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Linking justice, trust and innovative work behaviour to work engagement

Upasna A. Agarwal (NITIE, Mumbai, India)

Personnel Review

ISSN: 0048-3486

Article publication date: 28 January 2014




The purpose of this paper is to examine the effects of contextual variables – organisational justice (procedural justice, interactional justice and psychological contract) and trust – on work engagement.


The paper reports a quantitative study of 323 managers working in manufacturing and pharmaceutical organisations based in western India. Drawing from social exchange theory, this paper tests the mediating role of trust in the justice-engagement relationship. The paper also investigates the effect of work engagement on employees' innovative work behaviour.


Results suggest that procedural justice, interactional justice and psychological contract fulfilment are positively related to work engagement with trust as the mediating element. Engagement significantly influences employees' innovative work behaviour

Research limitations/implications

The data were collected cross-sectionally, which means that causal inferences must be made with caution. Moreover, the data were collected from a single source. Nevertheless, the findings have implications for contemporary leadership and organisational psychology research and practice in a novel geographic context.


This study is one of the rare attempts to examine the influence of three justice variables and trust on work engagement. The study also contributes in terms of its context. With an increasing number of multinationals starting operations in India, an understanding of employee motivation has become an important concern. This research examines engagement levels of Indian managerial employees.



The author would like to thank the Associate Editor Professor Penny Dick and anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments. Special thanks to Professor Vishal Gupta for help with empirical analysis.


A. Agarwal, U. (2014), "Linking justice, trust and innovative work behaviour to work engagement", Personnel Review, Vol. 43 No. 1, pp. 41-73.



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Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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