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Is All Injustice Created Equal? Explor ing the Effects of Decision Outcome and Procedural Justice on Reactions to Injustice by Gabriel E. Lopez Rivas A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of the Arts Department of Psychology College of Arts and Sciences University of South Florida Co-Major Professor: Michael Brannick, Ph.D. Co-Major Professor: Russ Johnson, Ph. D. Stephen Stark, Ph. D. Sandra Schneider, Ph. D. Date of Approval: May19, 2007 Keywords: emotion, retaliation, attribution, loss aversion, regulatory focus Copyright 2007, Gabriel E. Lopez Rivas
i Table of Contents List of Tables ii List of Figures iii Abstract iv Introduction 1 Regulatory Focus 3 Elaborating the Relationship between Organizational Justice and Emotions 7 Primary Appraisal 8 Secondary Appraisal 9 Retaliation 12 Methods 13 Participants 13 Procedure 13 Vignette Development 14 Measures 15 Emotions 16 Retaliation 16 Chronic Regulatory Focus 17 Justice 17 Results 18 Manipulation Checks 18 Emotions Measure 19 Hypothesis Testing 22 Supplemental and Exploratory Analyses 27 Discussion 31 Emotions 32 Retaliation 33 Limitations 34 Future Research 35 Conclusion 36
ii References 38 Appendices 41 Appendix A: Pattern Matrix for Positive Emotions Measure 42 Appendix B: Study measures 43
vi List of Tables Table 1. Vignettes by condition 15 Table 2. Pattern Matrix for Negative Emotions Measure 22 Table 3. Descriptive Statistics and Correlations for Study Variables 24 Table 4. ANOVA Table for Negative Emotions and CWB 28 Table 5. ANOVA Table for Inward-focused, Negative Emotions 29 Table 6. Main Effect of Decision Ou tcome upon Positive Emotions 30 Table 7. Regression Table for Te st of Mediation 31
vii List of Figures Figure 1. Theoretical relationship be tween injustice and emotion. 8 Figure 2. Scree plot of EFA for negative emotions measure. 20 Figure 3. Results of parallel analysis for negative emotions measure. 20 Figure 4. Interaction between decision outcome type condition and 26 procedural fairness condition for retaliation.
viii Is All Injustice Created Equal? Expl oring the Effects of Decision Outcome and Procedural Justice on Reactions to Injustice Gabriel E. Lopez Rivas ABSTRACT Organizational justice scholar s have ignored the influen ce that the nature of a decision outcome has upon reactions to perceived injustice, yet research on loss aversion demonstrates that people react more strongly to situations that resu lt in a loss than those that result in an anticipated gain failing to materialize (non-gain). Furthermore, research on regulatory focus has found that the nature of a decision outcome can itself elicit different emotions. Based on this, a cognitive appraisal model of the relationship between injustice and emotions is proposed that accoun ts for the effect of decision outcome. This model predicts that emotional reactions to in justice will differ according to the nature of the received decision outcome as well as the fa irness of the procedure used to reach that outcome. Specifically, it is hypothesized th at a loss decision outcome will elicit a prevention focus and lead to greater agita tion-related emotions, whereas a non-gain decision outcome will elicit a promotion focu s and result in greater dejection-related emotions. In addition, it is predicted that, in the presence of an unfair procedure, outwardfocused, foci-related emotions will be reported and that perceptions of procedural injustice will be related to increased retaliat ion especially following a loss. To test these predictions, participants were asked to provi de their reactions to vignettes describing a
vi loss or non-gain reached via a fair or an unfair procedure. Alt hough all hypotheses were not supported, it was found that decision outco me produced a significant main effect on emotions, such that participants reported hi gher levels of negative emotions after a loss and higher ratings of positive emotions afte r a non-gain. In addition, it was found that procedural injustice was related to higher le vels of outward-focused, negative emotions and increased retaliation.
1 Introduction If asked to describe an event that re sulted in strong feeli ngs of anger, an individual is likely to provide an event that he or she perceived as being unfair (Mikula, Scherer, & Athenstaedt, 1998). Ye t, the experience of distinct emotions, such as anger, in reaction to injustice has receiv ed relatively little empirical attention (Weiss, Suckow, & Cropanzano, 1999) and few studies of justice have examined emotions as an outcome variable (Barclay, Skarlicki, & Pugh, 2005). This scarcity of research on the relationship between injustice and emotion is even more surprising given that many justice theories explicitly or implicitly include emotion (M ikula, et al., 1998). For example, when elaborating equity theory, Adams (1965) stated that perceptions of injustice could, in many cases, be used to explain feelings of dissatisfaction and that pe rceptions of inequity could result in unpleasant emotions such as anger and guilt. A more recent example is fairness theory (Folger & Cropanzano, 1998, 2001) that by virtue of the counterfactual thinking process involves emotion (negative emotions are the most common catalyst of counterfactual thinki ng; Roese, 1997). In order to provide a theoretical framew ork for the discussion of the relationship between emotions and justice, the adaptati on of a two-stage cogni tive appraisal model was proposed (Cropanzano, Weiss, Suckow, & Grandey, 2000; Weiss, et al., 1999). Stage one of this model is the primar y appraisal that determines the relevance of a situation to an individual, which in the context of or ganizational justice, is analogous to the
1 assessment of outcome favorability. Stage tw o, or the secondary appraisal, is an individuals evaluation of the va riables associated with the event, such as perceptions of procedural justice. According to this model, the valence of an emotional reaction is determined by the primary appraisal of outcome favorability and more specific emotions, such as anger or sadness, are the result of the secondary appraisal assessing procedural fairness. For example, an event with an unfavorable outcome that was achieved by a decision making process that favor ed another person is predicted to result in feelings of anger whereas an unfavorable outcome reached via a procedure that favored the self would result in sadness (Cropanzano, et al., 2000). However, excluded in this model is the impact that the nature of a decision outco me (loss or non-gain) could itself have upon affective reactions to a decision. Organizational justice scholar s have ignored the possible influence that the nature of a decision outcome can have upon affective an d behavioral reactions to injustice, yet a large body of research exists to indicate that this omission is not warranted. For example, research on loss aversion, or the tendency to assign greater subjective value to losses than gains (Kahneman & Tversky, 1979), has found that individuals will rate a cut in wages (i.e., a loss) as more unfair than the eliminati on of an anticipated bonus of equivalent size (i.e., a non-gain; Kahneman, Knetsch, & Th aler, 1986; Liberma n, Idson, & Higgins, 2005). Of greater relevance to the topic of emotions is the finding by Liberman and colleagues (2005) that partic ipants who read a vignette describing a loss reported significantly stronger, negativ e affective reactions than those who read a vignette describing a non-gain. A viable framework for illuminating this finding and the possible
2 relationship between the nature of a decision outcome and emotions can be found in the literature pertaining to regul atory focus (Higgins, 1998). Regulatory Focus Self-regulation refers to attempts by an individual to align th eir self-concept and behaviors with an objective or standard; however, what has been previously overlooked in discussions of this topic is the motivati onal consequences that the desired end state itself may have upon how an individual attempts to reduce the disc repancy between their current and desired end-state. To this end, Higgins (1997, 1998) pr oposed that there are two hedonic self-regulatory systems through which individuals a pproach pleasure and avoid pain: one in which the desired end-stat e is approached, referred to as a promotion focus, and the other in which a match betw een the actual self and a feared state is avoided, referred to as a prevention focus. Consideration of these different foci is important because each is a ssociated with different n eeds, goals, and emotional experiences. Furthermore, momentary situati ons that communicate information regarding outcomes are proposed to induce a promotion or prevention focus within an individual (Higgins, 1997, 1998). According to regulatory focus theory, a situ ation in which the presence or absence of a positive outcome is salient is proposed to elicit a promotion focus (Higgins, 1997, 1998). Furthermore, it is proposed that an indi vidual operating with a promotion focus is motivated by a need for growth and devel opment and that this need for growth and development is fulfilled thr ough the use of strategies whic h reduce the discrepancy the individual perceives between thei r current and ideal state. This translates into a desire to
