JOURNAL ARTICLE

Procedural fairness, outcome favorability, and judgments of an authority's responsibility

Joel Brockner, Ariel Y Fishman, Jochen Reb, Barry Goldman, Scott Spiegel, Charlee Garden
Journal of Applied Psychology 2007, 92 (6): 1657-71
18020803
Fairness theory (R. Folger & R. Cropanzano, 1998, 2001) postulates that, particularly in the face of unfavorable outcomes, employees judge an organizational authority to be more responsible for their outcomes when the authority exhibits lower procedural fairness. Three studies lent empirical support to this notion. Furthermore, 2 of the studies showed that attributions of responsibility to the authority mediated the relationship between the authority's procedural fairness and employees' reactions to unfavorable outcomes. The findings (a) provide support for a key assumption of fairness theory, (b) help to account for the pervasive interactive effect of procedural fairness and outcome favorability on employees' attitudes and behaviors, and (c) contribute to an emerging trend in justice research concerned with how people use procedural fairness information to make attributions of responsibility for their outcomes. Practical implications, limitations, and suggestions for future research also are discussed.

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