Perceptions of injustice and dispositions for change in the workplace

About this Session


Thu. 11.04. 17:05



Authors – Monica Michelle Gerber, Cristobal Moya.

Abstract :

How do individuals react to injustices in the workplace? And why do injustices not consistently result in individuals’ involvement in collective action? Bridging research on the psychology of collective action and procedural justice theory, this study delves into the impact of procedural injustice on employees’ inclinations towards normative actions (e.g., collectively engaging in dialogue with supervisors) and non-normative actions (e.g., participating in non-regulated strikes) aimed at effecting change in the workplace. We turn to the SIMCA model to understand the reasons why procedural injustice will have an effect on collective action participation. The SIMCA model typically considers grievances, group identification, and perceived collective efficacy as key predictors of the engagement in collective action. We hypothesize that perceived procedural injustice will intensify grievances (captured by anger). Simultaneously, it is anticipated that procedural injustice will diminish employees’ identification with the organization, because under unjust conditions identification ceases to exert a positive impact on individuals’ self-concept. Furthermore, procedural injustice is expected to diminish perceived collective efficacy, serving as an indicator to individuals that effecting change becomes less feasible. We present findings from two probability-based surveys (n1 = 850 and n2 = 1,000) representative of employees in Chile. Employing Structural Equation Modeling we explore the indirect effects of perceived procedural injustice on individuals’ proclivities towards social change. Notably, our results reveal complex effects with the impact of procedural injustice manifesting in opposing directions. On the one hand, we observe positive indirect effects of procedural injustice on dispositions for change, mediated by heightened anger and diminished identification with the organization. Conversely, we also identify a negative indirect effect of procedural injustice on dispositions for change, this time mediated by diminished perceived efficacy of collective action. In conclusion, this study underscores the intricate and sometimes paradoxical effects of procedural injustice on collective action participation. Our findings contribute to a nuanced understanding of the relationship between perceived injustice, employee dispositions, and workplace activism. We conclude by highlighting the potential contributions of bridging procedural justice theory with the social psychology of collective action, offering valuable insights into our comprehension of collective action engagement.