3 attain maximal goals, such as achieving hope s and fulfilling aspiratio ns, which serve to align the individuals current st ate of being with their desire d, ideal state. An important consequence of this motivation is that indi viduals operating with a promotion focus are theorized to experience an emotional gamut that ranges from cheerfulness to dejection (Higgins, 1997, 1998). Cheerfulness-related emoti ons, such as happiness, are theorized to be experienced following a situation where the presence of a positive outcome is highlighted (i.e., a gain). On the other hand, dejection-related emotions, for example disappointment, are experienced following an event where the absence of a positive outcome is stressed (i.e., a non-gain). Unlike a promotion focus, a prevention focus is predicted to arise in situations in which the presence or absence of a negative outcome is salient. According to Higgins (1997, 1998), an individual operating with a pr evention focus is motivated by security needs and a desire to minimize the discrepa ncy between their current state and an endstate that they believe they ought to achiev e or avoid. This motivation manifests as a desire to maintain minimal standards su ch as meeting oblig ations, duties, and responsibilities. This concern with maintenance leads individuals with a prevention focus to experience an emotional continuum that runs from quiescence to agitation (Higgins, 1997, 1998). Quiescence-related, positive emotions, for instance calm, are felt following a situation where the absence of a negative ou tcome is salient (i.e., a non-loss) whereas agitation-related, negative emotions, like tension, are felt after an event where the presence of a negative outcome is accentuated (i.e., a loss). Like loss aversion, regulatory focus predicts that affective reactio ns will vary as a function of the nature of the decision outcome received by the individual. However,
4 unlike loss aversion which predicts differe nces in the magnitude of the reaction, regulatory focus predicts that each decision outcome will produce a distinct emotional reaction; this relates back to the motivati on evoked by the different decision outcomes as a function of focus. For example, an indi vidual operating with a promotion focus is motivated to achieve success and thus, when successful, experiences more cheerfulnessrelated, positive emotions, like happiness, than an individual operating with a prevention focus who is motivated to avoid failure and therefore experiences quiescence-related, positive emotions such as calm. In contrast, an individual who strives to avoid failure will experience more agitation-related, negative em otions such as anger following a failure than someone who is motivated to achieve success and would thus experience more dejection-related, negative emotions like di sappointment. In short, regulatory focus proposes that the relationshi p between the framing of an outcome and, in turn, the motivation elicited by the situation account for the different affective reactions resulting from different decision outcomes (Brockner & Higgins, 2001). According to regulatory focus, a prom otion focus and prevention focus should result in different emotional experiences. To test this prediction, Idson, Liberman, and Higgins (2000) conducted three studies. The first study was comprise d of two parts. In part 1, participants were presented with vignettes describing di fferent outcomes of equivalent magnitude and asked to rate how th ey would feel if in that situation. They found that participants anticipated feeli ng better about a gain than a non-loss and anticipated feeling worse about a loss than a non-gain. Fo r part 2 of the first study, participants were also presented with vignettes except this time the scenarios were written in the third person. Once again, it was found th at participants repor ted a preference for a
5 gain over a non-loss and a non-gain rather a lo ss. For study 2, participants were asked to imagine performing an anagram task and results indicated that par ticipants anticipated feeling more positively about a success fram ed as a gain than a non-loss and more negatively about a failure framed as a lo ss than a non-gain. Finally, in study 3, the influence of regulatory focus as an indivi dual difference variable upon the relationship between outcome and emotion was explored. Part icipants were first tested to determine their chronic regulatory focus and in a later session were asked to perform an anagram task. The findings of this study suggest that individual differences in regulatory focus contribute to affective reactions. In addition, Higgins, Shah, and Friedm an (1997) explored the relationship between regulatory focus and more specific aff ective reactions in four studies. Three of these studies had participants complete a measure of chronic regulatory focus and an emotional frequency questionnaire. The resu lts of these three studies supported the hypotheses that goal achievement resulted in ch eerfulness-related emo tions for those with a promotion focus and quiescence-related emo tions for individuals with a prevention focus and that failure to attain a goal increased dejection-related emotions in those with a promotion focus and agitation-related emotions in those with a prevention focus. Study 4 tested the relationship between regulato ry focus as induced through framing and emotional reactions. Similar to the results of the fi rst three studies, it was found that a strong promotion focus was related to ch eerfulness-related and dejection-related emotions and a strong prevention focus was re lated to quiescence-related and agitationrelated emotions.
6 Elaborating the Relationship between Organizational Justice and Emotions The pattern of results found by research on loss aversion (Kahneman, et al., 1986; Liberman, 2005) and regulatory focus (Higgi ns, et al., 1997; Idson, et al., 2000) provides compelling evidence regarding the influence th at the nature of a decision outcome can have upon reactions to an event. Furthermore, these findings make it clear that the effects produced by different decision outcomes ar e especially relevant to the study of organizational justice given that a situati on may induce a different regulatory foci (Higgins, 1997; Idson, 2000). In light of the potential effect s that situa tionally-induced regulatory focus may exert upon reactions to a fairness event, a c ognitive appraisal model is proposed that accommodates the effects that the nature of an outcome may have upon reactions to a decision. The proposed model retains the two-stage st ructure of previous appraisal models (Cropanzano, 2000; Weiss, 1999) but, unlike prev ious models, will base its predictions of affective reactions upon regulatory focus (H iggins, 1997, 1998). Furthermore, research by Krehbiel and Cropanzano (2000) demonstrated that procedur al justice in conjunction with outcome favorability had an effect upon discrete emotions and suggested that the influence of procedural justice within th e context of regulatory focus be explored. Therefore, this model will incorporate the imp act that the fairness of the procedure used to arrive at the decision may have upon the experience of emotions (see figure 1). It should be noted that unlike previous models of justice and emotions this model focuses on unfavorable decision outcomes. The reason for excluding favorable outcomes is that research shows that such situations do not appear to result in counterfactual thinking (Colquitt & Chertkoff, 2002) or attributional searches (Wong & Weiner, 1981). This
suggests that reactions to fa vorable and unfavorable outcome s may function differently at a cognitive level and thus, should be treated as separate phenomenon. Event Nature Procedure Emotion Fair Agitation-related Loss 7 Unfair Outward-focused, agitation-related Unfavorable decision outcome Fair Dejection-related Non-gain Unfair Outward-focused, dejection-related Figure 1. Theoretical relationship be tween injustice and emotion. Primary Appraisal According to Weiss et al. (1999), only general emotions are the result of the primary appraisal and, in his model of emo tions and attribution, Weiner (1985) also proposed that following an outcome, broad, out come dependent emotions would be felt. The proposed model makes a similar predicti on (i.e., general emotions are experienced following the primary appraisal) but proposes that these general emotions will vary according to the nature of the decision outcome. According to literature on regulatory focus, a situation can, through its frami ng, predispose an individual to assume a promotion or prevention focus (Higgins, 1997, 1998). In addition, past research has shown that different foci can result in different emotional ex periences (Higgins, et al., 1997, Idson, et al., 2000). Therefore, it is pr edicted that, following a decision, individuals will experience broad emotions but that these broad emotions will differ according to the nature of the received decision outcome. Sp ecifically, it is hypothesi zed that a decision
