Cultural Differences in Organization Research Paper

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What is perceived as fair in organizations has been a topic that has received an enormous amount of research attention as it has the potential to impact individual, group, and organizational outcomes. Due to increased intercultural interaction in recent years, cultural differences in perceptions of justice have gained an increased practical importance as well. This research-paper reviews relevant findings of organizational justice research in various fields such as industrial/organizational psychology, organizational behavior, human resource management, cross-cultural psychology, and international management in an attempt to identify and understand the influence of culture on human perceptions and behavior. The research-paper presents representative results of cross-cultural comparisons of the processes that mediate perceptions of justice and behavior in various cultures. Further, the theoretical and practical implications of these results for human resource management in organizations are discussed.

All the people like us are WE And everyone else is THEY And THEY live over the sea, While WE live over the way. But—would you believe it?— They look upon WE As only a sort of THEY.

—Rudyard Kipling

Within the past 3 decades, social and organizational scientists have paid an enormous amount of attention on the topic of organizational justice (for a review, see Colquitt, Conlon, Wesson, Porter, & Ng, 2001). Research on organizational justice examines fairness perceptions of employees in terms of how they are treated in the workplace. Psychologists are concerned with the behavioral and social consequences of fairness perceptions. The growth in this area of research is grounded on the notion that employee productivity is obtained at the cost of employee satisfaction. This assumption reflects underlying reciprocity principle: perceived fair treatment — job satisfaction — decision to reciprocate by the employee.

Let us first consider the process of perception in human beings before moving on to the topic of organizational perceptions. Perception is the process of receiving and interpreting information about the world through our senses. In the first place, employees are individuals who first learned to process information through the cultural lens to interpret the outside world. In doing so, individuals learn a certain way of perceiving and interpreting the behaviors of others around. Individuals in a given culture learn to behave (think, feel, and act) according to the norms established in that culture. This tendency to use the cultural lens to interpret the world, learned patterns of behaving and expecting others to behave in a particular manner is what cross-cultural researchers refer to as ethnocentrism. Ethnocentrism is a natural and inevitable consequence of socialization in a given culture. Individuals, because of socialization, learn many rules about how to behave. These rules form the foundation of culture. By the time an individual enters adulthood and enters the workplace, he or she has internalized the rules of behavior. Another related definition of ethnocentrism suggests a tendency to judge people of other groups according to the standards of one’s own in-group or culture. Scholars have identified two forms of ethnocentrism: (a) Flexible ethnocentrism lends one to add on to one’s cultural filters and helps one to see things from different perspectives, and (b) inflexible ethnocentrism, on the other hand, refers to the inability to go beyond one’s own cultural filters while interpreting the behavior of others. Ethnocentrism is often referred to in negative terms and not as a normal aspect of everyday psychological functioning. Some degree of ethnocentrism is necessary for maintaining social order and cohesion. There would not be any reason to observe norms, to obey laws of society, or to work harmoniously with others if not for the implicit positive evaluation of ways of one’s own culture. If ethnocentrism is inevitable and a natural consequence of enculturation, it could be a potential source of intercultural conflicts as well. Ethnocentrism has also been reported to lead to stereotypes and prejudices. The role of emotion, self, and values in the formation of ethnocentrism has also been well attested. When there is a discrepancy between reality and one’s expectations based on culture the result may likely be negative emotions. Whereas what is being perceived matches one’s expectations positive emotions and attitudes (e.g., job satisfaction) follow.

In organizational contexts, managers make several decisions that directly or indirectly impact the employees—hiring, promotion, budget allocation, and so forth. Research on organizational justice or fairness perceptions support that positive fairness perception is related to several outcomes including employee loyalty and events or decisions perceived as unfair will have a negative impact on employee behavior including retaliatory behavior, theft, and rule breaking (Skarlicki, 2001). Further, research findings point out that the individual perceptions of fairness and their behavioral consequences in turn affect group or division level performance, which in turn casts an influence upon the overall organization as measured by organizational performance and competitive advantage. Social and behavioral scientists have begun to investigate whether these concepts have international implications. Multinational corporations continue to seek competitive advantage through global diversity and this trend calls for cross-cultural research with the hope that it can help businesses generate new competitive advantages. Examining fairness perceptions and investigating the cross-cultural differences and similarities in how people respond to perceived fair/unfair treatment is a timely and important topic for 21st-century management.

