This article was written by Olivia Olivarius, Acting Head of Insights and Jenny Robinson, Senior Behaviour Scientist at the FSCB.
Line managers are experiencing multiple challenges arising from the post-pandemic evolution in working models1. Discussions at a FSCB member roundtable2 indicate that many line managers have been faced with making difficult decisions around how to implement organisational policies on flexibility in working locations, hours and work patterns.
Research suggests that when it comes to returning to the office, there is a mismatch between employee and employer preferences and employees have been complaining of a lack of consultation3. Clearly it is a challenge for any organisation to develop a policy that meets the requirements of teams – one size does not fit all4. So, how can hard-pressed line managers make decisions that are fair to employees?
The FSCB believes that help to address this issue lies in the concept of Organisational Justice, as highlighted in our Future of Workplaces Report5.
Organisational Justice – What is it and why is it important?
Organisational justice refers to employees’ perceptions of social and interpersonal fairness within their workplace6. These perceptions influence attitudes and behaviours, which can subsequently impact outcomes such as, such innovation7, increased learning behaviour8, organisational trust9, ethical behaviour10, organisational commitment11 and work performance12. Unjust organisational environments have been linked with workplace disruption, sabotage, vandalism13, increased absenteeism14, moral disengagement (when employees depart from restraint from behaving unethically)15, burnout16 and heavy drinking17.
Types of organisational justice
There are 4 types of perceived fairness within organisational settings:
- distributive justice – this is the perception of the fairness of decision outcomes, such as promotion opportunities, pay, positive performance appraisals
- procedural justice – this is the perception of fairness within the processes that lead to outcomes, for example performance calibration or procedures for allocating promotional opportunities
- interpersonal justice – this is the perception (positive or negative) of interpersonal interactions and treatments during the decision-making process
- information justice – relates to perception of adequacy, reasonableness and honesty of the explanations given to justify a decision
How can line managers affect employee perceptions of fairness in evolving working models?
When it comes to new working models, creating a climate of fairness is a top priority. By taking insights from the concept of organisational justice, this can support managers to navigate the practical implementation of evolving working models within their teams.
Getting hybrid working policies and procedures right will be an iterative process for most organisations. FSCB is an expert in supporting organisations to implement (and evaluate) evidence- based interventions to address a range of organisational challenges, including those related to hybrid working.
1 https://financialservicescultureboard.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/Future-of-Workplaces-Summary-Report.pdf2 https://financialservicescultureboard.org.uk/fscb-non-member-summary-future-of-workplaces-now-roundtable-and-member– knowledge-exchange/
4 Davis, M.C., Hughes, H.P.N., Rees, S.J., Wu, C., Gritt, E., Collis, C., & Fang, L. (2022) Where is your office today? A research-led guide to effective hybrid working. Leeds, UK: University of Leeds.
5 https://financialservicescultureboard.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/Future-of-Workplaces-Summary-Report.pdf 6 Greenberg, J. (1987). A taxonomy of organizational justice theories. The Academy of Management Review, 12(1), 9. https://doi.org/10.2307/257990
7 Simmers, C. A., & McMurray, A. J. (2019). Organisational justice and managing workplace innovation: How important are formal procedures? International Journal of Innovation Management, 23(03), 1–6. https://doi.org/10.1142/s1363919619500269
Pan, X., Chen, M., Hao, Z., & Bi, W. (2018). The effects of organizational justice on positive organizational behavior: Evidence from a large- sample survey and a situational experiment. Frontiers in Psychology, 8, 1–16. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2017.02315
8 Walumbwa, F. O., Cropanzano, R., & Hartnell, C. A. (2009). Organizational justice, voluntary learning behavior, and job performance: A test of the mediating effects of identification and leader-member exchange. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 30(8), 1103–1126. https://doi.org/10.1002/job.611
9 Niazi, A. and Hassan, H., (2016) Effect of justice on employee performance in the banking sector of Pakistan. Pakistan Journal of Commerce and Social Sciences (PJCSS), 10(3), pp.735-752.
10 Pan, X., Chen, M., Hao, Z., & Bi, W. (2018). The effects of organizational justice on positive organizational behavior: Evidence from a large-sample survey and a situational experiment. Frontiers in Psychology, 8, 1–16. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2017.02315
11 Pan, X., Chen, M., Hao, Z., & Bi, W. (2018). The effects of organizational justice on positive organizational behavior: Evidence from a large-sample survey and a situational experiment. Frontiers in Psychology, 8, 1–16. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2017.02315 Keyvanar, M., Shahpouri, S. and Oreyzi, H.R. (2014) Relationship among organizational justice, work engagement and positive organizational behavior of nurses via mediation of their personal career goals. Iran Journal of Nursing, 27(88), pp.22-33.
12 Pan, X., Chen, M., Hao, Z., & Bi, W. (2018). The effects of organizational justice on positive organizational behavior: Evidence from a large-sample survey and a situational experiment. Frontiers in Psychology, 8, 1–16. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2017.02315
13 Ambrose, M.L., Seabright, M.A. and Schminke, M., (2002) Sabotage in the workplace: The role of organizational injustice. Organizational behavior and human decision processes, 89(1), pp.947-965.
14 Mingzheng, W., Xiaoling, S., Xubo, F. and Youshan, L., (2014) Moral identity as a moderator of the effects of organizational injustice on counterproductive work behavior among Chinese public servants. Public Personnel Management, 43(3), pp.314-324.
15 Beunza, D., (2019) Taking the Floor. In Taking the Floor. Princeton University Press.
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17 Kouvonen, A., Kivimäki, M., Elovainio, M., Väänänen, A., De Vogli, R., Heponiemi, T., Linna, A., Pentti, J. and Vahtera, J., (2008) Low organisational justice and heavy drinking: a prospective cohort study. Occupational and environmental medicine, 65(1), pp.44-50.
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