The Influence of Social Norms on Procedural Fairness Self-Perceptions and Behaviors
AuthorPaddock, Elizabeth Layne
Committee ChairGilliland, Stephen W
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractSeveral recent chapters (Gilliland & Schepers, 2003; Skarlicki & Folger, 2001) have focused on an interesting question: If certain behaviors are perceived as fair or unfair, what antecedents lead to these fair or unfair behaviors? Gilliland and Schepers identify multiple antecedents, including organizational norms. This research examines how norms promote fair or unfair procedural behavior as defined by procedural fairness rules (ref. Leventhal, 1980). Drawing on recent social psychological work on norms by Cialdini and colleagues (for a review see Cialdini & Trost, 1998), the current research distinguishes between two norm elements: descriptive norms (i.e., what others actually are doing) and injunctive norms (i.e., what others believe an individual should be doing). A computerized performance allocation decision task was created to assess individuals' actual behavior in two studies. In each study participants were given normative information and then asked to complete four blocks of the allocation task. From computer-recorded data, measures of behavioral fairness were derived and a post-task survey elicited participants' self-perceived fairness: Both sets of fairness measures were used as dependent variables.Study 1 focused on descriptive norms and tested a prediction derived from Cialdini et al.'s (1990) work on norm salience theory: This theory suggests that the more salient a norm is, the greater an impact it will have. Study 2 also included descriptive norm element conditions, but focused too on the individual who was the source of the injunctive norm. Overall, results of these studies suggest that, at least for behavioral accuracy, norms do impact individuals' fair behavior. However, analyses of behavior and self-perception measures of fairness suggest that further refinement of behavioral measures and more research on the intersection of fairness and norms are required.