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J Appl Psychol. 2009 Jan;94(1):142-61. doi: 10.1037/a0013108.

When do fair procedures not matter? A test of the identity violation effect.

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University of Central Florida, Department of Management, College of Business Administration, USA.


Considerable research has demonstrated that fair procedures help improve reactions to decisions, a phenomenon known as the fair process effect. However, in the present research, the authors identify when and why objectively fair procedures (i.e., receiving voice) may not always improve justice perceptions. Findings from 2 studies (Ns = 108 and 277) yield support for the proposed identity violation effect, which posits that when an outcome violates a central aspect of one's self (i.e., personal and/or social identity), objectively fair procedures do not improve procedural and distributive justice perceptions. Further, consistent with the motivated reasoning hypothesis, the Voice x Identity Violation interaction on justice perceptions was mediated by participants' tendency to find a procedural flaw--namely, to doubt that opinions were considered before making the decision. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2009 APA, all rights reserved).

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