8 outcome that results in the elimination of an anticipated gain (i.e., a non-gain) will elicit a promotion focus and result in dejection-relate d emotions such as sadness, dejection, and discouragement. On the other hand, following a loss it is predicted that a prevention focus will be activated and greater levels of agita tion-related emotions such as nervousness, tension, and worry reported. Hypothesis 1: Following a non-gain, individuals will report more dejectionrelated emotions (sadness, dejection, a nd discouragement) than individuals who experience a loss. Hypothesis 2: Following a loss, individuals will report more agitation-related emotions (nervousness, tension, and worry ) than individuals who experience a non-gain. Secondary Appraisal Similar to previous models, the secondary appraisal of the proposed model relates to the assessment of the variables surrounding the outcome or, for our purposes, procedural justice. Divergence from the Wei ss et al. (1999) model occurs in relation to the effect of the secondary appraisal u pon emotions. In the model proposed by Weiss (1999), the secondary appraisal results in disc rete emotions (guilt, pride, sadness, or anger), however this fails to integrate one of the most important processes that individuals engage in following a nega tive event: attributional searches. Research by Wong and Weiner (1981) has shown that individuals conduct attributional searches, especially followi ng a negative event, and attributions of accountability play a pivotal ro le in many justice theories. Therefore, in the proposed
9 model, the secondary appraisal serves the purpose of dete rmining whether or not the affective reaction will be directed at the d ecision maker; a proposition that is similar to the attributional theo ry of emotion proposed by Weiner (1985). Weiner discussed the importance of causality in the emotion proce ss and proposed that distinct emotions, such as anger, are the result of causal attribution. Furthermore, he differentiated between what he called outcome dependent-attribution independent emotions and attribution dependent emotions. According to Weiner (1985), outcome dependent-attribution independent are general emotions that are de termined solely by the attainment or non-attainment of a desired goal (e.g., sadness) where as attribution dependent em otions are more specific emotions related not only to the outcome but also the casual ascr iption the individual makes regarding responsibility for the r eceived outcome (e.g., anger). Research by Barclay, Skarlicki, and Pugh (2005) on the re lationship between procedural justice and outward-focus emotions lends support to the no tion that the experien ce of emotions is related to procedural justice. Barclay et al. (2005) found that, when an unfavorable outcome resulted from an unfair procedure, ex ternal attributions of responsibility were made and that two outward-focused, negative emotions, namely anger and hostility, were reported. Based on literature exploring the role of a ttribution in the emotions process, it is proposed that following an unfavorable outcome an individual will experience negative emotions based on the foci elicited by the situation (Higgins et al., 1997) and that perceptions of procedural injustice will result in a shift from outcome dependent emotions that lack a causal ascription to foci -related emotions that possess an attribution
10 of responsibility. For example, following an unf avorable outcome that resulted in a loss, an individual is predicted to assume a prevention focus and experience outcome dependent, agitation-related emotions such as tension, nervousness, and worry as a result of the primary appraisal. During the secondary appraisal, if the individual were to conclude that the loss was the result of an unfair procedure, it is anticipated that attribution dependent, agitation-related emotions such as anger, frustration, and disgust would be felt. Furthermore, it is proposed that these emo tions would be directed at the decisionmaker; the reason being that outward-fo cused, negative emotions, like anger, are associated with attributions of blame for a situa tion (Barclay et al ., 2005; Weiner, 1985). In contrast, if the same situation existed but the process that produced the outcome was perceived as fair, it is antici pated that individual s would not experien ce outward-focused, agitation-related emotions such as anger, frustration, and disgust but would instead experience general, agitation-related emo tions nervousness, tension, and worry. In regards to a non-gain, it is hypothesized that th e same pattern of re lationships would hold but that, in lieu of agitation-related emotions the individual woul d instead experience dejection-related emotions such as sadness, dejection, and discouragement and outwardfocused, dejection-related emotions such as dissatisfaction, disappointment, and shame directed at the decision maker. Hypothesis 3: Following an unfair non-gai n, individuals will report more outward-focused, dejection-related emoti ons (dissatisfaction, disappointment, and shame) directed at the decision maker th an individuals who experience a fair nongain.
11 Hypothesis 4: Following an unfair loss, indivi duals will report more outwardfocused, agitation-related emotions (anger, frustration, and disgust) directed at the decision maker than individuals who experience a fair loss. Hypothesis 5 : Following an unfair non-gai n, individuals will report more outward-focused, dejection-related emoti ons (dissatisfaction, disappointment, and shame) directed at the decision maker th an individuals who experience an unfair loss. Hypothesis 6: Following an unfair loss, indivi duals will report more outwardfocused, agitation-related emotions (anger, frustration, and disgust) directed at the decision maker than individuals who experience an unfair non-gain. Retaliation In addition to emotions, it is anticipated that there will be behavioral differences attributable to the nature of the decision outcome. Loss aver sion proposes that individuals place greater subjective value on and react mo re strongly to losses than objectively identical non-gains (Kahneman & Tversky, 197 9). In addition, research by Fox, Spector, and Miles (2001) has found that high levels of negative emotions are related to increased counterproductive work behavi ors (CWB) and research by Barclay et al. (2005) found that the experience of outward-focused, nega tive emotions was related to an increased desire to engage in retaliatory behaviors. Furthermore, attributions of blame (Aquino, Tripp, & Bies, 2001) and the pr esence of injustice (Greenbe rg, 1990; Skarlicki & Folger, 1997) have been found to relate to increased retaliation. Taken together, this body of literature suggests that retali ation should vary according to the nature of the received
12 decision outcome. That is, individuals who e xperience a loss should re act more strongly to an unfavorable decision outcome than individuals who ex perience a non-gain; therefore, it is predicted that greater levels of retaliation will be reported following a loss than a non-gain. Hypothesis 7 : Individuals who experience a loss will report higher levels of retaliation than individuals who experience a non-gain. Method Participants Participants for this study were undergradua te students at the University of South Florida who received extra cr edit in exchange for their participation. In total, 266 individuals participated in the study, the sample was predominately female (84%) and employed in some capacity (68%). In terms of ethnicity, the sample was primary Caucasian (67%) followed by Hispanic (14%) and the mean age was 20.7. Procedure For this study, participants were asked to read a vignette and answer questions regarding their reaction to the described scenario. Although vignette methodologies introduce a unique set of problems related to the interpretation of results and generalizability, past discussion on the topic of role playing in organizational research has argued that vignettes are an acceptable way of meas uring cognitive processes (Greenberg & Eskew, 1993). In addition, vigne tte procedures are used in numerous studies of loss aversion, regulatory focus, a nd organizational justice (e.g., Barling, 1993;
13 Idson, et al., 2000; Kahneman, 1986; Liberman, 2005). Therefore, based on its past usage and acceptance in the literature, the use of a vignette methodology was deemed appropriate for this study. Vignette Development The vignettes for this study were designe d to reflect different decision outcomes (loss versus non-gain) as well as differences in procedural fairness (fair versus unfair). The initial set of vignettes was based on those used by Kahneman (1986) with the addition of actual salary values and a fairness manipulation. Ex amination of the pilot test results indicated that the fairness manipulation did not produce a significant difference in perceptions of justice t (109) = -.16, p > .05. Interestingly, this pilot study also found no effects for differing the magnitude of the situ ations impact (e.g., 5% versus 9% pay cut) but did find that, unlike the sh ift from firstto third-pe rson conducted by Idson (2000), identifying the individual in the vignette by name rather than simply referring to employees in general produced significantly different effects with the latter producing greater reactions across the board. Because the initial vignettes failed to produce the desired effects, a second set was deve loped. Once again, the decision outcome manipulation for the vignettes was the one used by Kahneman (1986); however, the procedural fairness manipulation used by Bar ling (1993) was added. Pilot testing of this second set of vignettes demonstrated their effect iveness and they were, therefore, used in the study.
