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Work Motivation - Procedural Justice Theory

A procedural justice theory: A process theory about work motivation that focuses on employees' perception of the fairness of the procedures used to make decisions about the distribution of outcomes

What are the implications of transferring top users of sick leave to less busy firehouse companies from a procedural justice perspective?

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1. What are the implications of transferring top users of sick leave to less busy firehouse companies from a procedural justice perspective?

A procedural justice theory: A process theory about work motivation that focuses on employees' perception of the fairness of the procedures used to make decisions about the distribution of outcomes.

The issue for the employees’ in this scenario: do the employees’ perceive that the decision-making process involved in the decision to transfer top users of sick leave to less busy firehouse companies was fair? Do the employees perceive this decision making process (e.g. procedure) fair in the final decision outcome (e.g. transfer top users of sick leave to less busy firehouse companies)?

In other words, the managers of the firehouse companies must implement decision-processes that satisfy perceptions of fairness. Perhaps, the employees would NOT consider this outcome fair, since all the top users of sick leave would be localized to one firehouse company. How would that impact the employees’ perception of fairness (and thus, motivation and final outcome), to be working within an environment of constant change? How would the employees of the other firehouse companies perceive this outcome of the procedural decision? Interestingly, this theory suggests it in NOT so much the outcome (e.g., transferring top users of sick leave to less busy firehouse companies) of the decision making process that impacts motivation, but the procedures that went into the decision-making process prior to implementation

For example, research suggests that several criterions impact the employees’ perception of fairness from a procedural justice perspective (e.g., consistency, the rule makers must be impartial and neutral, those directly affected by the decisions should have a voice and representation in the process, and the processes that implemented the procedure should be transparent). In other words, if the decision meets these criteria, then the employees at the firehouse would decide that the decision processes satisfied their perceptions of fairness; therefore, it would less likely impact motivation negatively. Did the employees have a voice in the decision-making process? Were the top decision-makers open and upfront with the decisions being made? Etc. However, the reverse would be true if this decision process did not meet these four criteria, and perhaps others (according to the author in Example 2 below), which expands on each of these criteria. However, the decision process is more complex than most people consider.

Let’s turn to the examples. Although some examples are more relevant than others, the discussions provide an excellent overview and application of the procedural justice theory in various work situations.

Example 1: Expanding the definition (excerpt – applying theory to board decisions)
Procedural justice theory examines the decision-making process in exchange relation-ships in which one party has decision making authority over issues that concern the other party (Lind & Tyler, 1988). As such, this theory deals with situations analogous to an agent-principal relationship in which the principal delegates decision-making authority to the agent. In contrast to agency theory, which focuses on how the relationship is structured to ensure proper decision making, justice theory examines the decision-making process and its impact on the exchange relationship. Specifically, the theory addresses what constitutes fair decision procedures and the importance of procedural justice to the exchange relationship. Several characteristics of the formal procedures and aspects of the conduct of the decision maker are known to contribute to perceptions of procedural justice. One of the most critical procedural factors is voice, the opportunity to provide input into the decision or control the information used to make the decision. In addition, various aspects of the decision maker's information sharing are important, including showing consideration of others' input, giving timely feedback on the results of the decision, and providing adequate justification for the decision (Tyler & Bies, 1990; Korsgaard, Schweiger, & Sapienza, 1995; Sapienza & Korsgaard, 1996).
Research and theory suggest that procedural justice is valued by individuals for two main reasons (Lind & Tyler, 1988). First, procedural justice provides assurance that an individual's self-interest is protected over the long run. Fair procedures and treatment serve as an important sign of the decision maker's benevolence, honesty and neutrality (Lind, 1997). This process may be critical in board relationships, given that board members have diverse and often conflicting interests. Research suggests that when a particular decision is not in an individual's best self-interest, just procedures ensure the individual that, over time, he or she will receive what is due from the exchange relationship. Second, procedural justice is thought to be important to individuals because it affirms their status and value to the relationship, group or organization. This view is based on the assumption that people come to value and derive their identity from memberships in groups. Being treated with fairness, dignity, and respect are important to maintaining status in the group. Thus, the theory suggests that the personal relationship among board members will influence the flow of information and the way decisions are made. Procedural justice judgments are ...

Solution Summary

A procedural justice theory: A process theory about work motivation that focuses on employees' perception of the fairness of the procedures used to make decisions about the distribution of outcomes, This solution discusses the implications of transferring top users of sick leave to less busy firehouse companies from a procedural justice perspective.

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