Organizational Justice


“Organizational justice refers to whether or not decision- making procedures are consistently applied, correctable, ethical, and include input from affected parties (procedural justice). It also refers to respectful, considerate and fair treatment of people by supervisors (relational justice).26

Organizational justice research has been developed from equity theory,27 which considers the ratio of input and output, and compares that proportion with those of referent others. If this comparison leads a worker to believe that his or her situation is inequitable, the worker is motivated to reduce that inequity by reducing input, increasing output or changing the referent others.

These personal assessments are reinforced by strong social norms about fairness. Research has shown that perceived justice is associated with people’s feelings and behaviors in social interactions, and that low organizational justice is an important psychosocial predictor of employees’ health in modern workplaces.28 For example, evaluations of low justice have been related to negative emotional reactions,29 which in turn have been associated with unhealthy patterns of cardiovascular and immunological responses and certain health problems.30″

C Muntaner, J Benach, W C Hadden, D Gimeno and F G Benavides, A glossary for the social epidemiology of work organisation: Part 1, Terms from social psychologyJ. Epidemiol. Community Health 2006;60;914-916 doi:10.1136/jech.2004.032631



In a Finnish study of metal factory workers examining the relationship between work stress and the risk of death from cardiovascular disease using the the effort-reward imbalance model (as well as the job strain model), those reporting low supervisor support were 64% more likely to develop heart disease over 25 years. 

 The study followed 812 employees from 1973 – 2001. Increased risks were seen after adjusting for age, gender, standard risk factors such as cholesterol, high blood pressure, and smoking, and job strain and effort-reward imbalance. The study positively concluded that high job strain and effort-reward imbalance seem to increase the risk of cardiovascular mortality. 



26 Kivimaki M, Elovainio M, Vahtera J, et al. Association between organizational inequity and incidence of psychiatric disorders in female employees. Psychol Med 2003;33:319–26.

27 Adams JS. Inequity in social exchange. In: Berkowitz L, eds. Advances in experimental social psychology. Vol 2. New York: Academic Press,1965;267–99.

28 Elovainio M, Kivimaki M, Vahtera J. Organizational justice: evidence of a new psychosocial predictor of health. Am J Public Health 2002;92:105–8.

29 Weiss HM, Suckow K, Cropanzano R. Effects of justice conditions on discrete emotions. J Appl Psychol 1999;84:786–94.

30 Beehr TA. Psychological stress in the workplace. London: Routledge, 1995.

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