Communicating Justice: The Role Of Justifications In Normative Decision Making.
When authorities make decisions, they are often expected to provide an explanation for the outcome. In contrast to excuses or apologies, justifications are a particular kind of account, whereby the decision-maker accepts both responsibility and asserts that that the outcome was normatively just. Quality justifications are essential to the perceived legitimacy of authorities within organizations, as well as fostering pro-organization behaviors. The present research: (a) investigates the degree to which justifications are (or are not) a distinct component of overall justice determinations, (b) investigates the effect of high (versus) low quality justifications on perceptions of the decision-maker, and (c) compares and empirically evaluates the conflicting positions of two major justice models - the value protection model and group engagement model - regarding whether the hypothesized effect of high-quality justifications occur under conditions of strong moral conviction. The study asked participants to evaluate aspects of moral and policy decisions supported by high and low quality justifications. Informational justice emerged as a construct distinct from interpersonal justice and procedural justice when evaluating decisions and the decision-maker. High quality justifications have a positive influence on perceived procedural, interpersonal and informational justice related to the decision. Moral conviction matters, but only under conditions of moral agreement. Even when decisions are inconsistent with a moral mandate, high quality justifications increase positive perceptions of justice. The group engagement model thus received more support from the data than the value protection model.
procedural justice; justifications; accounts; moral mandates
Dunning,David Alan; Gillespie,Tarleton L.; McComas,Katherine Anne
Ph.D. of Communication
Doctor of Philosophy
dissertation or thesis