is also clear, h o w e v e r , t h a t t h e vast m a j o r i t y of p e o p l e , f r o m
all walks o f life, e s c h e w a solitary existence. M o s t of u s seek s o m e c o n t a c t w i t h
o t h e r s , a l t h o u g h w e v a r y w i d e l y in w h o m w e c h o o s e a n d h o w m u c h c o n t a c t
w e prefer. W i t h t h e s e caveats in m i n d , let u s n o w take u p t h e m a t t e r in g r e a t e r
detail.

How Nature Built Humans to Work


With Others: Evolution Within a Social Setting
M o s t a n t h r o p o l o g i s t s agree t h a t h u m a n s s h a r e at least t w o a t t r i b u t e s : big
b r a i n s a n d a t e n d e n c y to affiliate in social g r o u p s . T h e s e c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s a r e ,
of c o u r s e , related. Big b r a i n s allow u s to k e e p t r a c k of w h o is in o u r i n - g r o u p s
a n d w h o else, conversely, is n o t (Bigelow, 1972). M o r e o v e r , t h e y h e l p u s t o
r e m e m b e r t h e d o m i n a n c e h i e r a r c h i e s u n d e r w h i c h w e all live, a n d t h e y g u i d e
u s in crafting t h e n e c e s s a r y political tactics t o c o m p e t e w i t h i n t h a t h i e r a r c h y
( d e Waal, 1996; L e w i n , 1988). U s i n g o u r intelligence, h u m a n s can also d i s t i n g u i s h t h o s e a m o n g us w h o a r e h o n e s t a n d w o r t h y of o u r t r u s t f r o m t h o s e w h o
a r e selfish " f r e e - r i d e r s " ( C o s m i d e s , 1989).
T h e r e is a s u b t l e t h e m e r u n n i n g t h r o u g h all of t h e s e e x a m p l e s . H u m a n
b e i n g s w e r e p r o b a b l y o r g a n i z i n g t h e m s e l v e s i n t o social g r o u p s w h e n t h e y
w e r e still Australopithecus
afarensis. In o t h e r w o r d s , we w e r e living in clans
b e f o r e w e w e r e h u m a n s o r even h o m i n i d s (Lewin, 1988; W i l s o n , 1978; W r i g h t ,
1994). A d d i t i o n a l l y , o u r big b r a i n s t h e h a l l m a r k of h u m a n i t y d i d n o t
c o n d i t i o n u s t o this g r e g a r i o u s lifestyle; r a t h e r , t h e g r e g a r i o u s lifestyle h e l p e d
lead t o t h e e v o l u t i o n of t h e b r a i n . Keep in m i n d t h a t e v o l u t i o n is a r e s p o n s e
t o e n v i r o n m e n t a l p r e s s u r e s . For o u r a n c e s t o r s , t h a t e n v i r o n m e n t w a s largely
a social e n v i r o n m e n t . To state t h e m a t t e r loosely: We b e c a m e h u m a n b e c a u s e
w e w e r e social a n i m a l s . O u r e v o l u t i o n a r y h i s t o r y h a s b u i l t us so t h a t w e n e e d
t h i n g s t h a t a r e b e s t fulfilled b y o t h e r s .