14 Table 1 Vignettes by condition Procedural fairness Outcome Fair Unfair Loss Company X employs several people in various part-time positions with an average pay of around $16,490. Company X has just unexpectedly lost two large manufacturing contracts and is currently arranging shortterm strategies to deal with this situation. After negotiations between management and the employee union, management and union representatives met with all the employees and announced that there would be pay cuts of 9% across the board for the next year (reducing the average salary to about $15,000). After this announcement, employees met with their supervisors for an hour and had an open and honest discussion about the pay cut, during which the supervisor listened to their concerns. Company X employs several people in various part-time positions with an average pay of around $16,490. Company X has just unexpectedly lost two large manufacturing contracts and is currently arranging shortterm strategies to deal with this situation. After discussion among management (which unlike previous meetings excluded representatives from the employee union), the company announced via email that there would be pay cuts of 9% for all part-time employees (reducing the average salary to about $15,000). After this announcement, employees who asked their supervisor about the pay cut were told that managements decision is final and that they are unwilling to answer any questions at this time. Non-gain Company X employs several people in various part-time positions with an average pay of around $15,000 and, for the past few years, an annual pay increase of 9% (about $1,350). Company X has just unexpectedly lost two large manufacturing contracts and is currently arranging short-term strategies to deal with this situation. After negotiations between management and the employee union, management and union representatives met with all the employees and announced that there would be no pay increase this year. After this announcement, employees met with their supervisors for an hour and had an open and honest discussion about the lost pay increase, during which the supervisor listened to their concerns. Company X employs several people in various part-time positions with an average pay of around $15,000 and, for the past few years, an annual pay increase of 9% (about $1,350). Company X has just unexpectedly lost two large manufacturing contracts and is currently arranging short-term strategies to deal with this situation. After discussion among company Xs senior management, the company announced vi a email that there would be no pay increase this year for parttime employees. After this announcement, employees who asked their supervisor about the lost pay increase were told that managements decision is final and that they are unwilling to answer any questions at this time. Measures Participants first completed a questionna ire assessing their chronic regulatory focus then presented with a vignette and aske d to complete a short battery of measures assessing their reactions to the vignette (see appendix for complete study measures). There were four vignettes total, reflecti ng the different combinations of decision
15 outcome: loss or non-gain, and procedural fairne ss: fair or unfair (see table 1). Each participant was randomly assigned to one of the four vignettes and was only exposed to that one vignette. Emotions. Emotions were measured using an inventory developed for this study. Participants were asked to indicate which emotions the employees at the company would feel following the event described in the vignette. These emotions included many that have been used in past research on regulatory focus (e.g., Roney, Higgins, & Shah, 1995) and that are frequently reported in research exploring the relationship between emotions and justice (e.g., Mikula, et al., 1998). This included thre e agitation-related emotions (nervous, tense, and worried, = .85), three outward-focused, agitation-related emotions (angry at company, frustrated with company, and disgusted at company, = .78), three dejection-related emotions (sad, dejected, and discouraged, = .66), and three outwardfocused, dejection-related emotions (di ssatisfied with company, disappointed in company, and ashamed of company, = .73). In addition, positive emotions and inwardfocused, positive and negative emotions were included for exploratory purposes. All emotion items were answered using a 7-point Likert scale with 1 = Strongly Disagree to 7 = Strongly Agree For the purpose of hypothesis testi ng, the different emotions were summed by foci (agitation-related or dejectionrelated) and the presence or absence of an external attribution of blame (outcome-dependent or outward -focused). This resulted in four emotion groups: outcome-dependent, agit ation-related; outward -focused, agitationrelated; outcome-depend ent, dejection-related; and outward-focused, dejection-related. Retaliation Retaliatory behaviors were measured using the Counterproductive Work Behaviors (CWB) directed at the or ganization subscale of the CWB Checklist
16 developed by Spector, Fox, Penney, Bruursema, Goh, and Kessler (2006). The scale was modified such that respondents indicated th e extent to which the individuals in the vignettes would engage in th e described behaviors after the event described in the vignette instead of reporting their own behavi ors. This sub-scale consists of 21 CWBs which are specially directed at the organization (e.g., Da ydream rather than do their work and Take a longer break than they are allowed to take) and was by Spector et al. (2006) to possess a reliability of .84 and a reliability of .95 for this study. Items were answered using a 5-point frequency scale with 1 = Never to 5 = Every day Chronic Regulatory Focus. Regulatory focus was measured using an adapted version of the measure developed by Lock wood, Jordan, and Kunda, (2002) to assess regulatory focus within the academic setti ng. The measure consists of two, nine-item subscales: one assessing chronic promotion focu s (e.g., I am anxious that I will fall short of my responsibilities and ob ligations) and the other asse ssing chronic prevention focus (e.g., I typically focus on the success I hope to achieve in the future). Lockwood, et al. (2002) found the two subscales to be reliable (promotion = .81, prevention = .75) and to possess a correlation of .17. It ems were answered using a 9-point Likert scale with 1 = Not at all true of me to 9 = Very true of me and a separate score was calculated for each focus. The reliability of these scales for this effort was .87 for promotion and .77 for prevention. Justice Justice perceptions were measured using a scale developed by Barling (1993). This scale consists of three items (The action taken by the company was appropriate given the unusual circumstances the company is facing, The decision making process leading to the decision wa s appropriate, and The company showed
17 concern for its employees) and items were an swered using a 7-point Likert scale with 1 = Strongly Disagree to 7 = Strongly Agree. The reliability for this scale in the present study was .83. Results Manipulation Checks. In order to ensure that part icipants understood the nature of the decision outcome that was presented to them, an item was included which asked participants to indicate whethe r they read about a pay cut or lost bonus pay. It was found that a majority of participants correctly id entified the decision outcome that they read about (70% in the non-gain condition and 90% in the loss condition). Individuals who failed to correctly identify the decision outcome to which they were assigned were excluded from analyses (39 in non-gain condition and 13 in loss condition). This discrepancy between the misidentification ra tes of the decision outcome conditions is likely due to the lack of corre spondence between the verbiage used in the vignette and the manipulation check question. Specifically, in reference to the loss condition, the expression pay cut was used in both the vignette and the manipulation check question. In contrast, for the non-gain condition the expr ession lost pay increa se was used in the vignette but the respective response option in the manipulation check question was phrased as a pay raise was not received. This inconsistency in terminology is likely to account for the disparate number of participan ts who incorrectly identified the non-gain condition as a loss. In addition, the effectiveness of the pro cedural fairness manipulation was tested. First, the data were screened for extreme res ponses in regards to the justice scale, i.e.,
