What is organizational justice?
The trend of globalization, new technology development, innovative business practices and technologies are continuously influencing organizations and people working for them all over the world. Apart from making enormous profits, companies worldwide are facing challenges of improving employee’s job satisfaction, organizational commitment and organizational citizenship behavior by means of implementation of organizational justice. Many successful organizations have realized the importance of organizational justice for the sake of employee retention to sustain their growth in the marketplace.
The term ‘organizational justice’ was first of all given by Greenberg in 1987 and it refers to perception of employees about their organization’s behaviors, actions and decisions and in what way they impact the employees’ attitudes and conducts at work (Greenberg, 1990) . The term connects directly to fairness. Employers make decisions on a daily basis that have impact on employees and these impacts categorize the decisions as just or unjust or fair or unfair. Organizations must ensure that organizational justice should be at the top of their priority as it helps in reduction of workplace deviance, disengagement from work, absence from work and counterproductive workplace behaviors. Organizational justice encourages positive attributes among employees such as progressive communication and trust (Greenberg, 1993). There are three kinds of organizational justice. These are distributive justice, procedural justice and interactional justice (Greenberg, 1990).
Distributional justice deals with the concerns of employees that include fairness of consequences they receive. This happens to be one of the biggest reasons of employee’s failure or reduction in his productivity and morale as he thinks that his company lacks fairness. Another type of organizational justice is known as procedural justice. It is concerned with the manners employees perceive the fairness and just behind the process of deciding the outcomes. Another type, interactional justice deals with the explanations that are communicated and to what extent there is fair treatment of employees. The two sub-forms of interactional justice are interpersonal and informational justice in which the former looks at the fairness and sensitivity in communication of information to the employees while the latter is related to the quality of the explanation that is given to the employees regarding happening of a specific outcome or any decision taken for employees (Folger and Folger, 1998).
The present study deals with affect of organizational justice on job satisfaction and organizational citizenship behavior of the employees.
In simple words, job satisfaction is defined as contentment or lack of contentment that arises out of interplay of employees’ positive or negative feelings towards their work (Coates et al, 2013). Job satisfaction is generally influenced by an individual’s ability to carry out and complete a required task, communication level in the organization and the manner with which the management treats its employees. Since, the concept of job satisfaction is different for different employees; it is a daunting task to measure job satisfaction (Wanous et al, 1997).
It refers to anything that an employee opts to do, either spontaneously or of his own accord that often lies external to the specified contractual obligations laid down for him. OCB is discretionary in nature (Smith, Organ and Near, 1983). The concept may not generally be formally or directly be rewarded or recognized by the management through incentives or promotions but it is favorably reflected in performance ratings and feedbacks from the superiors. This helps in promoting effectiveness of the organization.
The Three Types of Organizational Justice
There are large numbers of studies that have taken cumulative impact of distributive, interactional and procedural justice into consideration. Impact of these types of justice on organizational citizenship behavior (Moorman, 1991), employee satisfaction and motivation (Latham and Pinder, 2005), job satisfaction (Al Zu’bi, 2010), organizational commitment (Turgut, Tokmak and Gucel, 2012) and self evaluated performance and job satisfaction (Fernandes and Awamleh, 2006).
