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The University of Southampton

Procedural Fairness as Self-Affirmation

Claire M. Hart
Psychology Unit, University of Southampton, UK

We propose that procedural fairness acts as self-affirmation. We test and support this proposition in seven experiments. Procedural fairness (vs. unfairness) served as a buffer against or a resource for organizationally-relevant threat (i.e., salary restrictions, commuting time, price increases at work) and personally-relevant threat (i.e., negative performance feedback on an IQ test). Procedural fairness did so by increasing participants’ respect and mood as organizational members. Heightened respect and mood, in turn, mediated the effect of procedural fairness on organisational allure (i.e., organisational attitude, organisational identification, organisational commitment). The self-affirmatory potential of procedural fairness may explain its impact on organisational or group life.

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