The frameworks for impacting employees perception

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Over the previous few decades organizational justice has been an active area of research in organizational behavior (Cropanzano and GreenBerg, 1997). The term justice is used in this study to mean the degree to which employee perceive the overall organization rules procedures and policies, distribution of rewards that are relevant to their work to be fair. According to Lind and Tyler (1988) organizational justice is concerned with people's perception about fairness with respect to their employment relationships and it has been found that individuals value both what they receive and how they receive it. Although research has focused on organizational justice, motivation and performance of employees as separate concepts but only a few attempts have been made to a framework to investigate the influence of employee perception of justice on motivation and performance. The objective of the current paper is to present a framework for explaining the relationship between employee perception of organizational justice, motivation and performance.

An organizational outcome such as employee motivation and job performance is related to procedural justice, interactional justice, and distributive justice. Here we mean that if employee perceives procedural fairness they would be motivated toward their job and they would perform their tasks more actively and show more concern toward job performance. The results related to the fairness of procedures indicate that employees' perceptions of the methods and procedures used in the organization have a direct link to their motivational and performance level. This indicates that the more positive the perception; the more motivated the employee would be. The theoretical relationship between organizational justice, motivation, and performance is discussed in the following sections. A theoretical framework is presented in the form of testable hypotheses. The final section of paper discusses the research methodology that can be used for testing the research framework.


Organizational justice represents a line of research in which the applicability of social justice theory is examined in the area of organizational behavior. Stacy Adams in 1960s is respected as the opener of research on justice in organizational and managerial settings. Adam's equity theory and other organizational justice model (Crosby, 1976; Deutsch, 1975) could not completely explain and predict people's reactions to perceived justice. This lack of theoretical explanation shifted focus of the researchers to procedural justice (Cropanzano and Randall, 1993). Procedural justice - the perceived fairness of the process by which rewards are decided - actually expanded the scope of the study of distributive justice. The findings of the research show that distribution of the reward is considered to be less important than the process by which the rewards are decided (Lind and Tyler, 1988). In the mean time another dimension of organizational justice appeared which is known as interactional justice (Bies and Moag, 1986). Interactional justice focuses on the interpersonal side of the organizational justice such as, interpersonal treatment and communication between management and employees.

The concept of organizational justice has been driven from different angles by different writers. It is generally accepted that perceptions of employees about fairness in all organizational procedures and practices are believed to impact on their behavior and job outcomes. Researchers in large tend to agree on the versatile nature of the construct, and tend to refer to three main aspects of organizational justice. Moorman (1991) shows that three aspects of organizational justice correlate with each but these are distinct in nature. Following his explanation this study defines organizational justice as the variety of the following three aspects:

Distributive justice

Procedural justice

Interactional justice

2.1 Distributive Justice

The primary focus of justice research before 1975 was on distributive justice, which refers to how fair people perceive their rewards to be. Most of this work was based on Adam's equity theory (Adam and Freedman, 1976) in which it was suggested that people determine whether their rewards are fair by making social comparisons. They do so by comparing their own input output ratio with that of others (Herbiniak and Alutto 1972). The concept of fairness in organizations emerged from the social-psychological literature on distributive justice (Deutsch, 1985). Because distributive justice is about the distribution of the rewards and punishment inside the organization, it has implications for organizations where distribution outcomes are important.

The study of distributive justice is related with perception of employees about their work outcomes within an organizational context. In general employees' base their perceptions about distributive justice by comparing their reward with that of others in the organizations. For instance, workers in an organization may compare their financial rewards, training opportunities, working hours and compensation. Such comparison can have positive as well as negative results. In case of positive result the employees would feel positive about the organizational system of distribution and the relation would reverse otherwise. There are studies which argue that such organizations where resources are distributed unfairly are prone to clashes, sense of mistrust and dishonor and similar social issues. For example, Rawls (1999) highlights that in organizational settings rewards should not be affected by luck factors such as, an employee's place of birth, status in society, and influence of his/her family. He further argues that purpose of distributive justice is to reduce the effect of such undue factors and ensure that the rewards are distributed in a fair manner and for benefitting all employees.

Researchers in general converge that presence of organizational justice significantly contributes in organizational effectiveness (Tang and Sarsfield-Baldwin, 1996). Due to the focus of distributive justice on outcomes, it is expected to be related to the cognitive, affective, behavioral reactions to a particular reward or punishment. Research has argued that if a particular outcome is viewed as unjust then it leads to an effect on emotion (Weiss et al., 1999) and their behavior in terms of performance of withdrawal. This leads to the following proposition.