Organizational justice is a behavioral science concept that refers to the perception of fairness of the past treatment of the employees. . . . It is a subjective personal view of justice, based upon experience, rather than an objective moral determination of justice based upon principle. (Hosmer & Kiewitz, 2005, p. 67)

Justice analysis generally centers around four central questions:

(1) What do individuals and collectivities think is just and why? (2) How do ideas of justice shape determination of actual situation? (3) What is the magnitude of the perceived injustice associated with given departures from perfect justice? (4) What are the behavioral and social consequences of perceived justice/injustice? (Jasso, 2005, p. 15)

Western justice theorists have held that justice indicates whether employees are valued and respected members of an organization. Management by rewarding employees consistent with their performance acknowledges that employees are valued and recognized (Fischer & Smith, 2004). Social scientists have shown less interest in knowing what justice “really is” and more interest in describing individual perceptions of fairness attempting to assess what people perceive as fair and how they respond to perceived unfairness. For this reason, a vast majority of research studies on organizational justice or perceived fairness have examined either the direct effects of individual differences (e.g., personality) or other contextual factors (e.g., organizational structure). Please note that throughout the rest of the research-paper the terms fairness and justice are used synonymously.

Perceptions of organizational fairness have been found to influence several important outcomes at individual, group, and organizational levels. At the individual level, it affects attitudes like employee job satisfaction, commitment, and behaviors that include in-role performance and extrarole behavior. At the group level, fair perceptions can indirectly influence the morale of the group and its performance. Studies have repeatedly shown that there is a relationship between perceived injustice and counterproductive behavior and negative organizational outcomes. However, there are still several unanswered questions regarding the antecedents and consequences of justice perceptions.

Although human perception is influenced by (a) the characteristics of (b) the perceived, (c) the characteristics of the perceiver, and (d) the characteristics of the situation, much research attention has been directed at the characteristics of the perceiver and the situation in organizational justice research due to the potential interaction effects and consequences at various levels. This research-paper presents key and representative findings in organizational justice research as outlined in the conceptual model presented in Figure 22.1. This model depicts the relationship of perceived fairness to various individual, group, and organizational outcomes.

This research-paper reviews relevant findings of organizational justice research in various fields of research including industrial/organizational psychology, human resource management, organizational behavior, cross-cultural psychology, and international management in an attempt to identify and understand the influence of culture on human perceptions and behavior in organizational contexts.

cultural-differences-in-perceptions-of-fairness-in-organizational-contexts-research-paper-f1Figure 22.1 Conceptual Model of the Relationship of Perceived Fairness to Its Antecedents and Consequences

Organizational Justice Research

The genesis of fairness perceptions construct lies in the tenets of Adams’s (1965) equity theory. Organizational justice is the overarching theoretical concept that deals with fair treatment of people in organizations. Most current research and thinking on this topic follows the theoretical framework suggested by Colquitt et al. (2001). Current research acknowledges the existence of three types of fairness perceptions or organizational justice: (a) distributive justice, which deals with the fairness regarding how outcomes are distributed; (b) procedural justice, which deals with the fairness regarding the procedure(s) adopted to distribute outcomes; and (c) interactional justice, which deals with how individual employees are treated in an organization.

Interactional justice, further, has been found to have two components: (1) interpersonal and (2) informational. Interpersonal justice refers to perceptions of treating people with respect and dignity. Informational justice refers to the fairness in timely, complete, and accurate information distribution.