Preface

xix

Two Sets of Needs


Loosely s p e a k i n g , p e o p l e can b e said to h a v e t w o b r o a d sets o f n e e d s . O n
t h e o n e h a n d , o f c o u r s e , a r e t h e basic n e e d s t h a t a r e r e q u i s i t e for i n d i v i d u a l
survival: T h e s e a r e d e m a n d s for c o n c r e t e m a t e r i a l t h i n g s , s u c h as f o o d a n d
shelter. T h i s w o u l d also i n c l u d e legal t e n d e r (i.e., m o n e y ) t h a t c a n b e r e a d i l y
e x c h a n g e d for g o o d s . T h e s e m a t e r i a l n e e d s c a n b e said t o h a v e "a c o n s u m m a t o r y f a c e t . . . [ a n d ] can b e enjoyed i m m e d i a t e l y " ( L i n d , 1995, p . 9 6 ) . P e r s o n ality t h e o r i s t s (see C a m p b e l l & P r i t c h a r d , 1976; C r o p a n z a n o , J a m e s , 8c C i t e r a ,
1993; M u r r a y , 1938) h a v e given a great deal of a t t e n t i o n t o c o n c r e t e , m a t e r i a l
c r a v i n g s . I n fact, t h i s family o f n e e d s h a s b e e n s t u d i e d u n d e r a v a r i e t y o f
n a m e s , s u c h as physiological n e e d s ( M a s l o w , 1954) a n d e x i s t e n c e n e e d s (Alderfer, 1 9 6 9 , 1 9 7 2 ) . In t h e p r e s e n t d i s c u s s i o n , w e a r e n o t a t t e m p t i n g t o i n v o k e
a specific n e e d t h e o r y . T h e o n l y issue h e r e is t h a t a v a r i e t y o f h u m a n d e s i r e s
c a n b e s u b s u m e d u n d e r t h i s g e n e r a l family. To s e p a r a t e o u r t h i n k i n g f r o m t h e
p e r s o n a l i t y l i t e r a t u r e , w e shall refer to t h e s e s i m p l y as economic needs ( i n
k e e p i n g w i t h C r o p a n z a n o 8c S c h m i n k e , in p r e s s ) .
T h e s e c o n d class of n e e d s is m o r e directly tied t o o u r social n a t u r e s . To a
g r e a t e r o r lesser e x t e n t , p e o p l e d e s i r e t o b e v a l u e d a n d e s t e e m e d b y o t h e r s . As
L i n d ( 1 9 9 5 ) r e m a r k e d succinctly, s o m e t h i n g s a r e d e s i r e d " b e c a u s e t h e y h a v e
g r e a t e r i m p l i c a t i o n s for feelings of i n c l u s i o n a n d social i d e n t i t y " ( p . 9 6 ) .
A m o n g o t h e r t h i n g s , this w o u l d i n c l u d e a sense of d i g n i t y a n d t h e r e s p e c t of
o n e ' s p e e r s (cf. " b e l o n g i n g n e s s n e e d s , " M a s l o w , 1954; " r e l a t e d n e s s n e e d s , "
Alderfer, 1969, 1972). In this d i s c u s s i o n , w e shall refer t o t h e m s i m p l y as
socioemotional
needs ( C r o p a n z a n o 8c S c h m i n k e , in p r e s s ) . T h e s e s o c i o e m o t i o n a l n e e d s d r i v e h o m e t h e r e a s o n t h a t h u m a n s feel c o m p e l l e d t o affiliate
w i t h o t h e r p e o p l e , b e c a u s e t h e r e is n o w a y for u s as h u m a n s t o fulfill t h e s e
d e s i r e s c o m p l e t e l y b y o u r s e l v e s . To s o m e e x t e n t , p e o p l e m u s t l o o k t o o t h e r
h u m a n s for s t a t u s a n d e s t e e m .

The Predicament: Trying to Meet Personal


Needs in the Context of a Social Group
G r o u p c o o p e r a t i o n often e n h a n c e s t h e ability t o p r o v i d e for e c o n o m i c
n e e d s . For t h i s r e a s o n , a g e n e r a l t e n d e n c y t o seek o u t o t h e r s h a s e v o l v e d
( S i m o n , 1983). In a d d i t i o n , this t e n d e n c y m a n i f e s t s itself as a set o f s o c i o e m o t i o n a l n e e d s t h a t g o unfulfilled u n l e s s p e e r s act in ways t h a t m e e t t h o s e n e e d s .
For s u c h r e a s o n s , p e o p l e c h o o s e t o affiliate w i t h o t h e r s . P e o p l e h o p e t h a t
u l t i m a t e l y t h e i r c o m r a d e s will h e l p t h e m a t t a i n t h e i r g o a l s . U n f o r t u n a t e l y ,
t h o s e c o m r a d e s h a v e m a n y of t h e s a m e objectives for t h e m s e l v e s . T h e y seek
c o l l a b o r a t i o n in o r d e r to achieve t h e i r goals, w h i c h m i g h t b e i n c o m p a t i b l e
w i t h t h e goals o f t h o s e s e e k i n g t h e i r h e l p .
2

