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Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2019 Mar 4;16(5). pii: E790. doi: 10.3390/ijerph16050790.

The Synergistic Effects of Organizational Justice and Trust to Supervisor on Vagal Tone: Preliminary Findings of an Empirical Investigation.

Author information

1
Mannheim Institute of Public Health, Social and Preventive Medicine, Medical Faculty Mannheim, Heidelberg University, 68167 Mannheim, Germany. raphael.herr@medma.uni-heidelberg.de.
2
Institute of Occupational, Social and Environmental Medicine, Centre for Health and Society, Faculty of Medicine, Heinrich-Heine-University of Düsseldorf, 40225 Düsseldorf, Germany. raphael.herr@medma.uni-heidelberg.de.
3
Institute of Occupational, Social and Environmental Medicine, Centre for Health and Society, Faculty of Medicine, Heinrich-Heine-University of Düsseldorf, 40225 Düsseldorf, Germany. Jian.Li@uni-duesseldorf.de.
4
Department of Environmental Health Sciences, Fielding School of Public Health; School of Nursing, University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA. Jian.Li@uni-duesseldorf.de.
5
Institute of Occupational, Social and Environmental Medicine, Centre for Health and Society, Faculty of Medicine, Heinrich-Heine-University of Düsseldorf, 40225 Düsseldorf, Germany. Peter.Angerer@uni-duesseldorf.de.

Abstract

The influence of perceived unfairness at the workplace (organizational injustice) on employee health is well established. Several theories explain the unpleasant and stressful nature of the experience of injustice, using trust as a central element. This study examines the effect of trust to supervisor on the association of perceived injustice with vagal tone-an objective marker for stress experience. Questionnaires assessed organizational justice and trust. Vagal tone was measured by indictors of heart rate variability (HRV), which captured parasympathetic (pNN50, RMSSD, and HF) and parasympathetic and sympathetic (SDNN, and LF) regulation. Synergistic effects were tested by linear regressions with interaction terms between organizational justice and trust to supervisor in 38 managers. Organizational justice was related to HRV indicators that reflect in particular the parasympathetic branch (βpNN50 = 0.32, p < 0.05; βRMSSD = 0.27, p < 0.1), and interaction effects with trust to supervisor were also most pronounced there (interaction βpNN50 = -0.41, p < 0.01; βRMSSD = -0.47, p < 0.01). In conclusion, the combination of low perceived justice and trust to supervisor appears substantial to the physiological stress threat of employees. Promoting fairness at the workplace might reduce stress; if not possible, trust to supervisor should be enhanced.

KEYWORDS:

heart rate variability; organizational justice; synergistic effects; trust to supervisor; vagal tone

PMID:
30836704
PMCID:
PMC6427151
DOI:
10.3390/ijerph16050790
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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