Proposition 1: Employees' perception of distributive justice is positively related with their motivation.

2.2 Procedural Justice

The research about distributive justice led to realization that people not only value the outcomes but also the procedures used for distributing the rewards. Perceived fairness of outcomes considered was no longer as the the only determinant of perceived organizational justice. But rather, the perceived justice of the process by which the outcomes were realized was also important. Thibaut and Walker (1975) introduce the concept of procedural justice to explain people's fairness concern in courtroom and Leventhal (1980) translate this concept into organizational settings. Tyler and Lind (1988) argue that in some cases procedural justice is the most important determinant of perceived organizational justice. When a process leading to a certain outcome is perceived to be unfair, the people's reactions are predicted to be directed at the whole organization, rather than at his/her tasks or the specific outcome in question. This is different from predictions presented for distributive justice, which stresses outcome-focused, rather than organization-focused reactions (Cropanzano & Folger, 1991; Sweeney & McFarlin, 1993).

Procedural justice refers to how fair people perceive the procedures that are used as to arrive at decision outcomes. It is related to the fairness of the processes by which decisions are made. Cropanzano and Stein (2009) define procedural justice as the fairness of the procedures that are utilized to determine what rewards are used, how rewards are distributed, and to whom the rewards are given. It has been argued that employees feel satisfied with the justice process which deals with them with respect, integrity, and dignity even when outcomes of the process are not liked by them. Some researchers further argue that such process is one of the most significant factors in contemporary work environment (Tang and Sarsfield-Baldwin, 1996; Mossholder, 1998). For instance, employees significantly notice whether their voice is valued during decision making process and whether procedures are fair or biased (Lind and Taylor 1988).

According to Leventhal's (1980) conceptualization, procedures are seen as fairer when the procedures follow some basic rules in their design than otherwise. These six rules are: (a) the consistency rule, referring to the consistency in allocation procedures across persons and over time; (b) the bias-suppression rule, referring to prevention from self interests of decision makers in the allocation process; (c) the accuracy rule, stating that accuracy of information used in the allocation process should be high; (d) the correctability rule, referring to the existence of opportunities for changing an unjust decision; (e) the representativeness rule, refers to the needs, values, and outlooks of all the parties that are being affected by the allocation process should reflect in the allocation process; and finally (f) the ethicality rule, which requires that the allocation process ought to be compatible with the perceivers' underlying moral and ethical values.

Over a period of time researchers have consistently studied procedural justice affecting different kinds of organizational actions and individual behavior. For example Lind and Tyler (1988) submit that in organization with low level of procedural justice creates problems such as negative perception towards organization, sense of dissatisfaction from organizational reward decisions, lack of compliance with rules and regulations, and in some instances it may hamper individual and organizational performance. In another study, Tyler and Belliveau (1995) highlight that procedural justice can be used to create an environment where employees have feeling of loyalty towards their organization, where employees see authority as a legitimate property of the top management, and as a result follow the leadership with volunteer attitude. Research highlights that the outcomes of the justice process are accepted even when the outcomes are below the expectations when procedural justice is followed.

In short, it can be safely submitted that procedural justice in organizational setting should have positive impact on a number of employees' behavioral and attitudinal responses. Moreover, the consequences of procedural injustice leads to consequences such as reduction in organizational commitment, lack of trust and satisfaction, resistance to compliance with decision and reduced performance. These findings in literature indicate that high level of procedural justice should lead to enhanced motivation.

Proposition 2: Employees' perception of procedural justice is positively related with their motivation.

2.3 Interactional Justice

The recent literature highlights another dimension of organizational justice, which is interactional justice. Interactional justice is also presented as an extension of the procedural justice and relates to the human side of the organizational justice. This concept was introduced by Bies and Moag (1986). This dimension of justice refers to the nature of relationships between the employee and his supervisor. This type of organizational justice deals with the perception of fairness in procedural actions of others (Krings and Facchin, 2009). Issues in interactional justice generally occur when employees are misled, evaluated unjustly and deprived of privacy or honor.