XX

ORGANIZATIONAL JUSTICE

T h e s i t u a t i o n c a n b e u n d e r s t o o d t h u s : If o u r c o m r a d e s a r e n o t helpful t o
u s , t h e n w e a r e m o r e likely to seek a n e w set of associates. Likewise, if w e a r e
n o t helpful t o o u r c o m r a d e s , t h e n t h e y will b e m o t i v a t e d t o a b a n d o n u s . T h e y
d e p e n d o n u s to give t h e m respect. For t h i s r e a s o n , each p e r s o n c a n n o t b e
o v e r l y d e m a n d i n g of o t h e r s . E v e r y o n e s h o u l d s h o w at least a m o d i c u m o f
c o n c e r n for t h e n e e d s of his o r h e r p e e r s . Ultimately, successful collectives a r e
b a s e d o n a g r a n d c o m p r o m i s e e v e r y o n e agrees t o k e e p h i s / h e r p e r s o n a l
self-interest partially in check so t h a t s o m e t h i n g is left for o t h e r m e m b e r s of
the group.
Justice n o r m s d e v e l o p as g u i d e l i n e s for fair i n t e r a c t i o n a n d r u l e s b y w h i c h
e x c h a n g e s a r e m a d e . In t h e act of f r a m i n g n o r m s , social g r o u p s d e c i d e w h a t
is " r i g h t " a n d "ethical." T h e s e n o r m s h e l p u s t o r e g u l a t e b o t h o u r o w n
b e h a v i o r a n d t h e b e h a v i o r of o t h e r s . For e x a m p l e , w e k n o w t h a t if w e take t o o
b i g a p o r t i o n o f t h e profits for o u r s e l v e s , we risk t h e d i s d a i n o f o u r c o w o r k e r s .
Justice m a k e s us a w a r e of t h o s e b o u n d a r i e s . F u r t h e r m o r e , j u s t i c e affords u s a
sense of predictability. W h e n w e have clear rules, w e k n o w h o w d e c i s i o n s are
m a d e a n d w h a t o u t c o m e s w e are a p t to receive in t h e l o n g r u n . In a fair s y s t e m ,
for e x a m p l e , w e a r e likely t o b e less u p s e t w h e n a p a r t i c u l a r t r a n s a c t i o n d o e s
n o t g o o u r way. T h i s affords us m o r e c o n f i d e n c e t h a t o u t c o m e s will b e
d i s t r i b u t e d a d e q u a t e l y in t h e future.
Of c o u r s e , it is difficult t o m o n i t o r s o m e t r a n s a c t i o n s , a n d it is n o t always
easy t o k n o w w h e t h e r y o u a r e b e i n g t r e a t e d fairly. A d d e d t o t h e s e c o n c e r n s is
a n o t h e r i m p o r t a n t fact: M e m b e r s of a g r o u p h a v e a n i n c e n t i v e t o c h e a t . T h i s
is b e c a u s e "free r i d i n g , " if u n d e t e c t e d , allows t h e c h e a t e r t o m a x i m i z e his o r
h e r benefits w i t h o u t e n d a n g e r i n g his o r h e r f u t u r e . Justice n o r m s offer a
p a r t i a l s o l u t i o n . S o u n d fairness p r i n c i p l e s c a n p r o v i d e clearer s t a n d a r d s b y
w h i c h a p e e r ' s b e h a v i o r can b e e v a l u a t e d . T h i s c o u l d m a k e it easier t o d e t e c t
free r i d e r s .
In s u m , o t h e r p e o p l e are t h e a v e n u e b y w h i c h i n d i v i d u a l s fulfill m a n y of
t h e i r n e e d s . Justice p r o v i d e s us w i t h a system for g e t t i n g o u r n e e d s m e t in a n
o r d e r l y a n d fair way. O n c e g r o u p m e m b e r s agree o n t h e r u l e s of fairness ( n o
m e a n t a s k ) , t h e n e v e r y o n e n e e d o n l y a b i d e b y t h e m . D o i n g so m e a n s t h a t y o u
c a n a d d r e s s t h e n e e d s of o t h e r s w h i l e o t h e r s a r e a d d r e s s i n g y o u r p e r s o n a l
i n t e r e s t s . W e shall d e m o n s t r a t e this m a t t e r m o r e explicitly in o u r n e x t s e c t i o n .