18 scores that were 2.5 standard deviations above or below the grand mean of the sample. No extreme responses were found and, therefor e, no participants were excluded. Next, a t-test was conducted comparing ratings of procedural justice for the fair and unfair procedure conditions. It was found that th e procedural fairness manipulation was successful, t (214) = 5.29, d = .72, p < .001, with individuals in the unfair condition ( M = 3.81, SD = 1.68) reporting lower perceptions of pro cedural justice than those in the fair condition ( M = 4.88, SD = 1.27). Emotions Measure An exploratory factor analys is of the negative emotions measure developed for this study was conducted. In keeping with regu latory focus theory (Higgins, 1997, 1998), it had b een anticipated that the ne gative emotions would group according the focus with which it is relate d (promotion vs. prevention) and by their attributional component (a ttribution independent vs. outward-focused vs. inwardfocused) thus resulting in a six-factor solu tion. Using principle axis factoring with an oblique rotation (promax) it was found that a six-factor soluti on yielded a factor structure which was uninterpretable. Furthermore, an ex amination of the scree plot suggests that the existence of three or four factor (see fi gure 2) although only three of the six factors extracted exhibited an eigenvalue greater than 1. In addition, it was found that past the third factor the contribution of the factor s in terms of varian ce accounted for quickly diminished (factor one 35%, two 20%, three 8% four 5%, five 5%, and six 4%). Finally, a parallel analysis wa s conducted via a program develope d by OConnor (2000) in order to assist with the decision of how many f actor should be retained. For the procedure, 1000 data sets were generated based on the based on the current data set. The results of this analysis indicated that only four of the six factor s exhibited eigenvalues that
exceeded the value that would be expect ed by chance (see figure 3). Based on the available evidence, it was decided to explor e both the threeand four-factor solutions. Factor Number1817 1615 1413121110 987654321 Eigenvalue6 4 2 0 Figure 2. Scree plot of EFA for negative emotions measure. Number of factors353331 29 272523 2119 17151311 97531 12 9 6 3 0 Mean Raw data Figure 3 Results of parallel analysis for negative emotions measure. 19
20 A four-factor solution was extracted us ing the same procedure previously described. Once again, it was found that the four th factor exhibited an eigenvalue below 1 and that it accounted for less variance than the other factors. Regarding the factor structure itself, the result was difficult to in terpret with high cross loadings (angry at the company cross loaded on factor 1 and 4, ashame d at self and angry at self cross loaded on factor 2 and 4) and ashamed at company whic h was the only item to primarily load on the fourth factor. The results of this factor anal ysis extracted a three-factor structure that accounted for 63% of the variance (factor 1 35%, 2 for 20%, and 3 for 8%) and which corresponded to the items causal ascripti on. Specifically, it was found that outwardfocused, negative emotions loaded on fact or 1, inward-focused, negative emotions on factor 2, and attribution i ndependent, outcome dependent, negative emotions loaded primarily on factor 3 (see table 2). The exceptions to these trends were the items discouraged, which loaded on factor one and wa s expected to load onto factor three, and dejected, which exhibited no factor loadings greater than .24 on any of the factors. In light of these findings as well as theoretical considerations, it was decided that the most appropriate representation of the data is the three-factor solution for three primary reasons: 1) the small contribution of the fourth factor in terms of variance accounted, 2) the failure of the fourth factor to achieve an eigenvalue greater than 1, and 3) the three-factor so lution corresponds to what would ha ve been anticipated based on the attribution theory of emotion which categ ories emotions according to their causal component (outcome dependent-attribution independent vs. attribution dependent emotions, Weiner, 1985). However, in order to address the study hypotheses as proposed, it was decided to conduct two sets of analyses: one in which the emotions measure was
21 scored according to what is proposed by re gulatory focus and attribution theory of emotion (6-factor solution) and another set of analyses in which the emotions measure is scored according to the three-factor solu tion which corresponds to only the emotions causal component (it should be noted that fo r these analyses two items: discouraged and dejected, were dropped for the previously stated reasons). Table 2 Pattern Matrix for Negative Emotions Measure Factor Item 1 2 3 Disgusted at company 0.93 0.04 -0.13 Dissatisfied with the company 0.84 -0.14 0.06 Disappointed in the company 0.82 -0.04 -0.05 Angry at the company 0.61 0.06 0.11 Frustrated with the company 0.56 -0.12 0.25 Ashamed of the company 0.55 0.14 -0.03 Discouraged 0.45 0.09 0.32 Dejected 0.26 0.16 0.22 Disgusted at self -0.02 0.80 0.06 Disappointed in self -0.03 0.79 0.06 Frustrated with self -0.07 0.77 0.19 Ashamed of self 0.11 0.75 -0.25 Dissatisfied with self 0.00 0.73 0.21 Angry at self 0.08 0.64 -0.30 Tense 0.00 -0.05 0.90 Worried 0.05 -0.05 0.84 Nervous -0.01 0.05 0.68 Sadness 0.06 0.02 0.64 Hypothesis Testing Descriptive statistics and corr elations for the study variables can be found in table 3. Research by Idson, et al. (2000) has found that an individuals chronic regulatory focus can affect their emoti onal reactions to a situation; therefore, the influence of this variable upon emotions was explored. In our sample, it did not appear that chronic regulatory focus had an effect upon reported emo tions. As can be seen in
Table 3 Descriptive Statistics and Correlations for Study Variables fair nongain (n=51) unfair nongain (n=43) fair loss (n = 57) unfair loss (n = 65) M SD M SD M SD M SD 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 1. Decision outcome condition 2. Fairness condition .07 3. Justice perceptions 7.66 1.66 5.85 1.71 6.57 1.93 4.61 2.08 -.3** -.45** .83 3. Prevention focus 5.76 1.16 5.51 1.65 5.54 1.21 5.71 1.27 -.01 0 .03 .77 4. Promotion focus 7.63 .95 7.61 .92 7.28 1.07 7.54 1.04 -.1 .06 .04 0.13 .87 5. CWB 2.19 .68 2.74 .96 2.55 .71 2.63 0.83 .09 .18** -.25** .25** 0 .95 6. Dejection-related emotions 4.46 1.22 4.84 1.12 5.01 1.26 5.21 1.09 .2** .13 -.31** .2** .15* .26** .66 7. Agitation-related emotions 5.18 1.28 5.05 1.18 5.75 1.17 5.53 1.24 .21** -.06 -.2** .18** .14* .17* .66** .85 8. Outward-focused, dejection-related emotions 4.64 1.19 5.32 1.15 5.18 1.3 5.46 1.21 .15* .19** -.41** .15* .15* .32** .62** .49** .73 9. Outward-focused, agitation-related emotions 4.82 1.19 5.65 1.17 5.52 1.1 5.87 1.12 .21** .25** -.47** .19** .17* .35** .57** .56** .83** .78 Note Values along the diagonal represent scale reliabilities. p < .05. ** p < .01. 24
table 3, chronic prevention focus and chroni c promotion focus did not systematically relate to the regulatory focus emotions which were themselves highly correlated. Hypothesis 1, 2, and 7 were tested usi ng a 2 (decision outcome) x 2 (procedural fairness) analysis of vari ance (ANOVA). It was found that decision outcome did produce a significant main effect, F (1, 212) = 8.08, 2 = .037, p < .01, for dejection dejectionrelated emotions (sad, dejected, and discourag ed). However, this effect was not in the anticipated direction; instea d, it was found that individuals in the loss condition reported greater levels of deject ion-related emotions ( M = 5.11, SD = 1.17) than participants who read about a non-gain ( M = 4.65, SD = 1.19). For agitation-related emotions (nervousness, tension, and worry), analysis reve aled a main effect for decision outcome, F (1, 212) = 9.79, 2 = .044, p < .01, with individuals who read about a loss reporting more agitation-related emotions (M = 5.63, SD = 1.2) than those in the non-gain condition ( M = 5.12, SD = 1.23) thus providing support fo r hypothesis 2. Retaliation was tested by comparing the loss and non-gain group s in terms of reporte d CWB. Contrary to what was hypothesized, no main effect was found for the decision outcome manipulation upon CWB, F (1, 210) = 1.31, 2 = .006, p > .05. However, a significant interaction was present, F (1, 210) = 4.4, 2 = .02, p < .05 (see figure 4) with fairness in the non-gain condition exerting a greater in fluence on CWB than in the loss condition in which, regardless of fairness, retaliation was high. 25
26 Figure 4 Interaction between decision outcome type condition and procedural fairness condition for retaliation. 2.80 loss non-gainDecision outcome2.60 2.40 2.20 2.00 fai r unfai r Procedural fairness The analysis of hypotheses 3, 4, 5 and 6 were carried out using a series of planned comparisons. Hypothesis 3 was supported, t (212) = -2.68, p < .01, with individuals who read about an unfair non-gain reporting mo re outward-focused, dejection-related emotions ( M = 5.65, SD = 1.17) than individuals in the fair non-gain condition ( M = 4.82, SD = 1.19). No support was found for hypothesis 4 w ith individuals in the unfair and fair loss conditions reporting simila r levels of outward-focused, agitation-related emotions, t (212) = -1.7, p > .05. In addition, no support was found fo r hypothesis 5 with individuals in the unfair non-gain condition reporting sim ilar ratings of outward-focused, dejectionrelated emotions as those in the unfair loss condition, t (212) = -.6, p > .05. Finally, no support was found for hypothesis 6 with indivi duals in the unfair lo ss and unfair non-gain
