Organizational Process Fairness Effect On Employee Behavior Business Essay

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As an employee and manager for Municipal City, observed promotional process disparities exist in the promotional procedures that have affected employee behaviors positively and negatively. The purpose of this study is to identify and compare the relationship between the perceived fairness or unfairness of promotional processes and their affect on employee behavior towards the organization.

Moorman, Neihoff, and Organ (1993) suggest that employees recognizing fair treatment by the organization will try to maintain positive employee relations, communicate their actions of importance to others, minimize their work complaints and are aware of their work. They do so because the organization has treated them in a fair manner. Thus, the affects of fair and equitable treatment will show positive behaviors by the employee and unfair practices will show negative behaviors by the employee.

Now, suggesting that the employee reaction to unfair treatment in promotional processes, or any organizational process, will provide an absolute positive and negative reaction is somewhat biased in thinking. Recent research suggests additional factors to be considered in evaluating equitable processes and their fairness. In an article published by Narcisses and Harcourt (2008) the results suggest that additional distributive and procedural justice factors, not yet recognized in justice research and literature, are considered by the employee. The first factor for consideration is the "consistency in reward distribution," which is associated with distributive justice. The remaining three factors, which are associated with procedural justice are "appraisal frequency, job relevant criteria, and rater and ratee training" (Narcisses and Harcourt, 2008). As an employer, research that suggests additional variables, factors or subjective matter is inclusive in determining failures or successes of an organizational process, only adds fuel to the opposing arguments that support current organizational processes that may or may not create an organizational environment representative of perceived fairness by the employees.

Ultimately, the end result of this paper is to present evidence that is supportive of creating a movement to address concerns over processes that create negative employee perceptions of fairness in promotional processes. Should an organization experience continued and documented negative employee behaviors during and after promotions are given, then there may be validity in the perceived unfairness by the employees of the organization

Critical Literature Review

Research Validity

The preliminary research resulted in very few direct resources in support of the topic of this study. Individually, the topic of procedural justice is well represented by valid research resources, as well as, resources that support the topic of employee behavior. Yet, the study of fairness and equity, within organizations, is expanded to include various sub-categories of organizational justice, which include distributive justice, interactional justice and procedural justice (Robbins, 2009). Through the association of the three sub-categories to organizational justice and the elements of the sub-categories, a standing relationship between procedural justice and employee behavior can be shown by resources that are scholarly and include reference to procedural justice, or employee behavior resulting from fair and equitable organizational practices.

Topic Validity

The following resources are associated to the topic of this study with full annotations:

Aquino, K., Tripp, T. M., & Bies, R. J. (2006). Getting even or moving on: power, procedural justice, and types of offense as predictors of revenge, forgiveness, reconciliation, and avoidance in organizations. Journal of Applied Psychology, 91(3), 653-668.

Karl Aquino, a Professor from the University of Deleware, Thomas M. Tripp, a Professor from Washington State University Vancover and Robert J. Bies, a Professor from Georgetown University are the authors of this field and experimental study which examines the relationship between organizational variables and the manner in which organizational employees respond to organizational injustice. The authors begin with a historical discussion of the relationship between organizations and individuals with a focus on individual responses to perceived injustices and the positive or negative reactions by the individuals to the injustice. Through this study, Aquino, Tripp and Bies set out to answer their key question; "What forces in a victims work environment may affect the victim's choice of coping response?" The first study addresses the relationship between positions of power in an organization and the procedural justice environment. A second study addresses individual coping responses in relation to the procedural justice environment. In the first study, Aquino et al., examine three organizational power factors, relative hierarchical status, absolute hierarchical status and the procedural justice climate, their relationship to the three predicted individual interactions, individual revenge, forgiveness and reconciliation and seven related effects. Aquino, conclude that an organization representative of a more just environment is related to an individual's willingness for reconciliation and an individual with higher hierarchical status within the organization is less likely to seek revenge when wronged by the organization or an individual. Conversely, an organizational environment of injustice may lessen the opportunity for reconciliation by an individual and an individual with lower hierarchical status within the organization may be more likely to seek revenge. The second study concludes that an individual is less likely to seek revenge, in a climate of enhanced procedural justice, on an individual that is considered an offender against organizational norms. Various limitations are present in the combined studies. The authors only utilize a few variables in determining responses to organizational injustices, but historically supportive studies are used to validate a portion of the findings by the authors. Organizations and the mangers within the organizations need to be aware of the wrongdoings that occur within the organization. With this knowledge, managers can alter organizational justice environments that can be conducive to positive individual responses to injustices.