As what is perceived as fair or just is inherently norm-based, culture and internalized values play a significant role in shaping expectations and fairness perceptions. As cultures prescribe norms and values for its members, it would be interesting to see cross-cultural differences in perceived fairness at all three justice levels.

Role Of Culture In Shaping Fairness Perceptions And Behavior

One’s culture may influence or mediate the relationship between events occurring in work life and its perceived fairness. Some theorists have recently advocated the importance of using organizational justice as a lens through

which to examine different national cultures (Greenberg, 2001). An important question that needs to be addressed is the generalizability of the findings about organizational justice that are based on one culture. From a theoretical point of view, exploring cultural similarity and differences in justice constructs will contribute to the comprehensiveness and universality of justice theories. “From a practical perspective, cross-cultural research can assist managers of multicultural organizations, as well as managers of a culturally diverse workforce within one country, to understand how organizational policies and their implementation impact employees’ perceptions of fairness” (Skarlicki, 2001, p. 292). The study of justice perceptions will be incomplete without understanding the differences in national culture. The notion that nations have identifiable cultures that can influence how business is conducted in that nation became a topic of interest through the research work of Hofstede (2001). His approach in studying employees’ work-related values represents an evolution in the field’s understanding of organizational culture. Much of what we understand about corporate culture and work-related values today is based on the results of his seminal work studying employees at International Business Machines (IBM). He conducted a series of research studies and compiled altogether the data collected from 50 different countries using 20 different languages and more than 116,000 employees ranging seven different occupational levels. The results indicated reliable and meaningful differences among nations as measured through the responses to the attitude and opinion surveys. Hofstede identified four major cultural dimensions that can be used to explain cross-cultural differences. They include the following:

Power Distance

Power distance is the extent to which less powerful members expect and accept unequal distribution of power. In other words, it is the degree to which a culture encourages and maintains power and status differentials. The United States scored relatively low on power distance, and Malaysia scored highest on power distance. In Hofstede’s (2001) original study, Philippines, Mexico, Venezuela, and India scored high on this dimension. New Zealand, Denmark, Israel, and Austria scored lowest, suggesting that these countries work at minimizing status and power differentials. This key factor may affect justice perceptions as managers in high power distance cultures are seen as making decisions autocratically and paternalistically, whereas managers in low power distance cultures are indulging extensively in adopting participative management on important decisions they take.

Cultures high on power distance foster organizations with greater centralization of organization and process, taller organizational pyramids, larger proportions of supervisory personnel, larger wage differentials, lower qualifications for lower strata of employees, and greater valuation of white-collar as opposed to blue-collar jobs. (Matsumoto & Juang, 2004, p. 435)

Individualism-Collectivism

Individualism-collectivism is a philosophy that expresses how individuals are related to a group. Individualism refers to the belief that individuals in a society take care of themselves and their family members. Collectivism is the belief that individuals an integral part of the society whose primary concern is the collective group. As a result, individuals form perceptions of independent self (in individualistic cultures) or interdependent self (in collectivistic cultures). The United States scores high on individualism compared to all other nations. This is a very important dimension in organizational contexts, as collectivistic cultures value and foster compliance with organizational policies and expect conformity to the group/unit. In Hofstede’s (2001) study, the United States, Australia, Great Britain, and Canada scored high on individualism. Peru, Pakistan, Colombia, and Venezuela were found to score high on collectivism. People from individualistic cultures tend to make clear distinctions between their personal time and company/work time. Members in individualistic cultures value freedom and autonomy in structuring their work, they seek challenge, and initiative is encouraged at work. On the contrary, desiring to be independent, seeking freedom, and seeking initiative are frowned upon in collectivistic cultures.