Organizational justice (OJ) concerned with fair treatment of employees affects the job satisfaction (JS) of the employees. The idea of perception of fairness is a significant concept for the employees since it affects their behaviors and attitudes that subsequently direct to positive or negative employee satisfaction and their performance at work. If the perception is unfair it leads to dissatisfaction feelings with outcomes or rewards. Unfair perception leads to employee exerting lesser efforts at the work and eventually parting with the company. Large proportion of research works based on effect of distributive justice on job satisfaction has been derived from works of Adams (1965) (Alexander and Ruderman, 1987). Equity theory is used to explain the effect of distributive justice on employee’s satisfaction as the theory says that employee behaviors are caused by the perceptions of fairness and unfairness. This asserts that employees always compare amount of their inputs (what employees invest into their work) and outcomes (what employees receive in return) with those of others relevant to work. For instance, if an employee feels that he is underpaid as compared to his colleagues irrespective of the same amount of work done by all, this in turn decreases the employee satisfaction at work which reduces his quality and quantity of work, affecting overall effectiveness of organization. Also, such an employee cannot do any additional work because he is not motivated enough to work beyond his obligations for the sake of organization. This reduces the OCB of the employee for the organization. Also, if an employee feels that he is paid more than others, this motivates him to do more and more quality and quantity of work in accordance to his job description and beyond his organizational obligations for his own satisfaction as well as for the sake of the organization. Job satisfaction and organizational citizenship behavior increases and get stronger if the following components of distributive justice are met:
Equity: Providing rewards to employees based on contributions
Equality: Providing compensation based on same attributes
Need: Offering benefits based on personal requirements of employees
Procedural Justice as mentioned earlier has its focus on various processes that are utilized for determining the outcomes. According to Thibaut and Walker (1975), if in an organization employees are given chances to have their contribution into the process that is used for determining the outcomes and how to reach those outcomes, then these employees might perceive those outcomes as fair and just. Employees in many organizations look for the aspects of ethicality, precision, consistency and indiscrimination for determination of outcomes (Folger and Greenberg, 1985). Employees seek fairness in company’s formal procedures. This mainly deals with an employee’s trust and commitment towards his management and organization as procedures are significant predictor of outcomes. This helps in improvement of employees’ performance and this in turns leads to establishment of greater trust and confidence for the management. Procedural justice leads to greater employee satisfaction at work and greater organizational citizenship as employees have sense of responsibility and belongingness for the organization. Employees confidently feel that their organization is just and fair for everyone therefore, the management will take decisions that would develop their career, skills and performance and this leads to greater commitment towards the organization. This also leads to less turnover and absenteeism among the employees as they are always motivated by justice. However, a study by Greenberg (1990) stated that employees may perceive high pays as fair irrespective of the fairness of procedures but they may accept low pays as fair and just only when the procedures were fair and reasonable in their opinions. Job satisfaction and organizational citizenship behavior increases and get stronger if the following components of procedural justice are met:
Consistency: Same treatment to all employees
Accuracy: Decisions must be based on accurate facts
Lack of biasness: No discrimination
Correction: Appeals and chances for fixing mistakes are given
Ethics: Professional codes of conduct are not violated
Interactional justice on the other hand focuses on employees’ perceptions of the interpersonal conduct carried out during the representation of procedures and decisions. This takes into considerations the various actions that are socially sensitive, for example, when supervisors respond to their employees with respect and dignity in terms of providing adequate explanations for making decisions, paying appropriate attention to employees’ concerns and demonstrating empathy for their predicament, employees feel respected and important for others as well as for the organization (Bies and Moag, 1986). This directly deals with the fulfillment of the self esteem needs and self actualization needs of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Employees nowadays give more importance to the ways they are treated by their superiors and management at work during their interpersonal encounters with different people at work. Perceptions of respect, dignity and politeness in an employee’s treatment or when taking decisions are a component of Interpersonal justice whereas the satisfactoriness and capability of the explanations provided in terms of their timeliness, specificity and truthfulness comes under informational justice (Thibaut and Walker, 1978). If these attributes are taken care by the management in terms of their involvement in the practices, procedures and decisions of the management, this leads to increase in employees’ satisfaction and organizational commitment. Job satisfaction and organizational citizenship behavior increases and get stronger if the following components of interactional justice are met:
Interpersonal Justice: Treating employees with respect, dignity and courtesy
Informational Justice: Sharing of relevant data and information with employees
To conclude, it is important for an organization to enhance its effectiveness by keeping the employees happy and satisfied and this could only happen by means of organizational justice (Greenberg, 1987).
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