Bagdadli, S., Roberson, Q., & Paoletti, F. (2006). The mediating role of procedural justice in responses to promotional decisions. Journal of Business & Psychology, 21(1), 83-102. doi:10.1007/s10869-005-9017-y.

Silvia Bagdadli of Baccooni University, Quinetta Roberson of Cornell University and Francesco Paoletti of the University of Milani - Bicocca authored a 2006 study investigating the association between procedural justice, promotions, organizational commitment and an individual's intent to leave an organization as the result of a promotional injustice. Utilizing related current and historical research, the authors build upon career research with a focus on individual reactions to promotional processes and decisions within the organization noting that there is a positive relationship between promotions and organizational commitment to the organization (p.87). Yet, no direct relationship between promotion-commitment was found where procedural justice perceptions were controlled by management. Individuals were much more concerned with the procedural justice of the promotional process than the actual outcome of the process. Thus, the individual places greater value on the perceived process and maintains higher commitment to the organization where perceived justice is fair. The authors contend that fairness in promotional processes can influence an individual's intent to remain or leave the organization in an environment where promotions may be few and far between. Thus, understanding that fairness in promotional decision making processes and making the promotional process fair to all employees can promote positive behaviors by employees, management can utilize procedural justice as a tool to control the actions of individuals. Various limitations to this study must be duly noted. First, the research for this study was conducted in an international context. Cultural values were not considered which may influence the relationships between the authors values represented in the hypothesis. Contextual evaluation is necessary to show greater relationships between promotions and an individual's intent to leave the organization. Third, the focus of this study was on procedural justice which is one element of organizational justice. Distributive and interactional justices are additional elements that can have an effect on promotional processes and individual behaviors. Finally, an individual's career promotional history may have a direct affect on the perceived promotional fairness in an organization. This study supports the fact that an organization that presents an environment of perceived promotional fairness will increase the chances of an employee remaining with the organization and as a result of a fair process, the employee's attitude will potentially remain positive.

Kopf, J. (1992). Force versus choice, or force and choice? an integrative model of expectancy theory. Human Resource Management Review, 2(2), 131.

Jerry Kopf, of Radford University, explores two conceptualizations of the Expectancy Theory and proposes a complimentary relationship exists between the two conceptualizations versus being mutually exclusive. The first conceptualization, the choice model, is based upon an individual's motivation will be to choose pleasure over pain when a decision must be made. The author contends, based upon Vroom's version of the expectancy theory, that an individual with an end goal in mind, when given a choice, will place an expected value of that choice which will determine their level of motivation towards the achievement of that goal. The concern with this assumption is the fact that there are external factors, such as the worth of the goal attainment and the driving force factors behind attainment of the goal, beyond choice that motivate an individual. The second conceptualization is the force model. The force model is based upon the understanding that an individual will increase performance and exert more effort where greater motivational forces are present. This model does not take into account that an individual may chose to not perform based upon the resulting rewards. Overall, the author contends that combination of the two conceptualizations is of greater value than utilizing each conceptualization individually in determining motivation and performance towards perceived deserved rewards. The employee expects rewards that are equitable to their performance. Should the expected rewards not be given by the organization, the reactive outcome of the employee can potentially be predicted.

Moorman, R., Niehoff, B., & Organ, D. (1993). Treating employees fairly and organizational citizenship behavior: Sorting the effects of job satisfaction, organizational commitment, and procedural justice. Employee Responsibilities & Rights Journal, 6(3), 209-225.

Robert Moorman, Brian Niehoff and Dennis Organ of West Virginia University, Kansas State University and Indiana University respectively, author this study which examines the relationship between fair treatment of employees and organizational citizenship behavior (OCB). The authors begin with a historical discussion of the relationship between organizations justice variables and their relation to positive organizational variables such as organizational commitment, trust in supervision and pay satisfaction (p. 209). Moorman, Niehoff and Organ continue with the discussion relating the perceived procedural justice to OCB while comparing the strengths of this relationship to job attitudes via citizenship (p. 210). Through this study, Moorman, Niehoff and Organ set out to answer their key question; does fair treatment and fair procedures promote great organizational citizenship behavior? Utilizing a series of two questionnaires, with the first specific to work satisfaction, procedural justice and organizational commitment and the second specific to organizational citizenship behavior (p. 213), the authors conclude their study by suggesting that the fair treatment of employees and fair procedures within an organization may promote individual organizational citizenship behavior (p. 223). Additionally, the authors state limitations of not considering distributive justice and an additional variable of the relationship between fairness and organizational citizenship behavior resulting from the interactions of the individual and their supervisor.