What Is Justice (Revisited)? Distributive


and Procedural Justice in Work Organizations
At t h i s p o i n t , it m i g h t b e useful to c o n s i d e r t h e social scientific a p p r o a c h in
m o r e detail. As we have seen, p h i l o s o p h i c a l t h e o r i e s of social j u s t i c e a r e

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xxi

i n t i m a t e l y c o n c e r n e d w i t h h o w p e o p l e relate to o n e a n o t h e r in e x c h a n g e
s i t u a t i o n s . A n y o u t c o m e assigned b y a g r o u p o r i n d i v i d u a l , b e it m o n e y o r
s t a t u s , c a n b e j u d g e d w i t h respect t o fairness. Because t h e s e a r e i m p o r t a n t
r e a s o n s t h a t p e o p l e a r e d r i v e n t o affiliate, justice is critical for u n d e r s t a n d i n g
interpersonal relationships a n d g r o u p processes (Greenberg, 1988a). We can
say, t h e r e f o r e , t h a t justice involves at least t w o o r m o r e a c t o r s a n d s o m e
c a t e g o r y of r e s o u r c e . We can define t h e s e t e r m s b r o a d l y . T h e a c t o r s n e e d n o t
b e i n d i v i d u a l p e o p l e b u t can b e social u n i t s , s u c h as o r g a n i z a t i o n s o r e v e n
n a t i o n s . Likewise, t h e r e s o u r c e s c a n b e e c o n o m i c o r s o c i o e m o t i o n a l . T h e
i n t e r a c t i o n s t h a t take place a r e g o v e r n e d b y s o m e r u l e s o r p r o c e d u r e s , f o r m a l
a n d explicit as well as i n f o r m a l a n d tacit. For e x a m p l e , a n o r g a n i z a t i o n selects
a m o n g j o b a p p l i c a n t s o n t h e basis of i n t e r v i e w s . In this case, t h e t w o a c t o r s
are t h e o r g a n i z a t i o n a n d t h e i n d i v i d u a l w h o has a p p l i e d for a n e w j o b . T h e
o u t c o m e is w h e t h e r o r n o t t h e j o b w a s o b t a i n e d . T h e p r o c e s s refers, in p a r t ,
t o t h e m a n n e r in w h i c h t h e i n t e r v i e w s w e r e c o n d u c t e d .
T h i s e x a m p l e u n d e r s c o r e s a n i m p o r t a n t a s p e c t of c o n t e m p o r a r y j u s t i c e
t h e o r i e s . T h e p e r s o n w h o is seeking a j o b actually h a s t o m a k e m u l t i p l e fairness
j u d g m e n t s . H e o r she c a n e v a l u a t e t h e fairness of t h e o u t c o m e ( W a s it r i g h t
t h a t I d i d n o t get this n e w job?) a n d t h e fairness of t h e p r o c e s s ( W e r e
i n t e r v i e w s c o n d u c t e d in t h e r i g h t m a n n e r t o r e n d e r a d e c i s i o n ? ) . T h e first
j u d g m e n t refers t o d i s t r i b u t i v e j u s t i c e , w h e r e a s t h e s e c o n d refers t o p r o c e d u r a l
justice. In a d d i t i o n t o p r o c e d u r a l a n d d i s t r i b u t i v e justice, t h e r e is a t h i r d
c a t e g o r y o r f o r m of f a i r n e s s i n t e r a c t i o n a l j u s t i c e t h a t refers t o i n t e r p e r s o n a l t r e a t m e n t received at t h e h a n d s of o t h e r s (Bies, 1987b; Bies 8c M o a g ,
1986; G r e e n b e r g , 1988c). It is often identified w i t h , o r seen as closely r e l a t e d
t o , p r o c e d u r a l j u s t i c e (e.g., G r e e n b e r g , 1990c; Tyler 8c Bies, 1990).

