I am nearing the end of my first semester teaching in Mountain State University’s Bachelor of Science Organizational Leadership program. I have loved the opportunity to interact and learn with a fantastic group of students in a vital virtual environment.

In our last chat, we discussed an important area that relates to this month’s topic of decision making: organizational justice (Nelson and Quick, 2008).

Organizational justice — which includes the fairness of outcomes, processes, and treatment that people experience at work — affects people’s motivation and satisfaction at work.

Our job satisfaction and motivation are directly related to a sense that our organizations are fair and equitable.

Justice in the workplace has three components:

  • Distributive justice
  • Procedural justice
  • Interactional justice

Distributive justice relates to the fairness of outcomes. Do people in similar positions receive the same salary? Do all employees receive the same health care benefits?

One of my students used a great example of distributive (in)justice from work environment. He noted that in his police department, the guys whose friends work in the radio room get the best “shops” (cars). Fair? Nope. Common? Sure.

Procedural justice relates to fairness of the decision making process. Do leaders in the organization consider decisions carefully? This may come into play with hiring decisions. Does the organization have a fair process for choosing employees?

Interactional justice is the fairness of how people are treated when outcomes and procedures are communicated. In my opinion, this may be the most important factor. I personally can accept something being less than fair if I am being treated with kindness and respect. Most employees will respond well as long as decisions and procedures are communicated openly and honestly in a way that recognizes their value and unique contributions to the organization.

Justice is an important factor to consider in decision making because of the strong influence perception of justice can have on employees’ job satisfaction and motivation.

To ensure that you are making fair decisions at work ask yourself three questions:

  • Are the outcomes of this decision equitable?
  • Did I make this decision by using a fair process?
  • Am I communicating this decision with respect and consideration for my employees?

Join the conversation!

Do you agree with me that interactional justice is the most important?

How do you ensure that the decisions and processes within your organization are fair?

This was originally posted at Mountain State University LeaderTalk and is re-posted with permission.