Edited by Keith Townsend and Adrian Wilkinson
Chapter 19: Justice in the Twenty-first Century Organization
19 Justice in the twenty-first-century organization Jacqueline Coyle-Shapiro and Rashpal K. Dhensa INTRODUCTION Justice is a phenomenon which has attracted intellectual debate since antiquity, with perhaps one of the earliest accounts attributable to Socrates in Plato’s Republic. Colloquially, the term is synonymous with ‘oughtness’ or ‘righteousness’ (Colquitt et al., 2001, p. 425) and from the perspective of social science, the proliferating interest in the study of organizational justice has sought to delineate the psychology of individuals’ perceptions of fairness. Justice is considered to be socially constructed, with the focus of research on individuals’ subjective concerns about fairness (Cropanzano and Greenberg, 1997), capturing the extent to which individuals perceive the outcomes, procedures and interpersonal treatment they receive as fair. The notion of fairness is central to the study of the regulation of the employment relationship. At a basic level, the employment relationship captures an exchange of labour for income and inherent in this are fairness judgments. It is not surprising that justice issues are a driving concern in the field of industrial relations in the pursuit of a collective fair deal for employees. Further, injustice may provide the cornerstone to reinvigorate the field of industrial relations. As Kelly (1998) argues, ‘from the vantage point of mobilization theory, it is the perception of, and the response to, injustice that should form the core intellectual agenda for industrial relations’ (p. 126). Against this backdrop, our aims in this chapter are as follows: to trace the historical development of organizational justice; examine the effects...
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