Distributive Justice
D i s t r i b u t i v e j u s t i c e is t h e p e r c e i v e d fairness of t h e o u t c o m e s o r a l l o c a t i o n s
t h a t a n i n d i v i d u a l receives. It c a n cause w o r k e r s t o l o w e r t h e i r j o b p e r f o r m a n c e ( G r e e n b e r g , 1988b; Pfeffer 8c L a n g t o n , 1993), e n g a g e in w i t h d r a w a l
b e h a v i o r s (Pfeffer 8c Davis-Blake, 1992; S c h w a r z w a l d , Koslowsky, 8c Shalit,
1992), c o o p e r a t e less w i t h t h e i r c o w o r k e r s (Pfeffer 8c L a n g t o n , 1993), r e d u c e
w o r k q u a l i t y ( C o w h e r d 8c Levine, 1992), steal ( G r e e n b e r g , 1990c), a n d e x p e r i e n c e stress ( Z o h a r , 1995). To state t h e m a t t e r starkly, d i s t r i b u t i v e injustice
causes a b o u t e v e r y p e r n i c i o u s c r i t e r i o n ever c h r o n i c l e d b y o r g a n i z a t i o n a l
scientists!
W h e n p e o p l e r e n d e r a d i s t r i b u t i v e justice j u d g m e n t , t h e y are e v a l u a t i n g
w h e t h e r a n o u t c o m e is a p p r o p r i a t e , m o r a l , o r ethical. M a k i n g t h i s d e c i s i o n is
t r i c k i e r t h a n it m a y a p p e a r , for t h e r e is s e l d o m a n objective s t a n d a r d of
r i g h t e o u s n e s s . To d e c i d e if s o m e t h i n g is fair, p e o p l e m u s t g e n e r a t e a b e n c h -

xxii

ORGANIZATIONAL

JUSTICE

m a r k o r f r a m e o f reference. W e call this s t a n d a r d a referent. A l t h o u g h a v a r i e t y


of r e f e r e n t s a r e possible (Kulik 8c A m b r o s e , 1992), social c o m p a r i s o n s h a v e
received t h e m o s t a t t e n t i o n . F o r e x a m p l e , if a p e r s o n n e e d s t o d e c i d e w h e t h e r
o r n o t h i s o r h e r p a y is fair, h e o r s h e can s i m p l y find s o m e o n e in a s i m i l a r j o b
a n d c o m p a r e t h e i r c o m p e n s a t i o n levels. If t h e t w o salaries a r e e q u a l , t h e n t h e r e
is n o i n e q u i t y . If o n e discovers t h a t o n e is b e i n g " o v e r p a i d " ( a g a i n , t h i s is
relative t o a given r e f e r e n t ) , o n e is likely t o e x p e r i e n c e guilt ( G r e e n b e r g , 1982;
1988a); h o w e v e r , it s h o u l d b e n o t e d t h a t p e o p l e t e n d t o get less u p s e t w h e n
a n i n e q u i t y is in t h e i r favor ( H e g t v e d t , 1993). O n t h e o t h e r h a n d , b e i n g
" u n d e r p a i d " is m o r e t r o u b l e s o m e . I n d i v i d u a l s a r e likely t o react negatively
w h e n t h e i r r e w a r d s a r e s u b s t a n t i a l l y less t h a n t h o s e of a c o m p a r i s o n p e r s o n .
D i s t r i b u t i v e fairness is j u d g e d b y referent s t a n d a r d s . W h a t a p e r s o n receives
c a n n o t d e t e r m i n e o u t c o m e justice w i t h o u t c o n s i d e r i n g t h e o u t c o m e relative
t o s o m e s t a n d a r d of c o m p a r i s o n . Sweeney, M c F a r l i n , a n d I n d e r r i e d e n ( 1 9 9 0 ) ,
for e x a m p l e , p r e d i c t e d p a y satisfaction from a c t u a l salaries a n d s e l f - r e p o r t e d
r e f e r e n t s . Salary w a s an i m p o r t a n t p r e d i c t o r , b u t i n c l u d i n g t h e r e f e r e n t a c c o u n t e d for a d d i t i o n a l v a r i a n c e in p a y satisfaction. T h u s , t w o p e o p l e w i t h t h e
s a m e o u t c o m e s m a y perceive different levels of justice if t h e y a r e n o t u s i n g
t h e s a m e referent. In a related vein, S t e p i n a a n d P e r r e w e ( 1 9 9 1 ) o b t a i n e d
l o n g i t u d i n a l d a t a from d i s c o n t e n t e d i n d i v i d u a l s w h o i m p r o v e d t h e i r satisfact i o n b y c h a n g i n g t h e i r referent s t a n d a r d s (e.g., e n h a n c e d sense o f a c c o m p l i s h m e n t f r o m c o m p a r i n g w i t h t h e less a c c o m p l i s h e d ) .

