Study Finds the Presence of Organizational Justice Leads to Higher Quality Work Environment

Summary of:

Vance, M. “What’s really going on? Organizational justice and quality of workplace environment moderated by perceived supervisor support” (2020). Azusa Pacific University, ProQuest Dissertations Publishing, 1-36.

Background & Theory:

Past studies have defined organizational justice as the overall fairness of an organization divided into four categories: distributive justice, procedural justice, interpersonal justice, and informational justice. Distributive justice is the process of evaluating the institution and its systems in order to determine how they affect overall organizational and employee fairness. Procedural justice specifically focuses on the fair treatment in reaching the outcomes established by the organization. Some past studies claim that procedural justice is achieved when employees feel they are able to influence organizational decision-making processes. Interpersonal justice is focused on employee perception of fair treatment, support, and respect by leaders. Finally, informational justice can be defined as an organization’s ability to communicate clearly about their decisions and decision-making processes. This study focuses on the role of organizational justice and perceived supervisor support on how employees perceive their workplace environment quality.

Question(s):

Research was conducted by Megan N. Vance to answer the following questions:

    1. Does organizational justice predict quality of workplace environment?
    2. What role does perceived supervisor support play in this relationship?

Methods:

This study was conducted utilizing the data of 343 participants, all with either part-time or full-time work experience. These participants were asked to fill out a Likert-scale type survey with questions measuring workplace environment, organizational justice, and perceived supervisor support. Each of these measures were adapted from previous research studies.

Workplace environment was measured by collecting data about how participants felt about their work environment in general and specific aspects such as the physical space, the psychosocial aspect, stress-level, fatigue-level, and work-life balance. Organizational justice was measured by collecting data on the four elements of organizational justice: procedural justice, distributive justice, informational justice, and interpersonal justice. Perceived supervisor support was measured through various statements asking participants to rate their supervisor’s availability and consideration for them.

Results:

The results indicated that organizational justice does predict workplace environment quality. This means that employees who perceive they are being treated fairly in regards to decision-making, salary, interpersonal treatment, and clear communication rate their workplace as being of higher quality. This is similar to findings of previous research indicating that when the perception of organizational justice is high, employees have greater motivation to serve the organization well. This additionally is supported by research showing that employee perception of the organization makes a difference in their job satisfaction and commitment.

In regard to the role of supervisor support, the results showed that while perceived supervisor support was strongly correlated with organizational justice and workplace environment quality, it was not significant in the relationship between organizational justice and workplace environment quality. These results suggest that even if perceived supervisor support does not impact organizational justice, it still has a positive impact on workplace environment quality.

What We Can Learn:

Looking over this research, we can take away the following key insight:

  • Employees who feel a strong sense of organizational justice in their workplace are more likely to believe their workplace environment is of high-quality. While perceived supervisor support is not directly involved in this relationship, it does contribute positively to workplace environment quality.

Final Takeaways

For Consultants: Organizations facing a lot of workplace conflict or high employee turnover may benefit from analyzing how their sense of organizational justice is being perceived by employees.

For Everyone: If you feel like you are not being treated fairly in an organization in some way, it may beneficial to consider the role organizational justice plays in how you feel. It may be helpful to reach out to a conflict resolution consulting company to help improve your workplace environment.