- Teaching Social Justice in Theory and Practice
- Equity, Equality, Power, and Conflict | Academy of Management Review
- Equity, justice, and altruism
- Gatekeeper bias as a barrier
Hypotheses 1 and 2 suggest main effects of equity perceptions and equality perceptions on affective and normative commitments. Hypotheses 3 and 4 suggest that gender moderates the relationships between equity versus equality perceptions and the two commitment variables — affective and normative.
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In order to test hypotheses 1 and 2 main effects , we used hierarchical regression analyses. In order to test hypotheses 3 and 4, we used moderated regression analyses as suggested by Pedhazur In the first step, we entered the two control variables, gender and salary model 1 in Tables 2 and 3. We used the incremental F -ratio test to examine the statistical significance of the model and one-tailed t -tests for betas to assess the statistical significance of the predictor variables.
The hypothesised moderation effects would be supported if the interaction terms are statistically significant. Table 1 Descriptive statistics and correlations among variables used in the study. Table 2 Results of the moderated regression analysis on affective commitment and normative commitment: effect of equity norms. Table 3 Results of the moderated regression analysis on affective commitment and normative commitment: effect of equality norms. Table 1 presents the mean values, standard deviations, and correlations among the variables used in the study.
Table 2 presents the results of the hierarchical and moderated regression analyses examining the effect of equity perceptions on the two commitment variables.
Table 3 presents the results of the hierarchical and moderated regression analyses examining the effect of equality perceptions on the two commitment variables. Hypothesis 1 suggested that equity perceptions should be positively related to affective and normative commitments.
Teaching Social Justice in Theory and Practice
The results of hierarchical regression with equity perceptions as the predictor variable models 2 in Table 2 provided support for our hypotheses. Hypothesis 2 predicted that equality perceptions should be negatively related to affective and normative commitments. The results of hierarchical regression with equality perceptions as the predictor variable models 2 in Table 3 failed to provide support for our hypotheses. That is, our results show that perceived equality in rewards positively, rather than negatively, influences normative commitment.
Hypothesis 3 predicted that gender would moderate the relationships between equity perceptions and the two commitment variables — affective and normative — in such a way that women would report greater commitment under conditions of higher perceived equity. The results of moderated regression with equity perceptions as the predictor variable models 3 in Table 2 provided support for our hypotheses.
Figures 1 and 2 present the moderating effects of gender on the relationships between equity perceptions and the two forms of commitment affective and normative. Figure 1 Download Figure Download figure as PowerPoint slide Moderating effect of gender on the relationship between equity perceptions and affective commitment. Citation: The Irish Journal of Management 36, 3; Figure 2 Download Figure Download figure as PowerPoint slide Moderating effect of gender on the relationship between equity perceptions and normative commitment.
As indicated by Figures 1 and 2 , women exhibited greater affective and normative commitment towards the organisation than men when equity perceptions were higher. Hypothesis 4 predicted that gender would moderate the relationships between equality perceptions and the two commitment variables — affective and normative — in such a way that women would report lower commitment under conditions of lower perceived equality.
The results of moderated regression with equality perception as the predictor variable models 3 in Table 3 provided partial support for our hypotheses. Figure 3 presents the moderating effect of gender on the relationships between equality perception and affective commitment. Figure 3 Download Figure Download figure as PowerPoint slide Moderating effects of gender on the relationship between equality perceptions and affective commitment. As indicated by Figure 3 , when equality perceptions were higher, both men and women did not significantly differ in their affective commitment to the organisation; however, women reported lower affective commitment to the organisation than men when they reported lower equality perceptions.
That is, it appears that when women perceive that rewards were not distributed equally, they tend to show lower affective commitment towards the firm.
Thus, hypothesis 4 was supported only with respect to affective commitment and not normative commitment. The current study had two goals in mind. First, we wanted to examine whether perceptions of alternative reward systems based on two distinct distributive justice norms — equity versus equality — influenced affective and normative commitments differently. Several conclusions can be drawn from the findings of our study. Consistent with prior studies Cohen-Charash and Spector, ; Colquitt et al. Additionally, we found that there was a clear moderating role of gender on commitment both affective and normative.
For women but not for men , greater perceptions of equity were associated with greater affective commitment and normative commitment. The results of the current study seem to be somewhat contradictory to the results reported by Ramamoorthy and Flood Similar to their findings, we also found that under conditions of greater equity perceptions, women reported greater affective and normative commitment than men. However, unlike Ramamoorthy and Flood , in our study, when equity perceptions were lower, there were no significant differences between men and women in the two forms of commitment.
The current study also seems to open up an interesting arena of research for the future. The two constructs, materialistic values and perceptions of equity, may be distinct. Since we controlled for importance of value attached to pay in our study and yet women tended to report greater commitment under conditions of higher equity perceptions, the results seem to suggest that holding the materialistic values constant, women may still prefer equity in the workplace and organisations that provide an equitable work environment may well reap the benefits in the form of higher levels of commitment from women.
For instance, if they perform well, they could expect to be rewarded accordingly and have an opportunity to narrow the inequities in pay.
Equity, Equality, Power, and Conflict | Academy of Management Review
Such an opportunity to narrow wage differentials may also translate into greater emotional ties to the organisation. It could well be that women were sensing a stronger bond to the organisation through the norm of reciprocity. For men, there was no change in commitment either affective or normative as a result of increased sense of equity. In the context of this study, pay was the focal outcome. It could be that women are more sensitive to changes in perceived fairness with regard to an outcome that has historically been and continues to be just out of reach of parity with men.
Roth et al. To the extent that such differential ratings influence career progression, women may perceive injustice in the workplace. Thus, future studies should also examine other forms of inequities that may exist between men and women e. With respect to perceptions of equality norms, clearly a higher emphasis on equality norms tended to result in more positive outcome in the form of increased normative commitment but not affective commitment. That is, gender did not moderate the relationships between equality perceptions and normative commitment.