Procedural Justice
W h e n social scientists refer t o p r o c e d u r a l justice, t h e y a r e still i n d i c a t i n g a n
e v a l u a t i o n o r subjective j u d g m e n t . H o w e v e r , in this case it is a n a p p r a i s a l of
t h e p r o c e s s b y w h i c h a n a l l o c a t i o n d e c i s i o n is ( o r w a s ) m a d e . As a n a r e a of
i n q u i r y , p r o c e d u r a l justice e m e r g e d o n t h e s c e n e m o r e r e c e n t l y t h a n d i s t r i b u tive j u s t i c e , a l t h o u g h it h a s n o w b e e n s t u d i e d for s o m e t i m e . Folger a n d
G r e e n b e r g ( 1 9 8 5 ) w e r e t h e first m a j o r r e s e a r c h e r s t o a p p l y p r o c e d u r a l fairness
t o w o r k s e t t i n g s . Since t h a t t i m e , t h e r e h a s b e e n a veritable flood o f p r o c e d u r a l
j u s t i c e r e s e a r c h . T h i s w o r k h a s h a d i m p o r t a n t practical i m p l i c a t i o n s . E v i d e n c e
n o w s h o w s t h a t w h e n p e o p l e believe t h a t d e c i s i o n - m a k i n g p r o c e s s e s are
u n j u s t , t h e y s h o w less c o m m i t m e n t t o t h e i r e m p l o y e r s , m o r e theft, h i g h e r
t u r n o v e r i n t e n t i o n s , lower p e r f o r m a n c e , a n d fewer helpful c i t i z e n s h i p b e h a v iors (for r e c e n t reviews, see C r o p a n z a n o 8c G r e e n b e r g , 1997; Tyler 8c S m i t h ,
in p r e s s ) . P e o p l e care a b o u t h o w t h e y a r e t r e a t e d , a n d t h e s e p r o c e d u r a l j u s t i c e
perceptions d o m u c h to shape their relationships with their employers. For
t h i s r e a s o n it is i m p o r t a n t for u s t o a r t i c u l a t e m o r e clearly t h e a t t r i b u t e s of
fair d e c i s i o n p r o c e d u r e s .

Preface

xxiii

The "Voice" Tradition

of'Thibaut

and Walker

(1975)

T h e s t u d y o f p r o c e d u r a l justice g r e w o u t of T h i b a u t a n d W a l k e r ' s ( 1 9 7 5 )
w o r k in t h e m i d - 1 9 7 0 s . T h i b a u t a n d Walker w e r e i n t e r e s t e d in u n d e r s t a n d i n g
d i s p u t a n t s ' r e a c t i o n s t o v a r i o u s f o r m s of legal p r o c e e d i n g s . T h e y d i v i d e d
d i s p u t e r e s o l u t i o n i n t o t w o stages: a p r o c e s s stage in w h i c h e v i d e n c e w a s
p r e s e n t e d a n d a d e c i s i o n stage in w h i c h a t h i r d p a r t y r e n d e r e d a v e r d i c t .
T h i b a u t a n d Walker w e r e i n t e r e s t e d in a c i r c u m s t a n c e i n v o l v i n g t h r e e i n d i v i d u a l s : t w o d i s p u t a n t s a n d a t h i r d - p a r t y d e c i s i o n m a k e r s u c h as a j u d g e .
G e n e r a l l y s p e a k i n g , t h e d i s p u t a n t s w e r e willing to forgo d e c i s i o n c o n t r o l if
t h e y w e r e a l l o w e d t o r e t a i n p r o c e s s c o n t r o l . In o t h e r w o r d s , p a r t i c i p a n t s saw
t h e r e s o l u t i o n p r o c e s s as fair a n d w e r e c o n t e n t e d w i t h t h e r e s u l t s if t h e y w e r e
given a sufficient c h a n c e t o p r e s e n t t h e i r cases. T h i s w a s t e r m e d voice (Folger,
1977). We s h o u l d n o t u n d e r s t a t e t h e i m p o r t a n c e o f voice in t h e s t u d y of
p r o c e d u r a l j u s t i c e . T h i b a u t a n d Walker (1975) l a u n c h e d a n area o f i n q u i r y
t h a t c o n t i n u e s t o t h e p r e s e n t d a y (e.g., S h a p i r o & Brett, 1 9 9 3 ) .

