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Organizational Justice: A Behavioral Science Concept with Critical Implications for Business Ethics and Stakeholder Theory


  • Hosmer, LaRue Tone
  • Kiewitz, Christian


Organizational justice is a behavioral science concept that refers to the perception of fairness of the past treatment of the employees within an organization held by the employees of that organization. These subjective perceptions of fairness have been empirically shown to be related to 1) attitudinal changes in job satisfaction, organizational commitment and managerial trust beliefs; 2) behavioral changes in task performance activities and ancillary extra-task efforts to assist group members and improve group methods; 3) numerical changes in the quantity, quality and efficiency of divisional outputs; and—though this is far more tentative—4) eventual changes in the competitive advantage and financial performance of the full organization. The authors propose that these constructs can be applied to all stakeholders, rather than just to the current employees of the firm, and that objective determinations of fairness by the managers can be related to subjective perceptions of fairness by the stakeholders that will result in the sequential series of attitudinal, behavioral and numerical changes that will lead to performance improvements. In short, the authors propose a normative stakeholder theory of the firm, based upon ethical principles, that will have testable descriptive hypotheses derived from the behavioral constructs.

Suggested Citation

  • Hosmer, LaRue Tone & Kiewitz, Christian, 2005. "Organizational Justice: A Behavioral Science Concept with Critical Implications for Business Ethics and Stakeholder Theory," Business Ethics Quarterly, Cambridge University Press, vol. 15(1), pages 67-91, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:buetqu:v:15:y:2005:i:01:p:67-91_00

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    Cited by:

    1. Eleanor O’Higgins, 2010. "Corporations, Civil Society, and Stakeholders: An Organizational Conceptualization," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 94(2), pages 157-176, June.
    2. Sertan Kabadayi & Linda Alkire (née Nasr) & Garrett M. Broad & Reut Livne-Tarandach & David Wasieleski & Ann Marie Puente, 2019. "Humanistic Management of Social Innovation in Service (SIS): an Interdisciplinary Framework," Humanistic Management Journal, Springer, vol. 4(2), pages 159-185, December.
    3. Sefa Hayibor, 2017. "Is Fair Treatment Enough? Augmenting the Fairness-Based Perspective on Stakeholder Behaviour," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 140(1), pages 43-64, January.
    4. van Burg, E. & Gilsing, V.A. & Reymen, I.M.M.J. & Romme, A.G.L., 2008. "Creating university spin-offs : A science-based design perspective," Other publications TiSEM ed13609d-fde4-43dc-ba8a-d, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    5. Natàlia Cugueró-Escofet & Marion Fortin, 2014. "One Justice or Two? A Model of Reconciliation of Normative Justice Theories and Empirical Research on Organizational Justice," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 124(3), pages 435-451, October.
    6. Marion Fortin & Martin Fellenz, 2008. "Hypocrisies of Fairness: Towards a More Reflexive Ethical Base in Organizational Justice Research and Practice," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 78(3), pages 415-433, March.
    7. Kevin Money & Anastasiya Saraeva & Irene Garnelo-Gomez & Stephen Pain & Carola Hillenbrand, 2017. "Corporate Reputation Past and Future: A Review and Integration of Existing Literature and a Framework for Future Research," Corporate Reputation Review, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 20(3), pages 193-211, November.
    8. Groening, Christopher & Kanuri, Vamsi Krishna, 2013. "Investor reaction to positive and negative corporate social events," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 66(10), pages 1852-1860.
    9. Yves Fassin, 2012. "Stakeholder Management, Reciprocity and Stakeholder Responsibility," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 109(1), pages 83-96, August.
    10. Tan Seng Teck & Chang Jau Ho & Liau Chee How & Nanthakumar Karuppiah & William Chua, 2020. "A Theorisation on the Impact of Responsive Corporate Social Responsibility on the Moral Disposition, Change and Reputation of Business Organisations," Journal of Management and Sustainability, Canadian Center of Science and Education, vol. 8(4), pages 105-105, March.
    11. Tuheena Mukherjee & Kanika T. Bhal, 2018. "Assessing Cognitive Ethical Logics for Commercial Emotions," IIM Kozhikode Society & Management Review, , vol. 7(2), pages 109-121, July.
    12. Del Bosco, Barbara & Misani, Nicola, 2011. "Keeping the enemies close: The contribution of corporate social responsibility to reducing crime against the firm," Scandinavian Journal of Management, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 87-98, March.
    13. Sefa Hayibor & Colleen Collins, 2016. "Motivators of Mobilization," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 139(2), pages 351-374, December.
    14. Steven E. Kaplan & Valentina L. Zamora, 2018. "The Effects of Current Income Attributes on Nonprofessional Investors’ Say-on-Pay Judgments: Does Fairness Still Matter?," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 153(2), pages 407-425, December.
    15. Rezaei, Mojtaba & Jafari-Sadeghi, Vahid & Cao, Dongmei & Mahdiraji, Hannan Amoozad, 2021. "Key indicators of ethical challenges in digital healthcare: A combined Delphi exploration and confirmative factor analysis approach with evidence from Khorasan province in Iran," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 167(C).
    16. Michel Renault & Yvan Renou, 2007. "Processus d'individuation, éthique et pragmatisme. A la recherche de fondements théoriques pour appréhender la firme partenariale," Post-Print halshs-00202148, HAL.
    17. Alain Verbeke & Vincent Tung, 2013. "The Future of Stakeholder Management Theory: A Temporal Perspective," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 112(3), pages 529-543, February.

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