Here employee perception of fairness in the organization procedures and process is assumed to influence his/her relationships with the organization, co-workers and managers, which in turn affects his behavior and work outcomes. Literature highlights three major dimension of interactional justice. These dimensions are:

Fairness in relationships

Supervisor subordinates coordination and communication


It is generally argued that relationships between employees of the organization, between employees and managers, and between employees and organization are significant predictors of the presence of interactional justice. The importance of interactional justice has been highlighted by Cottringer (1999). His argument is that since it can impact on attitude and performance of employees therefore it is important to create and manage fairness in work organizations. His conclusion is that basic fairness is a primary rule in management. Managers should treat employees the way they want to be treated. The fundamental fairness is achieved when there is workable balance between opposing behaviors, such as providing versus taking, autocracy versus democracy, autonomy vs. supervision, change versus stability, aloofness versus approachability, idealism versus realism, talking versus listening, simplicity versus complexity, organization versus individual, and thinking versus acting. Since interactional justice is partially established by the interpersonal behavior of representatives of management, interactional justice is believed to be linked to cognitive, affective, and behavioral reactions toward such representatives, that is, the immediate supervisor or basis of justice (Bies & Moag, 1986; Bies, 2001; Cropanzano & Prehar, 1999; Masterson et al., 2000). Therefore, in case when an employee faces interactional injustice, he/she is expected to negatively react toward his/her supervisor (or the unit that he/she perceives as interactional unfair to the person) rather than negatively react toward the organization as a whole. This prediction is contrary to the one by procedural justice models and distributive justice theory. In such situations the employee is expected to be dissatisfied with his/her immediate supervisor rather than with the organization as a whole. In the similar way, the employee is expected to be less committed to his/her immediate supervisor, rather than to the whole organization, and to develop negative feelings toward the supervisor, but less so toward the organization (Cropanzano & Prehar, 1999; Masterson et al., 2000).

Communication between manager and employees is another sub-component of interactional justice. It is important for the organizations to develop a communication mechanism which is effective and which enables the employees and their managers to frequently interact with each other. Research has argued that effective and frequent communication between managers and their employees has positive impact on employees' motivation and performance (Tang and Sarsfield-Baldwin, 1996). Hence it can be safely submitted that communication between employees and the managers has significant role in contemporary organizations. It is further argued that employees' ownership which leads to enhanced motivation can be created by an environment which is transparent, honest, and values to all employees. He further suggests that having an efficient two-way communication system within the organization promotes greater employee loyalty and performance. Similarly, Sanchez (1999) argues that two-way communication is a vital feature in recent business environment. He further suggests some strategies that may create successful employee communication in the information era. In his paper he concludes that communicators are facing complex challenges in developing strategies and processes for managing the communication in such a way that the latter enhances the organization's performance. Broad-based communication must be designed in a way that it must win the attention and cooperation of employees. These challenges can be met by establishing proactive, well defined communication strategies that engage and align employees with the organizational business goals.

The final aspect of interactional justice is trust. Trust is considered as a significant aspect of the relationship between employee and organization or organizational representatives such as managers and it is precursor to many of the employees' actions and reactions. Recent research argues that trust can play important role in motivating the team members to work together to combine individual efforts. Cole and Cole (1999) suggest that the volatile corporate world of downsizing, mergers and organizational restructuring have shattered employee security and confidence. Hence we can say that it is important to gain employee's trust. Based on the understanding from previous literature it is argued that interactional justice has positive impact on employees' motivation.

Proposition 3: Employees' perception of interactional justice is positively related with their motivation.


Since the firms are struggling to use their human resources for gaining more affectivity and competitive advantage, it is not amazing that the employee-organization link has often appeared as a matter of attention for both executives and organizational researchers. During this research employee performance has gained central importance (Cappelli, 1999; Rousseau, 1995; Tsui et al., 1995). Empirical studies (Cropanzano et al., 2002; Masterson et al., 2000; Rupp and Cropanzano, 2002) have presented substantial support that the intensity of organizational justice existing in management decisions about employees directly correlate with the quality of follow-on social exchange relationships between the employees and their employer organizations as well as between employees and organizational agents such as immediate managers.

Social exchange relationship repeatedly has shown to be a significant predictor of a number of important employee attitudes and behaviors, including job satisfaction, employee motivation, organizational citizenship behaviors, employee performance, and others. Tekleab et al. (2005) argue that if organizations violate the psychological contracts established with the employees then employees perceive that the organization is not being just in its procedures and ultimately this impact the social exchange between individuals and the organization in negative way and it would result in lower motivational level and poor performance.

In a set of field experiments by Schaubroeck et al. (1994) it is argued that in organizations where employees perceive the procedural justice is in place they are more motivated. It is further stressed that in such state of mind employees' performance increases regardless of the hardships they face, if any. Suliman (2000) investigates the relationship between the interactional justice and self-described performance in Jordanian industries. His research reports that those employees who have positive perception about their relationships with immediate supervisors are likely to rate their work performance more positively than those who whose perception is about their immediate supervisors is less satisfactory.

