Fr-SYM-1208-2 - A Person-Centric Perspective On Motives For Fairness And Unfairness

Organizational justice
Friday May 19   01:15 PM to 02:15 PM (1 hour)
Conflict in organizations
Organizational justice
A Person-Centric Perspective on Motives for Fairness and Unfairness
T. Nadisic 1, M. Fortin, N. Cugueró-Escofet 2,*
1EMLYON Business School, Lyon and Paris, France, 2IESE Business School, Barcelona, Spain
Main Abstract Content: Purpose
Applying a person-centric approach, we explore the different motives underlying why people care about workplace (un)fairness. 
Using semi-structured interviews with 62 executives, we content-analysed specific incidents of workplace unfairness. 
We find evidence for the motives previously identified in the literature: people care about justice because it affords them control over outcomes, it signals their standing in the group, and represents a valuable moral virtue. However, we also found evidence that fairness promotes intrinsic motivation for their job and being able to experience their job as a “calling” (i.e., fulfilling and socially useful). Further, we found that people care about injustice because it can be viewed as something that “helped them” learn something “useful” about work and/or life. Interestingly, this motive can only be identified after the event has occurred, when people engage in retrospective justifications. 
While interesting patterns emerge from our data, the generalizability of our findings remains to be tested in further large scale quantitative studies.
Research/Practical Implications
Our findings contribute to theorizing about the reasons why justice matters and also show justice judgments in the context of motivated reasoning dynamics. 
Our findings support the notion of justice as a motivated phenomenon and highlight a new motive that can enhance our understanding of why people want to be treated fairly at work. Our study also illustrates the importance of examining different motives for justice versus injustice as well as understanding that injustice experiences can sometimes be rationalized as positive by employees.

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