Folger and Konovsky (1989) explain that procedural justice refers to the perceived fairness of the means used to determine the amounts of compensation employees receive. Coetzee (2004) further describes it as the extent to which fair procedures and processes are in place and adhered to in an organization, and to which individuals see their leaders being fair and sincere in all they do. This essay will explore the benefits of procedural justice and in particular present an argument that supports the statement that the perception of procedural justice by employees results into positive work outcomes.
Skarlicki and Folger (1997) identify the following positive consequences of procedural justice: organization commitment, intent to stay with the organization, organizational citizenship behavior, trust in supervisors and workmates, satisfaction with decisions made as well as increased work effort, job satisfaction and performance. It is these positive outcomes that are expounded on in support of the statement that positive work outcomes arise from the perception of procedural justice by employees.
McFarlin and Sweeney (1992) point out that procedures define the organizations capacity to treat employees fairly and therefore if they see the procedures as fair, employees may view the organization positively. This positivity results into high commitment and supervisor evaluations. Findings in the study by Folger and Konovsky (1989) also reveal that procedural justice has been shown to be positively related to organizational commitment. Furthermore, Moorman, Niehoff and Organ (1993) show that procedural justice influences affective commitment in particular.
Affective commitment refers to one’s psychological attachment to the organization as well as their identification with it (Muchinsky, 2006). Procedural justice influences affective commitment in a way that the fair procedures of allocating resources and resolving disputes in organizations represent the view that employees are valued and it is this value that results in the employee being more attached to and identifying more with the organization.
In addition, Organ (1988) suggests that perceptions of fairness may also promote effectiveness in organizations through influencing an employee’s decision to perform organizational citizenship behaviors because in exchange for being treated fairly, employees would engage in discretionary gestures of such behavior. Organizational citizenship behaviors are “those contributions that employees make to the overall welfare of the organization that go beyond the required duties of their job” (Muchinsky, 2006, p. 326).
This behavior may include avoiding complaints, attendance better than the group norm and courtesy. Moorman et al. (1993) further explains that employees go above and beyond their prescribed roles by demonstrating conscientiousness toward their work, trying to prevent problems with other employees, informing others before taking important actions, and refraining from excessively complaining about work, because they feel the necessity to reciprocate the fair treatment they have received from the organization. This is therefore yet another positive work outcome of procedural fairness.
Furthermore, trust, which according to McShane and Von Glinow (2009) refers to positive expectations one person has toward another in situations involving risk, is yet another outcome that arises from procedural justice. Pearce, Bigley and Branyczki (1998) show that perceptions of procedural justice were associated not only with a greater trust in supervisors but also with a greater trust in peers as employees perceive their rights to have been honoured and can therefore reciprocate in any situation, since this trust is based on expectations that are held in common and can be reciprocated.
In terms of job satisfaction and morale, those who perceive justice in their organizations are more likely to feel satisfied with their job and less likely to leave their job (Bakhshi, 2009). Moorman et al. , (2009) further explains that procedural justice may be a basis for an employee’s level of work satisfaction when that employee has developed a positive view of the organization due to its existing fair procedures. This then boosts the level of performance on the job.
On the contrary however, perception of procedural injustice therefore in an organization will lead to a range of negative outcomes including low levels of organizational commitment and job satisfaction, reduced task performance and employee withholding of organizational citizenship behaviour (Pearce et al. , 1998). These are negative work outcomes that may therefore hinder the progress of n organization in the long run.
In conclusion, this essay has defined procedural justice, and supported the statement that that the perception of procedural justice by employees results in positive work outcomes. This has been done by presenting in detail using a range of social science literature and empirical research the various outcomes namely trust, job satisfaction, organizational commitment, and organizational citizenship and identifying the negative outcomes of procedural injustice.