Proposition 4: Employees whose motivation level is higher because of organizational justice will performance better than those whose motivation level is lower.


The above mentioned propositions are graphically represented in the theoretical model (figure 1). The theoretical model presented in this study is supported by previous research. However, previous research lacks such a comprehensive model. The model presents the idea that three aspects of organizational justice - distributive justice, procedural justice, and interpersonal justice - lead to enhanced motivation level of the employees. The model further predicts that the employees who are motivated by organizational justice will perform better than otherwise. In the following section the method to test the theoretical model is discussed.

Figure 1. Theoretical Model of Organizational Justice, Motivation, and Performance


For testing the model presented in this research the following steps will be followed.

Item Generation for Questionnaire

Literature presented for references in the above sections will be surveyed for developing the items for the variables involved in the research model. Some of the measures have been developed and used in the previous studies. However, further effort will be put in to make them more comprehensive and tailored for this research. The items for remaining variables, that are not used previously, will be developed after reviewing the relevant literature as mentioned. There will be two sections (A, B) of the questionnaire. Section A will ask general information about the respondents and section B will contain items relating to the constructs being investigated in the study.

Sample and Data Collection

Survey instrument will be distributed by postal mail/email with cover letter explaining its purpose and recommendation by a professor from Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS). LUMS is a prestigious and respectable institution in Pakistan that provides premium quality education in the field of business and management. The recipients will be asked to complete the survey within two weeks and fax/mail/email the completed form to a designated address mentioned in the questionnaire. A soft reminder will be sent to the missing respondents. Recipients will also be encouraged to distribute the survey to other potential respondents within their firms. An analysis of non-response bias will be carried out and significant differences among the profiles (seniority, industry, local/foreign, and so on) of respondents of received questionnaires will be estimated. Minimum number of return surveys should not be less than prescribed for factor analysis (Hair et al., 1992, p. 239).

There are a couple of other ideas for increasing the number of responses. The first idea is to personally visit potential respondents' organization to drop the questionnaire and collect the responses on the second visit a couple of days after the first visit. This method has benefits such as increased response rate, data can collected from two or more respondents from the same organization that can be averaged later on to increase the reliability of the responses. The second idea is to collaborate with the organizations conducting events related to organizational behavior, such as LUMS. The questionnaire can be distributed at the beginning of the event and the responses can be collected at the end of the event.

Validity, Reliability and Data Analysis

The data will be managed in statistical analysis software named SPSS. SPSS is widely used software for data analysis in scholarly and non-scholarly research. The following two sub-sections show how validity and reliabilities of constructs will be ensured.

Content and Face Validity: Content validity is a non-statistical form of validity that entails "the systematic examination of the test content to determine whether it covers a representative sample of the behavior domain to be measured" (Anastasi & Urbina, 1997 p. 114). Face validity of the constructs will be ensured by taking opinions of expert (practitioners and academia) of the fields about the validity of the instrument. Content validity of the constructs is also satisfied with the comprehensive study and use of the previous relevant literature mentioned during development of the theoretical model.

Convergent Validity: Convergent validity is ensured by the convergence of the measures of the same construct. Measures of the same construct should converge with each other, meaning that they should show higher correlation with each other. This validity will be assessed by significant correlation of the items of the same construct.

Discriminant Validity: Discriminant validity is ensured by showing that measures of different constructs do not show high correlation with each other. Relatively lower correlation shows that the measures belong to different constructs. This validity will be shown by insignificant correlation between different constructs involved in our research model.

Nomological Validity: Nomological validity shows that logical relationship between the constructs is also reflected in the correlations of their measures. If two constructs are positively related with each other, then measures are also positively correlated with each other, and vice versa. Our study satisfies this validity by showing respective expected correlations among items of different constructs.

Reliability: Confirmatory factor analysis is carried out on the data to examine the dimensions of the constructs. Coefficient alpha measures are used for confirming the internal consistency of the constructs and quality of instrument. A low value of Cronbach's alpha indicates that the items poorly capture the construct (low level of reliability) and high value of alpha indicates that the construct is reliable (Cronbach, 1951; Nunnaly, 1978).

Data Analysis: Once the constructs are established to be valid and reliable, the data will be further analyzed to find out insights. The research model of this study will be developed on analysis of moment structures (AMOS). AMOS is acceptable software for structural equation modeling and is used for the same purpose in scholarly research. Model testing will carried out by testing the structural equation model on AMOS.