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When fairness neither satisfies nor motivates: The role of risk aversion and uncertainty reduction in attenuating and reversing the fair process effect

  • Desai, Sreedhari D.
  • Sondak, Harris
  • Diekmann, Kristina A.
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    It is widely acknowledged that procedural justice has many positive effects. However, some evidence suggests that procedural justice may not always have positive effects and may even have negative effects. We present three studies that vary in method and participant populations, including an archival study, a field study, and an experiment, using data provided by the general American population, Indian software engineers, and undergraduate students in the US. We demonstrate that key work-related variables such as people's job satisfaction and performance depend on procedural justice, perceived uncertainty, and risk aversion such that risk seeking people react less positively and at times negatively to the same fair procedures that appeal to risk averse people. Our results suggest that one possible reason for these effects is that being treated fairly reduces people's perception of uncertainty in the environment and while risk averse people find low uncertainty desirable and react positively to it, risk seeking people do not. We discuss the implications of our findings for theories of procedural justice including the uncertainty management model of fairness, the fair process effect, and fairness heuristic theory.

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    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S074959781100077X
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    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes.

    Volume (Year): 116 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 1 (September)
    Pages: 32-45

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:jobhdp:v:116:y:2011:i:1:p:32-45
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/obhdp

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    1. Charness, Gary & Gneezy, Uri, 2003. "Portfolio Choice and Risk Attitudes: An Experiment," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt7vz7w609, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
    2. Haigh, Michael S. & List, John A., 2002. "Do Professional Traders Exhibit Myopic Loss Aversion? An Experimental Analysis," Working Papers 28554, University of Maryland, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics.
    3. Gneezy, U. & Potters, J.J.M., 1996. "An experiment on risk taking and evaluation periods," Discussion Paper 1996-61, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    4. Jean-Jacques Laffont, 1989. "The Economics of Uncertainty and Information," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262121360, June.
    5. Colquitt, Jason A. & Scott, Brent A. & Judge, Timothy A. & Shaw, John C., 2006. "Justice and personality: Using integrative theories to derive moderators of justice effects," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 100(1), pages 110-127, May.
    6. Brockner, Joel & De Cremer, David & van den Bos, Kees & Chen, Ya-Ru, 2005. "The influence of interdependent self-construal on procedural fairness effects," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 96(2), pages 155-167, March.
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