Leventhals

Six Attributes

of Fair

Procedures

In t h e i r early w o r k , T h i b a u t a n d W a l k e r (1975) virtually e q u a t e d v o i c e w i t h


p r o c e d u r a l fairness. H o w e v e r , in later research, L e v e n t h a l ( 1 9 7 6 , 1980) exp a n d e d t h e list of p r o c e s s c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s t h a t c o u l d i n c r e a s e p e r c e p t i o n s of
p r o c e d u r a l justice. Leventhal's list of six a t t r i b u t e s is n o w f a m o u s . To b e
c o n s i d e r e d fair, a p r o c e d u r e s h o u l d b e (a) c o n s i s t e n t , (b) bias free, (c) a c c u r a t e , ( d ) c o r r e c t a b l e in case of a n e r r o r , (e) r e p r e s e n t a t i v e of all c o n c e r n e d (a
feature related to v o i c e ) , a n d (f) b a s e d o n p r e v a i l i n g ethical s t a n d a r d s . For t h e
m o s t p a r t , L e v e n t h a l ' s early t h i n k i n g has p r o v e n t o h a v e b e e n a s t u t e . R e s e a r c h
g e n e r a l l y attests t o t h e i m p o r t a n c e of t h e s e six a t t r i b u t e s ( L i n d 8c Tyler, 1988).
O n e o f t h e p r e v a i l i n g t r e n d s in r e c e n t o r g a n i z a t i o n a l j u s t i c e r e s e a r c h is f o u n d
in t h e a p p l i c a t i o n of L e v e n t h a l ' s six characteristics to v a r i o u s p r a c t i c a l s i t u a t i o n s . For e x a m p l e , A l d e r a n d A m b r o s e ( 1 9 9 6 ) u s e d L e v e n t h a l ' s list t o d e v i s e
s t a n d a r d s for b u i l d i n g fair c o m p u t e r - b a s e d p e r f o r m a n c e m o n i t o r s . Likewise,
Gilliland ( 1 9 9 3 ) a d a p t e d t h e L e v e n t h a l a t t r i b u t e s to w o r k p l a c e s e l e c t i o n . I n
d o i n g so, h e p r o v i d e d g u i d e l i n e s for fairer a s s e s s m e n t s y s t e m s . A l t h o u g h t h i s
n e w w o r k adjusts Leventhal's ( 1 9 7 6 , 1980) o r i g i n a l m o d e l t o fit t h e n e e d s at
h a n d , his b a s i c six criteria s e e m t o h a v e w i t h s t o o d t h e test o f t i m e .

Interactional Justice
I n t e r a c t i o n a l j u s t i c e refers t o t h e q u a l i t y of t h e i n t e r p e r s o n a l t r e a t m e n t
received b y an i n d i v i d u a l . C e r t a i n k i n d s o f t r e a t m e n t a r e likely t o b e p e r c e i v e d
as fair, w h e r e a s o t h e r s a r e seen as unfair. I n t e r a c t i o n a l justice w a s i n t r o d u c e d

