Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Organizational Justice Builds Better Companies

Organizations are collectives of people that create mini-societies with rules, beliefs, and symbols. As a society, there are inherent values that each person expects from their employer that helps build greater forms of trust and commitment. When those values are inconsistently applied and result in distributive and procedural injustice the financial failure of the company is not far into the future.

Distributive Justice determines who receives rewards in an organization while procedural justice describes the treatment of employees based upon the policies & procedures of the organization (Fields, Pang & Chiu, 2000). Employees expect that companies are willing to reward them fairly based on effort as well as have their rights protected by the organization.

When distributive and procedural justice breaks down it is usually the result of the inappropriate application of rewards and punishments. Agenda driven individuals will change theunwrittenrules to ensure that the goals of making them look good and earn promotions are achieved. Poor management detracts from organizational objectives by wasting time and effort.

Employees will soon learn that the rules are not fairly applied and will either align themselves with the needs and opinion of the manager or leave the organization. People who need jobs to support their families are likely to accept poor management within an organization to maintain their livelihoods. As this encampment continues the value systems and culture of the organization adjust to a lower form.

What is the value of distributive and procedural justice? Job satisfaction and organizational commitment are related to perceptions of justice (Harvey & Haines, 2005). When people feel respected and treated fairly, they will have more commitment than employees who have been mistreated. The retention of progressive and knowledge-driven employees should be the goal of every organization.

Justice can be an elusive because it is subject to all types of interpretations. Those organizations that can create fairness in compensation and punishment are likely to reap the benefits of employee effort. Managers who place their interests first and the needs of the organization and its employee’s second do irreparable harm to employee trust and commitment. Each manager should focus their efforts on the organizational goals and aligning their styles appropriately.  Managing employees is about motivating them to see the value in themselves and the work they do.

Harvey, S. & Hains, V. (2005). Employer treatment of employees during a community crisis: the role of procedural and distributive justice. Journal of Business & Psychology, 29 (1).

Fields, D., Pang, M. & Chiu, C. (2000). Distributive and procedural justice as predictors of employee outcomes in Hong Kong. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 21 (5).  

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