Paul, R, & Elder, L. (2008). The miniature guide to critical thinking concepts and tools. Dillon Beach, CA: Foundation for Critical Thinking Press.

Utilizing the Guide to Critical Thinking (Paul & Elder, 2008), procedural justice, and employee behaviors as a result of unfair promotional practices will be analyzed in the conclusion of this project.

Robbins, S. P., & Judge, T. A. (2009). Organizational behavior (13th ed). Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Pearson Prentice Hall.

Stephen Robbins, of the University of Arizona and Timothy Judge, of the University of Illinois, being the authors of the text utilized for this course, provide an overview and specific information related to the focus of this project. Utilizing referenced work of the author's, supporting information will be used to show a relationship between procedural justice, promotional processes and the effects on employee behavior. Addressing concerns over processes that create negative employee perceptions of fairness in promotional processes can alter the perceived justice by an employee. Should an organization experience continued and documented negative employee behaviors during and after promotions are given, then there may be validity in the perceived unfairness by the employees of the organization. The organization should proceed with actions to mitigate the perceived unfairness. While the works by the author's is of value to the completion of this project, the referencing of their work is limited by the subject matter being provided as being topical while lacking in-depth representation of the variables inclusive in this study.

Rubin, E. (2009). The role of procedural justice in public personnel management: Empirical results from the department of defense. Journal of Public Administration Research & Theory, 19(1), 125-143.

Ellen Rubin of the University of Georgia offers a study examining the relationships between perceived procedural justice, work satisfaction, turnover rates and trust in organizational management. Ellen begins with a historical account of procedures and their effectiveness in public entities, specifically the Federal Government. Ellen states that "the perceptions of federal personnel procedures are burdensome to managers, unappealing to new recruits, outdated, overregulated and inflexible within the Federal Government (p. 125)." Offering that research in public group organizations is minimal; Ellen chooses to make the subject of this study the Department of Defense. Ellen begins with an overview of prior procedural justice theories specific to administrative law and personnel management procedures and their perceived fairness. The author then utilizes a survey to measure the relationship between procedural justice perceptions, employee trust in their managers, satisfaction rates, and turnover intentions (p.130). The results of the survey show a direct relationship between procedural justice and trust of employees, employee job satisfaction, and intent to leave. As this study is very in-depth, one facet of the variables utilized in this study that can have an effect on a managerial perspective is the fact that typical procedural justice studies do not take into account the managerial perspective. Incorporating the perspective of management may offer greater insight into overall organizational justices. Overall, in an organizational environment, employees expect just and fair practices in the procedural processes. In an organization as large as the DOD, organizational norms can be construed as policy if the norms are recognized over a specific period of time. Uniformity in procedural processes is important to fair and equitable practices.

Saal, F., & Moore, S. (1993). Perceptions of promotion fairness and promotion candidates' qualifications. Journal of Applied Psychology, 78(1), 105-110.

Frank Saal and S. Craig Moore of Kansas State University are the authors of a study that evaluates the perceptions of promotional fairness and promotional qualifications of candidates with a specific focus on factors of race and sex. Saal and Moore begin an historical account of prior research focusing on unfair promotional practices within racial groups. Continuing, the authors analyze gender specific procedural unfairness with a specific focus on women and the individual effects of unfair promotional practices. Saal and Moore utilize case studies as a tool to elicit reactions and written responses by a group representative of the university. The first case study examined three different jobs and four different promotional decisions. The representative group contained equal male and female evaluators. The second case study utilized a scenario represented an organizational promotional decision of an employee being chosen over another employee and the second employee was suing the organization. The resulting reactions to the scenarios were rated by the subjects with a scale numbering one to nine on the promotional fairness. The authors concluded that perceived promotional unfairness is still perceived by people of disadvantaged groups, such as black and women and organizations need to be aware of this perception. Additionally, the study provided that same sex biases were not a predominant factor in perceived fairness within promotional processes. Overall, the study does offer some insightful information, but being that the study is based upon fictitious promotional scenarios does leave room for some questioning as to the results of the scales and the subjects utilized in this study. Given real life situations, the subjects may answer differently and/or show more or less individual bias towards the promotional injustices. Inevitably, employees expect equitable fairness in an organizational process. The expectations are based upon the employee's perception of what is fair and unfair in organizational practices along with individual biases being a variable in the individual decisions of perceived fairness.

Tang, T. L., & Sarfield-Baldwin, L. (1996). Distributive and procedural justice as related to satisfaction and commitment. SAM Advanced Management Journal (07497075), 61(3), 25.