xxiv

ORGANIZATIONAL

JUSTICE

as a n i n d e p e n d e n t , t h i r d t y p e of fairness c o n t r a s t e d w i t h b o t h p r o c e d u r a l
a n d d i s t r i b u t i v e justice (Bies, 1987b; Bies 8c M o a g , 1986). N o w a d a y s , i n t e r a c t i o n a l j u s t i c e is f r e q u e n t l y t r e a t e d as an a s p e c t o r c o m p o n e n t of p r o c e d u r a l
justice (e.g., C r o p a n z a n o 8c G r e e n b e r g , 1997; G r e e n b e r g , 1990c; Tyler 8c Bies,
1990), a l t h o u g h s o m e h a v e called this s c h e m e i n t o q u e s t i o n ( G r e e n b e r g ,
1993a). It is a s t r a i g h t f o r w a r d m a t t e r t o c o n c e p t u a l i z e i n t e r a c t i o n a l j u s t i c e as
a n a s p e c t of p r o c e s s if d e c i s i o n - m a k i n g p r o c e s s e s are c o n c e p t u a l i z e d t o i n c l u d e p r o c e s s e s o f i m p l e m e n t a t i o n a n d c o m m u n i c a t i o n (e.g., h o w t h e d e c i s i o n is e x p l a i n e d ) . Also, at least s o m e r e s e a r c h h a s f o u n d t h a t r a t i n g s of
p r o c e d u r a l a n d i n t e r a c t i o n a l fairness a r e h i g h l y c o r r e l a t e d (e.g., K o n o v s k y 8c
C r o p a n z a n o , 1991). In s u c h a classification s c h e m e , p r o c e d u r a l j u s t i c e h a s t w o
a s p e c t s : a s t r u c t u r a l o r f o r m a l c o m p o n e n t ( r e p r e s e n t e d b y L e v e n t h a P s six
a t t r i b u t e s a n d r e l a t e d w o r k ) a n d a social c o m p o n e n t ( r e p r e s e n t e d b y i n t e r actional justice).
W h e t h e r c o n s i d e r e d i n d e p e n d e n t l y o r as p a r t o f t h e p r o c e d u r e s , i n t e r a c t i o n a l j u s t i c e itself can b e t h o u g h t of as h a v i n g at least t w o c o m p o n e n t s
( B r o c k n e r 8c Wiesenfeld, 1996; C r o p a n z a n o 8c G r e e n b e r g , 1997). T h e first
s u b p a r t is interpersonal sensitivity. Fair t r e a t m e n t s h o u l d b e p o l i t e a n d r e s p e c t ful. T h e r e c i p i e n t s of insensitive t r e a t m e n t are p r o n e t o p o o r a t t i t u d e s , c o n flict, a n d l o w p e r f o r m a n c e (e.g., B a r o n , 1993; Bies 8c M o a g , 1986). T h e s e c o n d
s u b p a r t o f i n t e r a c t i o n a l justice i n c l u d e s explanations
o r social accounts. Exp l a n a t i o n s tell t h e r e c i p i e n t w h y s o m e t h i n g u n f o r t u n a t e o r u n t o w a r d o c c u r r e d . T h e y p r o v i d e a r a t i o n a l e . I n d i v i d u a l s a r e m u c h m o r e t o l e r a n t o f an
u n f a v o r a b l e o u t c o m e w h e n a n a d e q u a t e justification is p r o v i d e d (Bies 8c
S h a p i r o , 1988; S h a p i r o , 1991; S h a p i r o , B u t t n e r , 8c Barry, 1994).

Plan of This Book


We h a v e c o v e r e d a lot o f g r o u n d w i t h o u t yet leaving t h e preface! Let u s ,
t h e r e f o r e , s u m m a r i z e t h e m a j o r p o i n t s . I n c o l l o q u i a l l a n g u a g e , j u s t i c e is
u s u a l l y t h o u g h t of from a m o r e o r less p h i l o s o p h i c a l p e r s p e c t i v e a fair act
is o n e t h a t s e e m s r i g h t e o u s . Often, justice refers t o s i t u a t i o n s in w h i c h s o m e
t r a n s a c t i o n is involved, s u c h as a n e x c h a n g e of g o o d s o r services. A l t h o u g h
t h e social science d e f i n i t i o n of justice shares m u c h in c o m m o n w i t h its
p h i l o s o p h i c a l c o u n t e r p a r t , t h e r e is o n e m a j o r difference. W i t h i n t h e social
sciences, a n act is j u s t b e c a u s e s o m e o b s e r v e r o r o b s e r v e r s j u d g e it t o b e so. In
t h i s case, fairness is subjectively d e f i n e d . T h e social science l i t e r a t u r e c o n c e r n s
itself w i t h w h y s o m e acts, b u t n o t o t h e r s , a r e p e r c e i v e d t o b e fair. It also