conditions reporting similar ratings of outwa rd-focused, agitation-related emotions, t (212) = -.98, p > .05. Supplemental and Exploratory Analyses. In addition to the hypothesis tests, additional analyses were conducted. First, an alyses were conducted using emotion scores computed according to the groupings indicated by the factor analysis of the emotions scale. Second, a set of anal yses were conducted to explor e the potential effects of decision outcome upon inward-focused, negati ve emotions as well as the different groupings of positive emotions. Like previous analyses, supplemental analyses were conducted using a 2 x 2 ANOVA. A main effect for decision outcome was found, F (1, 212) = 8.77, 2 = .04, p < .01, with individuals in the loss condition (M = 5.52, SD = 1.16) reporting more outcomedependent, negative emotions (t ense, worried, nervous, and sad) than individuals in the non-gain condition (M = 5.04, SD = 1.2). In addition, a main effect was found, F (1, 212) = 6.73, 2 = .031, p < .01, for outward-focused, negativ e emotions (angry at company, frustrated with company, disgusted at company, dissatisfied with company, disappointed in company, and ashamed of company) with those in the loss condition ( M = 5.52, SD = 1.13) reporting higher levels of these emotions than participants in th e non-gain condition ( M = 5.08, SD = 1.18). 27
Table 4 ANOVA Table for Negative Emotions and CWB Source F 2 Dejection-related, negative emotions Decision outcome 11.15** .037 Procedural Fairness 4.53 .015 Interaction .47 .002 Agitation-related, negative emotions Decision outcome 14.6** .044 Procedural Fairness 1.6 .005 Interaction .01 0 Decision outcome 4.15* Outward-focused, dejection-related, negative emotions Procedural Fairness 8.13** .019 .037 Interaction 1.4 .007 Decision outcome 8.45** Outward-focused, agitation-related, negative emotions Procedural Fairness 14.23** .039 .063 Interaction 2.36 .011 Decision outcome 8.77** .04 Procedural Fairness .52 .002 Outcome-dependent, negative emotions Interaction .03 0 Outward-focused, negative emotions Decision outcome 6.73* .031 Procedural Fairness 11.95** .053 Interaction 2.02 .009 Counterproductive Work Behaviors Decision outcome 1.31 .006 Procedural Fairness 8.21** .038 Interaction 4.4* .02 Note p < .05, ** p < .01. In addition, analyses were conducted expl oring the potential effects of decision outcome upon inward-focused, negative emoti ons and positive emotions. A main effect was found for both inward-focuse d, dejection-related emotions, F (1, 212) = 14.14, 2 = .063, p < .01, and inward-focused, agita tion-related emotions, F (1, 212) = 3.92, 2 = .018, p < .05, with participants in the loss cond ition reporting higher le vels of those of emotions. This was also the case when the inward-focused emotions were collapsed according to the groupings suggested by the factor analysis, F (1, 212) = 9.07, 2 = .041, p < .01. 28
Table 5 ANOVA Table for Inward-focused, Negative Emotions Source F 2 Decision outcome 14.14** .063 Inward-focused, dejection-related, negative emotions Procedural Fairness 1.31 .006 Interaction .363 .002 Decision outcome 3.92* Inward-focused, agitation-related, negative emotions Procedural Fairness 2.65 .018 .012 Interaction .816 .004 Inward-focused, negative emotions Decision outcome 9.07** .041 Procedural Fairness 2.12 .01 Interaction .62 .003 Note p < .05, ** p < .01. In regards to positive emotions, a significant main effect for decision outcome was found for all of the positive emotion groups except cheerfulness-related emotions. In all cases, it was found that indi viduals in the non-gain condi tion reported higher levels of positive emotions than participants in the loss condition. In addition to these tests, a factor analysis was conducted. As was the case for the negative emotions, the positive emotions also failed to load as anticipate d instead forming three factors: factor 1 outcome dependent, positive emotions (calm, cheerful, content, joyful, relaxed, and serene), factor 2 outward-f ocused, positive emotions (at ease with company, at peace with the company, comfortable with the comp any, and satisfied with the company), and factor 3 inward-focused, positive emotions (at ease with self, at peace with self, comfortable with self, happy with self, pleased with self, and satisfied with self). Tests for main effects were conducte d using these sets of emoti ons and, once again, significant main effects were found for decision outcome (see table 6). 29
Table 6 Main Effect of Decision Outcome upon Positive Emotions Loss Non-gain 2 M SD M SD F(1, 212) Quiescence-related 2.25 1.03 2.71 1.12 9.17** .041 Cheerfulness-related 2.01 1.11 2.25 1.02 2.43 .011 Outward-focused, quiescence-related 1.92 1.09 2.52 1.16 13.77** .061 Outward-focused, cheerfulness-related 1.98 1.06 2.32 1.05 4.91* .023 Inward-focused, quiescence-related 2.81 1.16 3.48 1.25 15.42** .068 Inward-focused cheerfulness-related 2.96 1.18 3.51 1.29 9.96** .045 Outcome-dependent, positive 2.16 1.03 2.51 .98 5.84* .027 Outward-focused, positive 1.93 1.05 2.47 1.1 12.12** .054 Inward-focused, positive 2.88 1.1 3.49 1.15 14.82** .065 Note p < .05, ** p < .01. An additional analysis was conducted to explore the relationship between justice, emotions, and retaliation. Past research has found that the presence of injustic e is related to increased retaliation (e.g., Greenberg, 1990); furthermore, research has found that negative emotions are related to increased levels of CWB (Fo x, et al. 2001), therefore, it may be possible that perceptions of injusti ce triggers outward-focused, negative emotions which, in turn, led to a heightened desire for retaliation. To test for this possible mediation, a series of hierarchical linear re gressions were conducted using the procedure outlined by Baron and Kenny (1986). The findings of this analysis suggest that complete mediation exists with the effects of fa irness upon CWB becoming non-significant with the addition of outward-focused, negative emo tions (see table 7) although this reduction was not significant (S obel test .136, p = .89). 30
Table 7 Regression Table for Test of Mediation R2 Step 1: CWB on justice perceptions .059 Justice perceptions -.251** Step 2: Outward-focused, negative emotions on justice perceptions .207 Justice perceptions -.459** Step 3: CWB on justice perceptions and outward-focused, negative emotions .124 Justice perceptions -.115 Outward-focused, negative emotions .296** Note. p < .05. ** p < .01. Discussion Research on organizational justice has overl ooked the effects that the nature of a decision outcome can have upon reactions to perceived injustice; however, research on loss aversion (Kahneman, Knetsch, & Thaler 1986; Liberman, Idson, & Higgins, 2005) and regulatory focus (Higgins, Shah, & Fr iedman, 1997; Idson, Liberman, & Higgins, 2000) has found that the nature of a decision outcome can not only skew perceptions of fairness but also bring forth different affective reactions. To address this issue, a cognitive appraisal model of the relationship between injustice and emotion was proposed which derived its predictions of affective reactions from these theories and past research. Based on regulatory focus theory (Hi ggins, 1997, 1998), it was predicted that emotional reactions to injustice would diffe r according to the nature of the received decision outcome with a loss eliciting a preven tions focus and therefore greater agitationrelated emotions and a non-gain eliciting a promotion focus and, in turn, greater dejection-related emotions. In addition, base d on the attributiona l theory of emotion (Weiner, 1985) and research on the causal ascr iption component of emotions (Barclay, et. al., 2005; Wong & Weiner, 1981), it was proposed that procedural injustice would lead to more foci-related, outward-focu sed, negative emotions direct ed at the decision maker. 31
Emotions Results seemed to indicate that participan ts discrete, emotional reactions did not vary according to decision outcome; ther efore, providing no support for the hypotheses derived from regulatory focus theory. Furtherm ore, it was found that the factor structure of the emotions measure did not meet expect ation based on regulatory focus but was what would have been anticipated according to Weiners attributional theory of emotion (1985). That is, it was found that the emotion measures factor stru cture reflected the emotions attribution component with outcome-dependent, attribution-independent emotions and attribution-dependent emoti ons (inwardand outward-focused) each forming their own factors. This would seem to lend support to the notion that causal ascriptions play a role in defining emotions but it does not, however, support our original propositions based upon regulator fo cus. Despite this, the results of this effort still clearly illustrate the effect that the nature of a decision outcome can have upon emotional reactions. Although emotions did not vary in the anti cipated fashion, differences still existed across the decision outcome conditions. It was found that participants who read about a loss reported significantly more outcome dependent, negative emotions than those who read about a non-gain. In regards to outward -focused, negative emotions, an interaction was found such that individuals in the loss condition reported high levels of outwardfocused, negative emotions regardless of the fairness manipulation. Th is was not the case for the non-gain conditions in which outward -focused, negative emotions were much higher in the presence of injustice but redu ced in the presence of fairness. Inwardfocused, negative emotions were also found to vary according to decision outcome with a 32