Masculinity-Femininity

Masculinity-femininity refers to how far gender roles are distinct in a society. Countries scoring high on masculinity expect individuals to be instrumental and goal oriented, whereas countries high on femininity stand for a society in which social gender roles overlap. Japan, Austria, Venezuela, and Italy scored highest on masculinity. The United States is more masculine than feminine. Denmark, Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden scored lowest and had the fewest differences between gender roles. Gender equity at workplace is a concern for more feminine cultures. Many American work organizations are still in transition toward achieving this challenge. Masculine cultures expect managers to value leadership, independence, and self-realization, whereas feminine cultures places less importance on these aspects. They also regard earnings, recognition, and achievement as more important when compared to feminine cultures. Job stress is found to be high in organizations that operate in highly masculine cultures.

Uncertainty Avoidance

Uncertainty avoidance is the extent to which individuals in one culture feel threatened by uncertain or unknown events and situations. Cultures high on uncertainty avoidance develop highly refined rules and rituals to cope with or avoid uncertainty. In Hofstede’s (2001) research, Greece, Portugal, Belgium, and Japan scored high on this dimension. Those cultures high on uncertainty avoidance are found to be associated with higher degree of job stress

than cultures that are low on this dimension are. Countries scoring low on this dimension are less concerned with rules and rituals. The United States scored very low in uncertainty avoidance. Sweden, Denmark, and Singapore scored lowest on this dimension. These cultures are found to encourage individuals to be risk takers and to be entrepreneurial.

Hofstede’s (2001) research has influenced how we think about culture and its consequences on conducting business in different nations. However, critics of Hofstede’s work argue that national culture differences need not necessarily manifest in organizational culture. Another concern is that focusing on national averages can downplay the variability among individuals in a nation. Nevertheless, Hofstede’s work has had a major impact on subsequent research and practice in the field. Organizations, in order to be successful, take into consideration these differences while structuring work, rules, and their policies.

Cross-Cultural Justice Research

Cross-cultural researchers have studied people’s reactions to resource allocation outcomes (distributive justice), processes through which allocation decisions are made (procedural justice), and perceptions of fairness in interpersonal treatment they received (interactional justice). In most of the early work in cross-cultural justice research, culture was equated to country differences. In other words, most of the early studies were essentially cross-country studies. The major assumption adopted being people in one country share similar culture. Culture has also been captured through dimensions of values (e.g., individualism-collectivism). Scientists have also tried to adopt a more functional approach to understand organizational culture by studying employees’ work-related values. People from different cultural backgrounds bring to work different values. These similarities and differences in value orientations related to work can be a source of growth or conflict. There has been a recent trend to focus more on specific value dimensions and other contextual factors. The following section provides a review of research conducted on justice perceptions with a cross-cultural or cross-national focus. Please note that an attempt has been made to present representative and key findings and, by no means, is this review comprehensive or exhaustive.

Perceived Fairness: Distributive Justice

Organizations make several decisions on distributing rewards and allocating resources using one of three distribution rules—equity, equality, or need based. Research findings support certain national preferences to use one distribution rule over others. It has been generally supported that while Americans prefer equity, people from Japan and Netherlands prefer equality, and people from India perceive need based distribution as more favorable. Cross-cultural researchers have attempted to identify variables that could help explain these differences and value differences have emerged as one of the leading factors in providing such explanations.

Fischer and Smith (2004) using Schwartz’s value survey studied reactions of full-time employees to performance versus seniority-based reward allocation in the United Kingdom and Germany. Two bipolar value dimensions of Schwartz’s value survey include openness to change versus conservation and self-enhancement versus self-transcendence. Openness to change comprises of motivational types of self-direction, stimulation, and hedonism; conservation comprises of security, conformity, and tradition value types. Employees valuing conservation over openness to change are motivated by their belief in social order, obedience to authorities, and acceptance of their position in the organizational hierarchy. On the other hand, employees valuing openness to change are more likely to focus on justice. Self-enhancement values include power and achievement (even at others expense), and self-transcendence values include a motivation to transcend selfish concerns. Those sampled valuing self-enhancement reacted more positively to decisions based on work performance and seniority. The study results also indicate that employees endorsing openness to change values reported a stronger relationship between perceived fairness and organizational commitment. They also reported more compliant behavior, which goes above and beyond formal role descriptions (also known as extrarole behavior or organizational citizenship behavior).

