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JUSTICE FOR ALL? UNION VERSUS MANAGEMENT RESPONSES TO UNJUST ACTS AND SOCIAL ACCOUNTS

Raymond A. Friedman (Harvard University)
Robert J. Robinson (Harvard University)

International Journal of Conflict Management

ISSN: 1044-4068

Article publication date: 1 February 1993

Abstract

Current research on justice has found that perceptions of injustice are reduced when harm‐doers provide an explanation or “account” of their actions. We question whether these findings generalize to everyone in organizations. In particular, we predict that responses to unjust acts and social accounts about them will differ for those in organizations who have less power and for those who are “in‐group” to the victim. We test this prediction by replicating Bies and Shapiro's study of causal accounts, using union subjects as well as managerial subjects, and constructing a scenario in which the victim is a worker and another in which the victim is a manager. As expected, union subjects were more angry about unjust acts than were managers. Counter to our expectations, all subjects perceived an act to be more unjust when the victim was a worker than when the victim was a manager. As in previous studies, an account reduced feelings of injustice, except in one situation: among those of lower power (union reps) who evaluated acts that hurt members of their own group (i.e., a worker), an account did not reduce their sense of injustice for the victim, even though it did reduce blame at the harm‐doer.

Citation

Friedman, R.A. and Robinson, R.J. (1993), "JUSTICE FOR ALL? UNION VERSUS MANAGEMENT RESPONSES TO UNJUST ACTS AND SOCIAL ACCOUNTS", International Journal of Conflict Management, Vol. 4 No. 2, pp. 99-117. https://doi.org/10.1108/eb022722

Publisher

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MCB UP Ltd

Copyright © 1993, MCB UP Limited