Thomas Li-Ping Tang and Linda J. Sarfield-Baldwin of Middle Tennessee State University author this study with a specific focus on distributive and procedural justice and their the relationship to employee satisfaction and organizational commitment. Using a historical account of organizational justice and organizational effectiveness, Tang and Sarfield-Baldwin suggest that there are direct correlations between distributive and procedural justice and performance appraisals before and after a performance appraisal. Utilizing a survey questionnaire given to employees, Tang and Sarfield-Baldwin measured distributive justice, procedural justice, job satisfaction, self-reported performance feedback, satisfaction with the performance appraisal, employee commitment, and involvement (p. 26). The results of the surveys, as reported by Tang and Sarfield-Baldwin, show a definitive correlation between distributive and procedural justice and the various factors contributing perceived procedural and distributive justice by an employee. Additionally, the findings by Tang and Sarfield-Baldwin, 1996, support the fact that "distributive justice is significantly related to satisfaction with pay, promotion, the performance appraisal, and two measures of organizational commitment (OCQ and Ioc). Further, different aspects of procedural justice are related to satisfaction with supervision, self-reported performance appraisal rating, performance appraisal, both measures of commitment, and job involvement. It appears that both distributive and procedural justice are important in predicting employees' subsequent personal satisfaction and commitment to the organization (p. 28)" Inevitably, the effectiveness of an organization can be used in predicting the employee's level of satisfaction and commitment where perceived distributive and procedural justices are positive or negative. Additionally, various limitations were noteworthy in reference to this study. First, the authors did not account for individual personalities of management nor employees in determining the reactions by employees to performance appraisals and this study was confined to one organization with inferences that the same findings may be applicable in other organizations.

Tyler, T., & Blader, S. (2003). The group engagement model: procedural justice, social identity, and cooperative behavior. Personality & Social Psychology Review (Lawrence Erlbaum Associates), 7(4), 349-361.

Tom Tyler and Steven Blader, both representing New York University, investigate the group engagement model and how procedural justice shapes group cooperation, organizational cooperation and societal cooperation. Tyler and Blader begin with an historical account of prior research surrounding social justices and expound on the prior research by distinguishing the group engagement model from prior models and the transition from distributive justice to procedural justice (p.349). Offering an association between individual identity and procedural justice, Tyler and Blader propose that identity is central to how people construct their group identities and the identities are affected by decision making and quality of treatment by the organization or groups within the organization (p. 360). While procedural justice and group identity relation s are evidenced within this particular study, the foundational basis, the authors present, represents one of three organizational justices. In determining an individual's reactions to perceived injustices, accounts for the interrelations between distributive and procedural justice needs further defining. Inevitably, employees can react positively or negatively to perceived injustices in organizational procedural processes. The reaction of the employee is defined by the resulting organizational and personal attitudes developed from perceived procedural injustices.

van Knippenberg, D., & Sleebos, E. (2006). Organizational identification versus organizational commitment: Self-definition, social exchange, and job attitudes. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 27(5), 571-584.

Daan Van Knippenberg, a professor at Erasmus University Rotterdam along with Ed Sleebos of Free University Rotterdam, investigate the differences in organizational identification and affective commitment. Knippenberg and Sleebos propose that identification and commitment are two separate conceptualizations in that identification is reflective of the person and of a psychological nature and commitment is an organizational nature being related to job attitudes. To support the proposition, Knippenburg and Sleebos utilize a cross-sectional survey given to faculty members of a university. The results of the survey evidenced that individual identification is aligned with a self-referential aspect of organizational membership and commitment is related to organizational support (p. 577). The resulting study shows a definitive separation in identification and commitment. Additionally, Knippenberg and Sleebos show that commitment is more closely aligned to job attitudes as identification is not. Again, limitations do exist in this particular study. Additional variables which may affect individual identification and commitment were not considered in this study. Variables, such as human resource functions, managerial actions and job characteristics, are an opening for further research. Inevitably, an employee's organizational identity and organizational commitment are separate. Commitment is based upon fairness within the organization and identification is self-actualized.

Wegge, J., Schmidt, K., Parkes, C., & Van Dick, R. (2007). 'Taking a sickie': Job satisfaction and job involvement as interactive predictors of absenteeism in a public organization. Journal of Occupational & Organizational Psychology, 80(1), 77-89.