There is also growing evidence that values measured with the Schwartz’s value survey do predict individual behaviors. Managers with conservation values are more likely to use avoiding-conflict management style whereas self-enhancement values are related to forcing, competing, and dominating behavioral tendencies. Most research work on distributive justice explores individual response to a resource allocation decisions. However, some researchers have inquired into what factors decision makers consider while making an allocation decision. A study by Johansson, Gustafsson, Olsson, Gârling (2007) on allocation decisions identified three salient factors: self-interest, third-party fairness, and efficiency of resource allocation. The study concluded that decision makers overuse resources when fairness was a concern. Ramamoorthy and Flood (2004) researched gender-related pay disparity by studying Irish manufacturing organizations and found that gender moderated the relationships between distributive justice perceptions and affective commitment. The concerns of gender differences in pay need to be tested in different national context.

In a more recent work by Fischer et al. (2007), researchers focused on the social and economic context in distribution of organizational resources in studying employee perceptions of allocation decisions made by their supervisor. They studied the relationship of national values and economic and organizational factors across six nations and reported differences in reward allocation principles based on equity, equality, and need in work organizations across Germany, United Kingdom, New Zealand, United States, and Brazil. All of these findings support the notion that values act as guiding principles in determining an individual’s perceptions of events, behaviors, and situations.

Perceived Fairness: Procedural Justice

Researchers have studied fairness perceptions regarding processes or procedures managers use in allocating rewards and relevant outcomes. People hold expectations about what is a fair procedure in a given situation. It appears that beliefs about fairness are universal in nature (Greenberg, 2001). Examples of events related to procedural justice perceptions include performance appraisal, employee selection, and allocation of funding, to name a few. The primary goal of procedural justice research has been to explain why procedural justice matters. Very little attention has been given to studying the range of concerns that procedural justice encompasses or its definition. Researchers have found procedural justice, among all the three types of organizational justice, to be most closely related to organizational attitudes and behavior.

Leventhal (1980) proposed six criteria for evaluation of procedural justice and suggested that procedural fairness perception can be fostered by adhering to the following procedural rules: (a) consistency, (b) bias suppression, (c) accuracy, (d) correctability, (e) representativeness, and (f) ethicality. Perceptions of procedural justice have been found to be linked to various individual-level outcomes namely organizational citizenship behavior (OCB) or those extrarole behaviors that go above and beyond “the call of duty” (Kamdar, McAllister, & Turban, 2006) as well as organizational commitment (Fedor, Caldwell, & Herold, 2006). Fischer and Smith (2006) studied British and German organizations and found that value orientations of employees influenced the effects of perceived procedural fairness on organizational commitment, on self-reported compliant, and on proactive aspects of extrarole behavior. When employees perceive fairness of the process behind an outcome, they generally tend to have higher organizational commitment, greater trust and supervisory commitment. Studies with social-exchange interpretation of the justice-OCB relation-ship found that trust and organizational support mediate the effects of procedural justice on OCB. Employees having positive justice perceptions feel valued and respected and consider supervisors as more trustworthy. Yet another set of researchers considered employee role definition effects on OCB. Further research is warranted to uncover the extent to which the effects of role definition reflect social exchange versus impression management tactics.

Riolli and Savicki (2006) reported that lower procedural justice perception is predictive of higher burnout, strain, and turnover. Procedural justice was found positively related to organizational commitment and negatively related to resistance and turnover intentions. It has also been suggested that even when the employee does not perceive the fairness of outcome (distributive justice), if the procedure is perceived as fair employees react more favorably toward the decision. Yet another study indicates that procedural justice perceptions are highly predictive of attitudes and behaviors especially when outcomes are perceived as unfair (Hershcovis et al. 2007).