loss eliciting more of these em otions than a non-gain. Decision outcome also produced an effect upon positive emotions. Specifically, i ndividuals who read about a loss reported significantly lower ratings of all positive em otions than participants in the non-gain condition. This set of findings seems to suggest that the nature of a decision outcome can produce an effect upon emotions. Especially when one considers that decision outcome produced a significant main effect upon all of the negative emotion groups as well as all but one of the positive emotion groups. In a ddition, decision outcome had a greater effect upon outcome-dependent and inward-focused emo tions than procedural justice which, in some instances, produced no effect. Retaliation In addition, this study also investigated the impact of procedural justice upon emotions. It was found that procedural justice had a significant main effect upon outward-focused emotions. Specifically, indi viduals in the unfair conditions reported higher levels of outward-focused emotions dire cted at the organizati on than participants in the fair conditions. A finding that parallels the results of recent work on the role of causal ascription and justice upon emotions (Barclay, et al ., 2005) which found that anger and hostility were associated with pe rceptions of procedural injustice. Although there was no main effect for decision outcome upon CWB, there was a significant interaction present between decisi on outcome and fairness. It was found that the desire for retaliation in the loss conditi ons was very high regardless of procedural fairness. This was not the case for the non-gain condition, in which, CWB varied 33
according to fairness condition. Specificall y, it was found that in the unfair non-gain condition participants reported significantly high er levels of CWB than individuals in the fair non-gain condition. This seems to indicate that, regardless of the fairness of the situation, a loss will engender a desire for re taliation; on the other hand, it appears that reactions to the non-gain, in te rms of CWB directed at the organization, is a function of procedural fairness. In addition, some ev idence was found that suggested outwardfocused, negative emotions may meditate th e relationship between justice perceptions and CWB. Limitations This study produced many interesting resu lts, it did, however, suffer from a number of limitations; foremost being poten tial problems stemming from the emotions measure developed for the study. As previously mentioned, the factor structure of the emotions measure was not what was expected. The failure of the emotions measure to exhibit the anticipated factor structure calls into question this st udys findings regarding the prediction of specific, affective reactions to injustice using the regulatory focus framework. That is, the lack of support for the prediction of emotions based upon regulatory found may be due to the measures fa ilure to accurately measure focus-related emotions. This failure would also explain why a systematic relationship was not found between chronic regulatory focus and em otions, which was a departure from past research (Idson, et al., 2000). Therefore, give n the awkward performa nce of the emotions measure used in this study, it may be premat ure to conclude that regulatory focus does not exert any influence over emotions and is an issue that should be revisited. 34
Beyond problems stemming from the emotions measured used in this study, this effort suffered from some limitations owing to its use of a vignette methodology. Although vignettes are often used in research (e.g., Barling, 1993; Idson, et al., 2000; Kahneman, 1986; Liberman, 2005) and are an acceptable way of measuring a phenomenon such as justice (Greenberg & Eskew, 1993); the procedure does bring with it a unique set of complications. For example, based on this study it cannot be determined whether participants responses were driven by their ex pectations regarding how they would act in a similar situation or if res ponses are motivated by their expectations regarding how people in genera l would respond to such a situ ation. Furthermore, even if individuals are reporting how th ey believe they would react to the situation, we cannot be certain that that these predictions would be accu rate. Point in case, it is possible that the poor performance of the emotions measure may be directly attributable to this previous point that is participants completed a self -report measure of regulatory focus and then asked to fill out an emotions measure in wh ich they adopted the point of view of an individual at the company in the vignette therefore responses on the emotions were measure were potentially not related to the participants own regulatory focus but their beliefs regarding how people respond to situatio ns such as those outlined in the vignettes. Future Research Future research should continue to exam ine the effects of regulatory focus and decision outcome upon justice perceptions and affective reactions. One obvious need for research in this area is the development of a regulatory-focus emotions measure that also takes into consideration the casual compone nt of each emotion. This research should 35
explore a larger number of emotions than we re studied in this effort and attempt to empirically determine what emotions are rela ted to what focus and whether or not they possess a causal component as opposed to the approach taken in the present study which relied exclusively on past research and theo ry for categorization of emotions. Finally, a concern related to the development of a future emotions measure is the question of whether emotions should be kept as discre te as has been done in past research (e.g., Cropanzano, 2000; Weiss, 1999) as opposed to categorized accordi ng to a taxonomy such as regulatory focus. Although focusing on one emotion as a dependent variable poses problems (e.g., one item dependent variable) it may be that this approach may better represent affective reactions. Regarding the effects of decision outcome one possible avenue of investigation could be a meta-analysis in which situations utilized in past studies of organizational justice are categorized into losses and non-ga ins and looking for differences across these two groups. Such an analysis would provide compelling evidence of the unaccounted for effect that the nature of a decision outcome may be exercising upon existing research. In addition, researchers should attempt to conduc t studies of justice and decision outcome which utilize a laboratory sett ing or a naturalistic experi ment in lieu of a vignette procedure. Furthermore, the demonstration of the effects of decision outcome within an organizational sample would illustrate the generalizability of these findings. Conclusions To the authors knowledge, this is the onl y study to explore the effects that the nature of a decision outcome (i.e., loss versus non-gain) may have upon subsequent 36
reactions to it within the context of organizational ju stice. Although many of the hypotheses derived from regulatory focus were not supported, the study did find support for the proposition that decision outcome matte rs. Consist with work in the area of loss aversion, this study found that decision outcome did exercise influence over affective reactions to a decision with losses resu lting in more outcome dependent, negative emotions than non-gains. Furthermore, it wa s found that procedural injustice was related to an increase in outward-focus ed, negative emotions directed at the decision maker and a heightened desire for retalia tion against the organization following a loss regardless of fairness. Taken together these findings have numer ous implications for researchers in the areas of organizational justice, emotions, a nd retaliation. First, the study illustrates that decision outcome, in some instances, produced a greater effect upon emotional reactions than justice perceptions. This suggests that researchers should be aware of the decision outcome which was the catalyst of the reactions that he or she is gauging in order to account for the effects of loss aversion. Sec ond, in line with work by Weiner (1985) and more recent work by Barclay (2005) this st udy reinforces the importance of the casual component of emotions and demonstrates its re lationship with procedural fairness. Lastly, this study illustrates that decision outcome does exerts influence over retaliation in response to a decision outcome. For exam ple, based on the findings of this study, researchers whom want to determine the e ffects of justice upon retaliation should be aware that following a loss individuals may e ngage in such behaviors regardless of fairness. 37
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40 Skarlicki, D. P. & Folger, R. (1997). Reta liation in the workplace: The roles of distributive, procedural, a nd interactional justice. Journal of Applied Psychology, 82(3) 434-443. Spector, P. E., Fox, S., Penney, L. M., Bruursema K., Goh, A., & Kessler, S. (2006). The dimensionality of counterproductivity: Are all counterproductive behaviors created equal? Journal of Vocational Behavior, 68, 446-460. Weiner, B. (1985). An attribution theory of achievement motivation and emotion. Psychological Review, 92(4), 548-573. Weiss, H. M., Suckow, K., & Cropanzano, R. (1999). Effects of justice on discrete emotions. Journal of Applied Psychology, 84, 786-794. Wong, P. T. P., & Weiner, B. (1981). When people ask why questions, and the heuristics of attri butional searches. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 40(4) 650-663.
