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Friend or foe? The impact of relational ties with comparison others on outcome fairness and satisfaction judgments

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  • Sherf, Elad N.
  • Venkataramani, Vijaya

Abstract

Equity theory suggests that social comparison processes play a central role in employees’ fairness judgments. However, the effect of the relationship between an employee and a comparison other on such judgments has received scant attention. We tested this effect across three studies involving demographically (employees, students) and culturally (U.S., India) different samples and research designs (critical incident and scenario). Our results broadly suggest that, with inputs held constant, receiving a lower outcome than a comparison other is judged as fairer (and more satisfactory) when positively (vs. negatively) tied to the other. In contrast, a favorable outcome is judged as fairer when the comparison other is negatively (vs. positively) related. We also found that the impact of (in)equity on employees’ discrete emotions (i.e., guilt, happiness, anger) differed based on their relational tie with comparison others, and that differences in anger and happiness mediated the effects of (in)equity on outcome satisfaction.

Suggested Citation

  • Sherf, Elad N. & Venkataramani, Vijaya, 2015. "Friend or foe? The impact of relational ties with comparison others on outcome fairness and satisfaction judgments," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 128(C), pages 1-14.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jobhdp:v:128:y:2015:i:c:p:1-14
    DOI: 10.1016/j.obhdp.2015.02.002
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Goodman, Paul S. & Haisley, Emily, 2007. "Social comparison processes in an organizational context: New directions," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 102(1), pages 109-125, January.
    2. Greenberg, Jerald & Ashton-James, Claire E. & Ashkanasy, Neal M., 2007. "Social comparison processes in organizations," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 102(1), pages 22-41, January.
    3. Barry, Bruce & Oliver, Richard L., 1996. "Affect in Dyadic Negotiation: A Model and Propositions," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 127-143, August.
    4. Cohen-Charash, Yochi & Spector, Paul E., 2001. "The Role of Justice in Organizations: A Meta-Analysis," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 86(2), pages 278-321, November.
    5. Kwong, Jessica Y. Y. & Leung, Kwok, 2002. "A Moderator of the Interaction Effect of Procedural Justice and Outcome Favorability: Importance of the Relationship," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 87(2), pages 278-299, March.
    6. Blader, Steven L. & Wiesenfeld, Batia M. & Fortin, Marion & Wheeler-Smith, Sara L., 2013. "Fairness lies in the heart of the beholder: How the social emotions of third parties influence reactions to injustice," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 121(1), pages 62-80.
    7. Cremer, David De & Hiel, Alain Van, 2006. "Effects of another person's fair treatment on one's own emotions and behaviors: The moderating role of how much the other cares for you," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 100(2), pages 231-249, July.
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    Cited by:

    1. Kanfer, Ruth & Chen, Gilad, 2016. "Motivation in organizational behavior: History, advances and prospects," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 136(C), pages 6-19.

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