Very few studies have systematically examined the role of contextual variables in cross-cultural studies on fairness perceptions. Prior research indicates that decentralized organizations are perceived as more procedurally fair. There is also evidence that suggests that the degree of power distance in a culture will influence the rigidness of rules, regulations, and policies in organizations that operate in that culture. In a study by Ambrose and Schminke (2003), organizational structure was found to influence social-exchange relationship with organization and supervisor. Social exchange was operationalized as perceived organizational support and supervisory trust. Organizational structure was measured in their study in terms of the degree to which the departments reflected mechanistic or organic characteristics. Mechanistic structures are more rigid and tight. They reflect traditional bureaucracies where power is centralized, formal rules and regulations influence decisions, and communications follow clear hierarchical channels. In contrast, and on the other end of the continuum, organic organizations reflect flexibility and have decentralized structures where communication channels are less clear and rules and regulations take a backseat to helping employees reach their goals. For example, if it takes a manager to pay salary upfront to a subordinate to help attend a personal emergency, it would be rule breaking for an organization where employees get paid at the end of every month. (Some researchers refer to this as prosocial rule breaking, and they have begun to show research attention on this evolving concept.) As expected, Ambrose and Schminke found that the relationship between procedural justice and perceived organizational support is higher in mechanistic organizations. On the other hand, organic organizations were found to have higher interactional justice as observed through higher supervisory support.

Recently, the concept of “procedural justice climate,” which refers to group-level cognition of how a group as a whole is treated in an organization, was introduced. Subsequently, results of cross-level analyses indicated that these aggregate procedural justice perceptions explained unique variance in behavior beyond individual procedural fairness perceptions. In another study, organizational procedural justice climate was found to moderate the effect of organizational variables like power and status on victim’s revenge, forgiveness, reconciliation, or avoidance behavior (Aquino, Tripp, & Bies, 2006). Colquitt (2004) investigated reactions to procedural justice in teams and the results of two studies suggest that when fairness was perceived consistent within the team employees exhibited higher levels of role performance. These results extend the study of procedural justice perceptions to another level.

Procedural justice plays an important role in cooperative alliances where fair procedural justice perceptions can serve as a foundation for the relationship between the exchange parties (Luo, 2005). Analysis of 124 cross-cultural alliances in China lends support to this proposition. It was found that alliance profitability is higher when both parties have high justice perceptions. Luo also identified that shared justice perceptions become more salient when the cultural distance between alliance partners is high or when the industry of operation is uncertain.

Perceived Fairness: Interactional Justice

Interactional justice is a relatively newer concept compared to the other two organizational justice perceptions. This type of justice perception occurs when employees perceive that they are treated well in the organization. Two identified types of interactional justice are informational and interpersonal justice. Showing concern for employees and treating them with politeness, respect, and dignity have been studied under interpersonal justice. Apologies have also been seen to demonstrate interpersonal justice. Informational justice perceptions occur when employees are provided timely, complete, and accurate information about the various information including policies and procedures in an organization.

A few researchers have suggested that treating an employee fairly is just not enough to increase performance; managers or leaders should also consider the fair treatment of other members in the team (Colquitt, 2004). Researchers have identified several characteristics of leader-member exchanges (LMXs) and their outcomes. Erdogan, Liden, and Kraimer (2006) studied teachers from high schools in Turkey, and the dimension respect for people was found to strengthen the relationship between interactional justice and LMXs. This would mean that the type of leader behavior that lead to liking and trust will lead to high-quality social exchange relationship. By a clear understanding of high-quality exchange relationship, organizations can foster desirable employee attitude and behavior. The relationship between interactional justice and supervisory trust was found to be stronger in organic organizations. Williams, Pitre, and Zainuba (2002) identified that interactional justice perceptions were related to the intentions to engage in OCB.

Aryee, Chen, Sun, and Debrah (2007) attempted to study the antecedents of abusive supervision and work outcomes of affective organizational commitment and citizenship behavior at organizational and individual levels. Subordinate-supervisor dyads from a telecommunication company from China served as subjects for this study. Results pointed out that authoritarian leadership style moderated the relationship of interactional justice (supervisors’ perception) and abusive supervision.