However, gender seemed to play a role in the relationship between perceptions of equality in reward systems and affective commitment. While both men and women did not differ in terms of their affective commitment when equality perceptions were higher, there were significant differences between them when equality perceptions were lower.
That is, women tended to report lower affective commitment than men when equality perceptions were lower. As prior studies e. We should also note that our measure of equity perceptions clearly referenced monetary rewards but the measure of equality perceptions did not. Future studies should focus on developing a reliable and valid instrument to measure the three different forms of distribution rules: equity, equality, and need.
From a practical point of view, organisations grapple with the dilemma of designing reward systems that would motivate employees to perform maximally and elicit positive attitudes. In general, both forms of reward systems tend to promote positive attitudes in the form of normative commitment though equity norms influenced affective commitment only. From the perspective of gender diversity in organisations, lack of pay for performance systems based on equity norms seems to be disliked by both men and women, resulting in lower levels of attitudinal commitment to the organisation, as evidenced in the current study.
Equity-based reward systems may have the unintended negative consequences of promoting competitiveness compared to equality-based systems, yet they may be favoured by women more than men. Similarly, equality-based reward systems also appear to be acceptable to both men and women. While managers may be tempted to adhere to equality-based norms to promote cooperation, they must also be aware of the more negative attitude women may exhibit towards such a system, particularly when they perceive lower equality in the workplace.
We are not suggesting that organisations must eliminate equality-based reward systems but must be cognisant of the negative consequences it may have on female employees. Given a diverse workforce facing organisations and increased participation of women in the workplace, organisations should also understand that equality-based norms may not be viewed very positively by women when they perceive the organisation to be violating equality norms lower perceptions of equality.
Further, research in the area of distributive justice should not construe deviations from equity norms as the equivalent of equality or need norms. While individual pay for performance systems tends to measure individual performance and reward individuals according to their relative contributions, there could be situations e. In such cases, organisations may reward everyone in the group equally through a bonus or incentive payment for successful task accomplishment.
Thus, practical difficulties in measurement of individual performance may result in departures from equity norms and such departures from equity norms may not indicate adherence to equality norms. Therefore, future studies should attempt to systematically measure these perceptions directly in order to reach meaningful conclusions.
Equity, justice, and altruism
We would also like to address some of the limitations of the current study. The study was cross-sectional in nature. As such, causality cannot be inferred. However, as Spector points out, in organisational research, cross-sectional studies would be a useful starting point. That is, particularly in organisational settings where experimental designs are more difficult to design and implement, cross-sectional studies are quite useful in understanding the relationships between critical variables.
In order to address causality, researchers should use controlled experimental designs that vary in terms of equity versus equality norms in distribution of outcomes and examine the impact of such norms on employee attitudes. Alternatively, longitudinal studies may also be a viable option to address the issue of changes in attitudes as a result of changing distributive justice norms based on equity versus equality.
Gatekeeper bias as a barrier
In the current study, we used self-report attitudinal survey to gather data. One of the potential dangers of selfreport is that of common method bias. Common method bias can occur when multiple measures are collected by the same method, particularly at the same time. Future studies can be conducted in such a manner as to minimise common method bias using the survey method or obtain independent data from organisations on such measures as performance or reward information.
In some instances, the items used to assess the variables were modified from existing scales. Moreover, some of the variables were measured with as few as two items. Previous studies from which we measured equity and equality norms have demonstrated good reliability. While the use of a small number of items is not really problematic, future studies may also consider developing scales to measure equality norms with a larger number of items and examine whether reliability can be increased further.
Questions of justice, or fairness, arise in virtually all aspects of social life, and the topic of social justice covers a vast array of subjects. The social goods that are of concern in questions of distributive justice include a wide array of things that people want, usually referred to as primary goods , including basic freedoms, political enfranchisement, power, authority, status, income and wealth, education and employment opportunities, housing, and health care.
In most discussions, it is assumed that those things are scarce, although in some cases that is clearly not always the case; for example, there should be an unlimited supply of basic freedoms in a well-ordered democracy. However, even if social goods are abundant, they have inherent satisfaction value—they are things that bring both extrinsic and intrinsic satisfaction to the individual—and their distribution is governed in part by principles of justice.
A major form of justice that concerns sociologists as well as legal scholars is criminal or legal justice , but justice issues pervade many other types of social relationships as well. Justice issues arise very often when inequalities of outcomes exist, but equalities of outcomes also raise questions in regard to justice. In Nichomachean Ethics , Aristotle stated: "For if the persons are not equal, they will not have equal shares; it is when equals possess or are allotted unequal shares, or persons not equal, equal shares that quarrels and complaints arise.
The experimental literature in social psychology indicates that when persons perceive "inequitable" inequalities, they frequently experience cognitive tensions and a drive to reduce those tensions by changing their judgments about relative investments and contributions or changing their values in regard to the importance of reward-relevant criteria. Research also shows that when experimental subjects in task-oriented settings have well-defined expecatations linked to objective indicators and contributions and investments, they find reward inequalities more acceptable Brickman ; Cook Inequalities in the distribution of rewards also result from power differentials, and those in disadvantaged positions are more likely to view such inequalities as unfair Cook and Hegtvedt ; Molm These spheres concern the legal, political, economic , and social realms of existence and cover a broad range of human social behavior.
Because questions of justice in society are so pervasive, most social sciences claim to understand the ways in which human societies deal with them. Thus, the literature on justice is massive and is perceived differently from a variety of perspectives. Justice is also a prominent theme in many traditions within sociology Alwin ; Hamilton and Rauma ; Hegtvedt and Markovsky ; Kluegel et al.