Appendix A: Pattern Matrix for Positive Emotions Measure Pattern Matrix for Positive Emotions Measure Factor Item 1 2 3 Satisfied with self .93 .03 -.13 Pleased with self .83 .10 -.13 Happy with self .79 .21 -.15 Comfortable with self .68 -.18 .26 At peace with self .64 -.10 .27 At ease with self .54 -.11 .33 Cheerful -.05 .97 .05 Joyful -.01 .88 -.10 Content .05 .58 .28 Serene .21 .53 .06 Pleased with company -.08 .48 .39 Relaxed .32 .47 .04 Happy with company -.06 .38 .24 At ease with company .05 -.07 .87 At peace with comp -.02 .05 .87 Comfortable with company .02 .18 .64 Satisfied with company -.10 .37 .59 Calm .15 .26 .45 42
Appendix B: Study measures Chronic regulatory focus scale Please answer the following questions about yourself. Not at all true of me Very true of me 1. In general, I am focused on preventing negative events in my life. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 2. I am anxious that I will fall short of my responsibilities and obligations. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 3. I frequently imagine how I will achieve my hopes and aspirations. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 4. I often think about the person I am afraid I might become in the future. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 5. I often think about the person I would ideally like to be in the future. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 6. I typically focus on the success I hope to achieve in the future. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 7. I often worry that I will fail to accomplish my life goals. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 8. I often think about how I will achieve success in life. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 9. I often imagine myself experiencing bad things that I fear might happen to me. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10. I frequently think about how I can prevent failures in my life. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 11. I am more oriented toward preventing losses than I am toward achieving gains. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 12. My major goal in life right now is to achieve my ambitions. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 13. My major goal in life right now is to avoid becoming a failure. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 14. I see myself as someone who is primarily striving to reach my ideal self to fulfill my hopes, wishes, and aspirations. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 15. I see myself as someone who is primarily striving to become the self I ought to be to fulfill my duties, responsibilities, and obligations. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 16. In general, I am focused on achieving positive outcomes in my life. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 17. I often imagine myself experiencing good things that I hope will happen to me. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 18. Overall, I am more oriented toward achieving success than preventing failure. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Manipulation check: nature of decision outcome I read about a situation where: A pay cut occurred A pay raise was not received 43
Manipulation check: procedural fairness condition Strongly Disagree Strongly Agree 1. The action taken by the company was appropriate given the unusual circumstances the company is facing. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 2. The decision making pr ocess leading to the decision was appropriate. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 3. The company showed concern for its employees. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Emotions Based on what you read, to what degree would the employees at the affected facility feel the following emotions? Strongly Disagree Strongly Agree 1. Angry at the company 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 2. Angry at self 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 3. Ashamed of self 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 4. Ashamed of the company 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 5. At ease with self 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 6. At ease with the company 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 7. At peace with self 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8. At peace with the company 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 9. Calm 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 10. Cheerful 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 11. Comfortable with company 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 12. Comfortable with self 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 13. Content 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 14. Dejected 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 15. Disappointed in self 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 16. Disappointed in the company 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 17. Discouraged 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 18. Disgusted at company 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 19. Disgusted at self 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 20. Dissatisfied with self 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 21. Dissatisfied with the company 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 22. Frustrated with self 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 44
23. Frustrated with the company 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 24. Happy with self 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 25. Happy with the company 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 26. Joyful 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 27. Nervous 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 28. Pleased with self 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 29. Pleased with the company 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 30. Relaxed 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 31. Sadness 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 32. Satisfied with self 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 33. Satisfied with the company 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 34. Serene 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 35. Tense 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 36. Worried 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 CWB-O Based on what you read, how often do you imagine the employees at the affected facility would engage in the following behaviors? Never Once or Twice Once or Twice per month Once or twice per week Every day 1. Purposely waste their employers materials/supplies 1 2 3 4 5 2. Daydream rather than do their work 1 2 3 4 5 3. Complain about insignificant things at work 1 2 3 4 5 4. Tell people outside the job what a lousy place they work for 1 2 3 4 5 5. Purposely do their work incorrectly 1 2 3 4 5 6. Come to work late without permission 1 2 3 4 5 7. Stay home from work and say they are sick when they are not 1 2 3 4 5 8. Purposely damage a piece of equi pment or property 1 2 3 4 5 9. Purposely dirty or litter their place of work 1 2 3 4 5 10. Steal something belonging to their employer 1 2 3 4 5 11. Purposely work slowly when things need to get done 1 2 3 4 5 12. Refuse to take on an assignment when asked 1 2 3 4 5 13. Purposely come late to an appointment or meeting 1 2 3 4 5 14. Fail to report a problem so it would get worse 1 2 3 4 5 15. Take a longer break than they are allowed to take 1 2 3 4 5 16. Purposely fail to follow instructions 1 2 3 4 5 17. Leave work earlier than they are allowed to 1 2 3 4 5 45
4618. Take supplies or tools home without permission 1 2 3 4 5 19. Try to look busy while doing nothing 1 2 3 4 5 20. Put in to be paid for more hours than they worked 1 2 3 4 5 21. Take money from their employer without permission 1 2 3 4 5
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Lopez Rivas, Gabriel E.
Is all injustice created equal? :
b exploring the effects of the nature of decision outcomes and procedural justice on reactions to injustice
h [electronic resource] /
by Gabriel E. Lopez Rivas.
[Tampa, Fla.] :
University of South Florida,
ABSTRACT: Organizational justice scholars have ignored the influence that the nature of a decision outcome has upon reactions to perceived injustice, yet research on loss aversion demonstrates that people react more strongly to situations that result in a loss than those that result in an anticipated gain failing to materialize (non-gain). Furthermore, research on regulatory focus has found that the nature of a decision outcome can itself elicit different emotions. Based on this, a cognitive appraisal model of the relationship between injustice and emotions is proposed that accounts for the effect of decision outcome. This model predicts that emotional reactions to injustice will differ according to the nature of the received decision outcome as well as the fairness of the procedure used to reach that outcome. Specifically, it is hypothesized that a loss decision outcome will elicit a prevention focus and lead to greater agitation-related emotions, whereas a non-gain decision outcome will elicit a promotion focus and result in greater dejection-related emotions. In addition, it is predicted that, in the presence of an unfair procedure, outward-focused, foci-related emotions will be reported and that perceptions of procedural injustice will be related to increased retaliation especially following a loss. To test these predictions, participants were asked to provide their reactions to vignettes describing aloss or non-gain reached via a fair or an unfair procedure. Although all hypotheses were not supported, it was found that decision outcome produced a significant main effect on emotions, such that participants reported higher levels of negative emotions after a loss and higher ratings of positive emotions after a non-gain. In addition, it was found that procedural injustice was related to higher levels of outward-focused, negative emotions and increased retaliation.
Thesis (M.A.)--University of South Florida, 2007.
Includes bibliographical references.
Text (Electronic thesis) in PDF format.
System requirements: World Wide Web browser and PDF reader.
Mode of access: World Wide Web.
Title from PDF of title page.
Document formatted into pages; contains 46 pages.
Advisor: Michael Brannick, Ph.D.
t USF Electronic Theses and Dissertations.