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J Appl Psychol. 2013 Mar;98(2):199-236. doi: 10.1037/a0031757.

Justice at the millennium, a decade later: a meta-analytic test of social exchange and affect-based perspectives.

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1
Department of Management, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602, USA. colq@uga.edu

Abstract

Although a flurry of meta-analyses summarized the justice literature at the turn of the millennium, interest in the topic has surged in the decade since. In particular, the past decade has witnessed the rise of social exchange theory as the dominant lens for examining reactions to justice, and the emergence of affect as a complementary lens for understanding such reactions. The purpose of this meta-analytic review was to test direct, mediating, and moderating hypotheses that were inspired by those 2 perspectives, to gauge their adequacy as theoretical guides for justice research. Drawing on a review of 493 independent samples, our findings revealed a number of insights that were not included in prior meta-analyses. With respect to social exchange theory, our results revealed that the significant relationships between justice and both task performance and citizenship behavior were mediated by indicators of social exchange quality (trust, organizational commitment, perceived organizational support, and leader-member exchange), though such mediation was not apparent for counterproductive behavior. The strength of those relationships did not vary according to whether the focus of the justice matched the target of the performance behavior, contrary to popular assumptions in the literature, or according to whether justice was referenced to a specific event or a more general entity. With respect to affect, our results showed that justice-performance relationships were mediated by positive and negative affect, with the relevant affect dimension varying across justice and performance variables. Our discussion of these findings focuses on the merit in integrating the social exchange and affect lenses in future research.

PMID:
23458336
DOI:
10.1037/a0031757
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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