Research on organizational justice own a history of 40
years old (see Cohen-Charash and Spector, 2001; Colquitt et al., 2001; Cropanzano
and Greenberg, 1997 for literature reviews), but it has been more considered in
recent years. Organizational
justice refers to the feelings of fairness of the distribution of rewards (e.g.,
pay and promotions) to individuals respect to their inputs (e.g., training and
effort) (Bolton & Ockenfels, 2000; Folger & Cropanzano, 1998;
Parker & Kohlmeyer, 2005). One of the
background theories of organizational justice is equity theory (Adams, 1963,
1965), which refers to comparison between one’s self and others incomes and outcomes.
In addition to equity theory, fairness heuristic theory (Lind, 2001), uncertainty
management theory (Lind & Van den Bos, 2002; Van den Bos & Lind, 2002),
and fairness theory (Folger & Cropanzano, 2001) have been introduced in
justice literature in these recent years.
Social exchange theory, as a central framework defines social
exchange as “the voluntary actions of individuals that are motivated by the
returns they are expected to bring and typically do in fact bring from others”
(Blau, 1964, p. 91; DeConinck, 2010). Fairness
is an important dimension of social exchange theory which researchers have
investigated its relationship with individuals’ attitudes and behaviours in the
organizations (see Cohen-Charash and Spector, 2001 and Colquitt, et
al., 2001). DeConinck (2010) believes that fair behavior in the organizations improve
trustful connection between higher status people and lower status ones and then
causes positive outcomes. According to Folger and Cropanzano (1998; 2001) and Colquitt,
Conlon, Wesson, Porter, & Ng (2001), unfair condition forms people’s perceptions
of unfairness in the organization and agitates them to analyze their commitment
to the organization as well as prompts different negative emotional and behavioural
reactions in the workplace.
According to Cropanzano, massaro & Becker (2017)
there are three motives for justice. The first category of motives regarding to
the instrumental model, refers to preferences of justice because of its
long-term control on valuable results. The second category, group-value model, highlights
the relationship and interaction of colleagues and workforces in a social
context (Blader and Tyler 2015).
Strictly speaking, fair
treatments cause that group members get respect within the group (e.g., Tyler
and Blader, 2000).
The final approach that indicates why individuals care about the organizational
justice, is deontic model arguing that employees follow justice not simply
because of the benefits of justice, but because of the justice criteria and values.
In other words, in this approach, people’s enthusiasm for having justice does
not come from pragmatic reasons, but comes from ethical values or justice rules
Justice rules are rooted in internalized standard
values which bring ethical duties for individuals in the particular settings (Lau
and Wong, 2009, p. 281). Researchers demonstrate that this model of dealing
with justice issue is context oriented and morally depended (Nicklin et al. 2011;
Cropanzano and Moliner 2013), so they name it “principlism” (e.g., Batson 1999,
p. 303; Blader and Tyler 2001, p. 235).
Justice rules have been categorized into three groups
(Cropanzano et al. 2015) include
distributive, procedural, and interactional justice (Colquitt, Greenberg, &
Zapata-Phelan, 2005; Folger & Cropanzano, 1998). Colquitt, Scott, Judge and
Shaw (2006) stated that procedural and interactional justice rules (e.g., bias,
ethicality, respectfulness, and honesty) are more “morally charged”
than distributive notions such as met expectations, reward-cost
proportionality, and outcome/input proportion comparisons.
Distributive justice is achieved when allocation of a
resource is fair and all groups consider their share of a resource as fair
(Adams, 1965; Walster et al., 1978; for an overview, see Hegtvedt & Cook,
2000). The early works on organizational justice which had focused more on
distributive justice (Adams, 1965), demonstrated that employee’s perception
of inequality was related to dissatisfaction with outcomes (DeConinck and
Procedural justice emphasizes on the procedures used for
making decision. Thibaut and Walker (1975) and Leventhal, (1980) in discussing
about procedural justice address to the norms of procedural fairness in
decision-making such as consistency across persons and time, being unbiased, accuracy, having
capacity to correct and representativeness. Different from distributive
justice, procedural justice focuses more on organizational commitment and pleasure
with procedures in the organizations (Colquitt et al., 2001; Cohen-Charash and Spector, 2001). Leventhal (1980)
stated that allocations of rewards should be fair laterally between individuals
and longitudinally over time (Cropanzano et al. 2015; Zapata-phelan, Colquitt, Scott
and Livinstone, 2009).
In other words, fairness should be in the equality of opportunities for any
employees to get rewards associated to their efforts and this rule should be
consistent overtime. Tyler and Lind (1992) underlined the group value model
that proposed humans as the basically social beings whose values are realized
within the groups. According to this model, fair decision making considers
employee’s rights in the groups valuable and respectful (Lind & Tyler,
1988; Tyler & Lind, 1992). Therefore, for assessing how much organization
treat fairly with individuals; employees evaluate authorities’ interactions
with themselves (Tyler, 1989). During this evaluation, they can understand
whether authorities have behaved neutrally and unbiased toward them, because
biased interaction could lead to negative employee attitudes against the
organization. In spite of the differences, these two concepts have similarities.
For instances, in the neutrality (Tyler, 1989) we can see the consistency of
the rule applications across employees, while in the inconsistency (Leventhal,
1980) we can find discrimination in the allocations of the opportunities.
Interactional justice is third type of
justice, which centers more on the relations, and interpersonal
reactions received from another person
(e.g., Bies, 2001; Tyler, 1989; Tyler, Rasinski, & Spodick,
1985). The core concepts of this justice focus on the need for trust, respect,
and dignity within interactions with others. The major difference between this facets
of organizational justice with procedural one is that the feeling of
interactional justice is directed toward superiors, but in the procedural
injustice, the perception of inequality is directed toward the organization.
Some researchers believe that this type could be
divided to two subscales, interpersonal justice referring to
sincerity and respect which
people receive from authorities and informational justice relates to
keeping individuals informed honestly and adequately through clarifications
(e.g., Colquitt et al. 2001; cf. Colquitt and Rodell, 2015).