Dr Jurgen Wegge, a Professor at Ludwig Maximilians University Munchen and the leading author of this study along with Klaus-Helmut Schmidt, Carole Parkes, and Rolf van Dick, investigate the correlation between work attitudes, such as job satisfaction, and absenteeism. While citing prior studies that show a weak correlation between work attitudes and absenteeism, as a result of ignoring interactive effects of attitudes and the attitude targets, such as job involvement and organizational commitment (p 77), the authors pose that the inclusion of the interactive variables will offer greater insight into explaining voluntary and involuntary employee absences. Utilizing questionnaires given to employees of a civil service organization, Wegge et al. analyzed employee stress and well-being by offering a series of questions that addressed biographical data, the job level of the employee, and two measures of absence. Historical correlations, which the authors state need greater controls, were found to be present during the analysis between men and women, i.e. which is absent more often, office tenure and the age of the employee. The resulting study concludes that an employee, while taking into account the interactive effects of attitudes, will be absent more frequently while experiencing low job satisfaction and minimal job involvement. Additionally, the overall time lost is greater when an employee experiences low job satisfaction and minimal job involvement. While this study offers a greater understanding of the relationships between job involvement, job satisfaction and absences, limitations on the study do exists. One such limitation, that will need additional clarification, is the differentiation between voluntary and involuntary absences. While the results of this study provide valid support in defining the reasons for absences, the involuntary absences were included in this study and may inflate the final results values. As such, this study will be helpful in a study tracing the negative behaviors by employees that perceive unfair procedural practices in an organization.

Weiss, W. (2006). Organizing for quality, productivity and job satisfaction. Supervision, 67(2), 13-15.

W. H. Weiss, an industrial consultant with more than forty years of plant management experience, numerous articles and books written on management, holds an MBA from Kent State University. In this article, Weiss identifies the necessary factors for creating an environment that is conducive to employee participation, output and job satisfaction. Employee involvement in organizational decisions or processes, such as promotional processes, can have a positive effect on employee job satisfaction and attitudes thus increasing productivity and quality. While Weiss does not specifically reference peer reviewed historical works from other authorities in this article, his qualifications and work within the management discipline are noteworthy and relate to organizational management, job satisfaction and communications. Overall, the use of Weiss's work will support and show association between the need for organizational communications, set policies and procedures and employee participation as being positive and negative depending upon the actions of individuals within an organization.

Yafang, T., & Shih-Wang, W. (2008). The Relationship among job satisfaction, organizational citizenship behavior and turnover intention. Proceedings for the Northeast Region Decision Sciences Institute (NEDSI), 62-67.

Yafang, Tsai, representing the Dept. of Health Service Administration, Chung-Shan Medical University, Taiwan and Shih-Wang, Wu representing the Dept. of Hospital and Health Care Administration, Chia Nan University of Pharmacy & Science, Taiwan authored a study of the association between job satisfaction, organizational citizenship behavior and turnover intention (Yafang, T., & Shih-Wang, W., 2008). Opening with literature review of the three organizational attitudes and referencing a series of associated research surveys, correlations between positive behaviors and organizational support are justified. Additionally, correlations between negative behaviors, such as intent to leave, are associated with a lack of organizational support. The authors continue with suggestive alternatives for increasing organizational citizenship, job satisfaction and employee intent to remain with an organization. Yafang & Shih-Wang conclude by arguing that an organization that supports their employees will enhance the likeliness of increased job satisfaction, positive organizational citizenship behavior and decreased intentions for leaving the organization. Organizations need to be cognizant of an employee's organizational attitudes and address the attitudes in a positive manner thus decreasing the chance that an employee will leave the organization for a better work environment. Overall, this study was somewhat vague as the associations were not well aligned, but the stated organization-employee associations within the study and their potential positive and negative outcomes relate to this current study of procedural justice.

Discussion (Organizational Behavior Theory Application)

Addressing concerns over processes that create negative employee perceptions of fairness in promotional processes can alter the perceived justice by an employee. Should an organization experience continued and documented negative employee behaviors during and after promotions are given, then there may be validity in the perceived unfairness by the employees of the organization. The organization should proceed with actions to mitigate the perceived unfairness.

The achievement of this research in relation to Municipal City and their promotional processes is to correlate procedural justice to employee behaviors before, during and after unfair promotional processes utilizing the equity and expectancy theories and associated organizational justice variables such as distributive, and procedural justice. Applying and understanding the application of the justice variables can promote equitable and fair promotional processes within an organization and enhance perceived fair practices in lieu of unfair practices, by the employees of the organization. Utilizing Paul and Elders, Guide to Critical Thinking Concepts and Tools, additional analysis of logic and reasoning will be conducted in this area (Paul & Elder, 2008).


Employees recognizing fair treatment by the organization will try to maintain positive employee relations, communicate their actions of importance to others, minimize their work complaints and are aware of their work.