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Industrial & Organisational : Introduction : Personnel : Organizational psychology : Occupations: Work environment: Index : Outline

Organizational justice is the study of people’s perception of fairness in organizations.

Organizational literature tends to focus on three specific forms of justice perceptions [1]:

  • Distributive justice considers perceptions of fairness of outcomes (equity, equality, and needs),
  • Procedural justice emphasises the importance of fairness of the methods or procedures used (decision criteria, voice, control of the process),
  • Interactional justice is based on the perceived fairness of the interpersonal treatment received, whether those involved are treated wish sensitivity, dignity and respect, and also the nature of the explanations given.

Although there have been concerns regarding the distinctions between different forms of justice, a meta-analysis suggests the distinction between these three forms is merited. Justice perceptions have been related to a range of work outcomes, including performance, turnover, commitment and co-operative behaviours.[How to reference and link to summary or text]

Repeated findings demonstrate that good attention to procedural justice concerns can increase perceptions of fairness even if the outcomes are unfavourable - so it is an important concept for managers to grasp.[How to reference and link to summary or text]

In other words, if you need to make changes in an organization, you should always attend to justice concerns - be seen to be fair, in particular ensure that the procedures are fair.

The concept of organizational justice is also linked to the psychological contract (PC). Employees are less likely to perceive a breach or violation of the PC if they perceive good procedural justice in particular.[How to reference and link to summary or text] This is important as a number of negative behaviours, including poor performance and exit, are linked to this.

See also


  1. Cohen-Carash Y., & Spector, P.E. (2001). The role of justice in organizations: A meta-analysis. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 86, 278-324.