Retributive justice through decision making
This study extends theorizing about justice into realms in which its potential has been underdeveloped (i.e., retributive justice). The purpose of this study is to enhance understanding of the subtle mechanisms through which employees and students achieve a balance of justice, apart from conducts belonging to the well studied category of organizational misbehaviors (e.g., workplace aggression, employee theft, incivility, retaliatory behavior, or revenge). I posited that: (a) people under conditions of procedural and distributive injustice will be more likely to choose an unethical decision option (i.e., 'mild' and 'severe' mechanisms of revenge), than under conditions of fair treatment; and (b) anger will mediate the relationship between perceptions of injustice and severe unethical decisions. Two experiments, both from organizational and educational perspectives, examined the influence of unfair treatment on workers from a utility company and MBA students at a business school. During the experiments, some participants were biased toward combinations of just procedures and outcomes and others to combinations of unjust procedures and outcomes, to study the effects that this manipulation may have in participants' decision choices. Although the hypotheses were not supported, surprising findings indicated that employees in an organization agree more with making mild unethical decisions under the condition of both fair procedure and outcome, than in a situation when procedures are fair and outcomes are unjust. Implications from an organizational perspective, limitations, and future directions are addressed.