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Procedural and Distributive Justice in the Workplace

Just like in the rest of the society, concepts such as transparency, fairness, justice, and equality play an important role in the workplace. Particularly, the employees’ perceptions of both procedural and distributive justice may have an impact on their job satisfaction and turnover intention.

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In any system, procedural and distributive justice are complementary to each other, meaning that they work together to ensure equal treatment in different areas of human activity. Procedural justice thus deals with the impartiality and transparency of decision-making processes: for instance, in politics, it is represented by the rule of law principle, whereby all individuals are treated equally before the law. Distributive justice, on the other hand, concerns the allocation of resources and outcomes among concerned individuals. It includes, for example, the allocation of financial rewards between members of a group (Poon, 2012, p. 1506).

Typically, supervisors have more control over procedural justice but little control over distributive justice in their departments. Supervisors can establish specific rules and norms within their department: for instance, if tardiness is not punished in the organization in general, they may introduce a rule saying that any lateness, including their own, constitutes a violation. Being responsible for the evaluation, they can also ensure that everyone gets a fair and objective performance appraisal. At the same time, they are rarely in control of resources, including both employee compensation and, for instance, equipment (Gerhart, Milkovich & Newman, 2014). Thus, they are not in the position to ensure distributive justice.

Employees’ perception of justice in the workplace can have a substantial impact on their performance and satisfaction. Transparency thus plays an important role. For instance, if an employee wants to quit because they believe they received an unfair evaluation from their boss, several measures can be taken. Firstly, employees should be familiar with the standards that their supervisors use to evaluate them. The management can even seek employees’ input to identify the criteria relevant to performance measurement (Poon, 2012, p. 1523). Supervisors can also ensure that these criteria are quantifiable and measurable rather than subjective. At this point, the supervisor can discuss the evaluation process and outcomes with the employee to identify the weaknesses in the measurement method or the employee’s performance so they can be consequently addressed.

To sum up, while supervisors may not have significant control over distributive justice, they can still ensure that procedural justice is enforced in their department.

References

Gerhart, B., Milkovich, G., & Newman, J. (2014). Compensation (11th Ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.

Poon, J. M. L. (2012). Distributive justice, procedural justice, affective commitment, and turnover intention: A mediation-moderation framework. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 42(6), 1505-1532.

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StudyCorgi. (2022, April 18). Procedural and Distributive Justice in the Workplace. Retrieved from https://studycorgi.com/procedural-and-distributive-justice-in-the-workplace/

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StudyCorgi. 2022. "Procedural and Distributive Justice in the Workplace." April 18, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/procedural-and-distributive-justice-in-the-workplace/.

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StudyCorgi. (2022) 'Procedural and Distributive Justice in the Workplace'. 18 April.

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