Moliner, Martinez-Tur, Peiro, Ramos, and Cropanzano (2005) investigated interactional justice perceptions by considering the relationship between unit-level interactional justice perceptions and unit-level burnout. Quality of the relationship with supervisor was found to influence burnout experiences. The study findings emphasized the predominant role of interactional justice at the unit level.

The implications of these findings for practice include training of managers could promote interpersonal treatment and thereby maintaining well-being of team members.

There is a general agreement in the justice perceptions literature that fairness lies in the eye of the beholder. Based on Adams’s (1965) equity theory propositions, if employees perceive a discrepancy between actual outcomes earned and expected outcomes this inequity perception may influence employee behavior. According to equity theory propositions, individuals make their judgments about what they bring to situations and compare it to a referent other. Fairness is perceived if one is perceived to receive better outcomes (rewards, treatments, etc.) and input (one’s education, experience, skills, etc.) compared to that of the referent other. This would mean that equity comparisons are subjective judgments and the organization will have less direct control over it. Some researchers have asserted that certain individual differences (e.g., personality) moderate the effects of justice perceptions on job attitudes and subsequent behavior. The role of personality agreeableness, openness to experience, and test-taking self-efficacy were identified with perceived fairness. Most of the studies that examined the relationship of justice perceptions and its role in influencing employees approached the justice reactions from a rather cold cognitive response perspective. However, Barsky and Kaplan (2007) suggested examining a hot perspective would be more appropriate in studying work-related social judgments. These researchers focused on individuals’ emotions (temperament and mood) in shaping justice perceptions. These researchers argued that when employees make judgments about events at workplaces under uncertainty and incomplete information employees rely on their feelings to make judgments. The study looks at state and trait affect, which are theorized to affect job attitudes (job satisfaction, job commitment, etc.) largely through separate mechanisms. The results show that state and trait affect relates to judgments of distributive, procedural, and interactional justice perceptions.

Suggestions For Future Research

Future justice studies of cross-cultural nature should focus on evolving a comprehensive theory identifying precursors and consequences of perceived fairness at different levels of analysis. Future research could benefit by exploring possible antecedents like perceived breach in psychological contracts. Organizational and international interventions should explicitly consider the role of culture and its fit to practices in improving fairness perceptions and creating a fair work environment.

Summary

The term fairness has meaning and relevance that transcends employee perceptions in an organizational context.

As organizations continue to excel in serving the global world with the needed products and services, it is imperative that we are mindful of the dynamic cultural aspects that come into play. There is growing consensus among international management researchers and practitioners that there is no such thing as universal management solution. Cultural differences, by shaping job attitudes and behavior, necessitate the need for identifying a fit between a given culture and practice. Management practices developed in one culture need not necessarily be successful in another culture. For example, empowerment initiatives, a very popular one in the United States, failed to yield positive results when exported to cultures where people are not expected to take initiative as a cultural norm. Available cross-cultural/cross-national research emphasizes the role of culture in shaping employee attitudes and behavior by forming a framework to assess fairness perceptions of rules, policies, allocation decisions, procedures, events, interactions, treatment, and so forth that they come across in an organizational setting. The national-level or societal-level culture will influence the organizational culture, which will in turn impact managerial practices and organizational effectiveness. As many organizations go global in the 21st century, leaders and managers should nurture a work environment/organizational culture in which employees thrive and reach optimal performance. Cross-cultural research should be conducted with a focus on both theory development and theory testing as it applies to different cultures to identify and explain different meanings of justice around the world. Given the continued and growing interest in fairness perceptions and its effect on employee attitudes and behavior, creating a framework to study the cross-cultural implications of justice perceptions on individual, group, and organizational levels and beyond is a relevant and timely topic for both researchers and practitioners of the 21st century management.

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