Takeaways from a Veteran and a Newcomer to the Justice Literature

So Kate, one of the interesting
things about our review is it brings together a
seasoned justice scholar and a new justice scholar. So I first published in
this literature in 2001. I’ve been reading this
literature since the mid ’90s. This is your first
exposure to justice though. It’s your first
justice publication. So I think when we
look back on the paper, we look back on it
through different lenses and through different
perspectives. We probably have very
different take aways of it. And so I thought it might
be fun to kind of compare our take aways. When I look back on the
article, what strikes me is there are really
four basic questions that have dominated the
attention of justice scholars for the past 30 to 40 years. What is justice? How do we assess it? Why do we even think
about justice issues in the first place? Why do they occur to us as
we’re going through our day? What kinds of behaviors
does justice predict? And how and why does it
predict those behaviors? And I think our review shows
we have pretty good answers to those four questions now. Justice is a sense
of appropriateness in decision making contexts. It can be referenced toward
particular rules that we’ve introduced, procedural
rules, distributive rules, interpersonal rules,
informational rules. It could also be assessed
on a more general sense of appropriateness and
the form of fairness. Why do we think about it? Well, we think about
it because we’re concerned about things
in our working lives, maybe the status we have
in our organization, maybe how trustworthy
our boss is, whether our company is
doing the right thing, or whether we’re making
progress towards our goals. What kinds of behaviors
does it predict? Well, both functional and
dysfunctional behaviors, on functional side,
job performance, citizenship behavior. On the dysfunctional side,
deviant or counterproductive behaviors, withdrawal behaviors. And how and why does it
predict those things? Well, frankly for both cognitive
reasons and affective reasons, because of the way it makes us
think and because of the way it makes us feel. So maybe we think that
our boss isn’t trustworthy or we feel anxiety or anger. And so I think there’s
a lot of things that justice literature tells
us about these four questions. What are you take aways you
look back on the review? For me my biggest
take away is really making that justice
literature more digestible. There are a lot of theories
in the justice literature, fairness heuristic theory,
fairness theory, uncertainty management theory,
and not to mention all of the other theories that
we incorporate into the justice literature. And so first getting
into literature can be really intimidating. I remember when I first
got the stack of theories, or rather are virtual
stack in Dropbox. And I didn’t quite
know where to begin. Looking at the
theories, I was trying to figure out is fairness
theory and fairness heuristic theory competing theories or
are they complementing theories? How do I know which one to use? And so what I think
our article does is give a tool for
researchers to understand how the theories work
together and work differently, and somewhat of a guide on
which mediators to choose and which behaviors
to choose when you’re studying a phenomenon. And I think probably
it sets us up for this is the end of
justice 1.0 as a literature because we’re answered
these four questions, and then sets a stage for what
we might call justice 2.0. And so maybe what
we do from here is we leave those questions
behind and we study new things. And I think you’re seeing the
literature do that already. And so what might a justice
2.0 paper look like? Maybe we stop studying
employees and we start studying supervisors. And so maybe we say well what
causes supervisor behave fairly or unfairly in the first place. Maybe we ask well whether a
supervisor is fair or unfair, what does that do
to his or her affect on the job, his or her
reactions on the job. And so I suspect
the readers, they’re going to access our article. They’re going to come at it from
one of the two perspectives, either a newcomer to
literature like you, or a veteran scholar like me. And I guess we hope that
regardless of which perspective they come from, they enjoy it
and they get something good out of it.

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