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Mapping the contours of fairness: the impact of unfairness and leadership (in)action on job satisfaction, turnover intention and employer advocacy

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>2014
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of Organizational Effectiveness: People and Performance
Issue number2
Volume1
Number of pages14
Pages (from-to)191-204
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

Purpose
– The purpose of this paper is to explore the contours of fairness by showing how different facets of fairness impact three important employee outcomes (job satisfaction, turnover intention and employer advocacy) and examining the mediating role of quality of management and leadership (through perceptions of both senior management and the quality of exchange with immediate supervisors) in attenuating negative impacts of unfairness on these outcomes. The study extends the concept of fairness beyond the traditional focus on organizational justice and models the mediating role of leadership on the relationship between (un)fairness and the three employee-level outcomes in a sample of employees representative of the UK workforce.

Design/methodology/approach
– Data were obtained from a nationally representative sample of 2,067 employees in the UK. Exploratory factor analysis and then confirmatory factor analysis is used to refine three unfairness factors and address their dimensionality of the unfairness scale and then multiple regression analysis is used to test a fairness-leadership-employee performance outcome model.

Findings
– Results of multiple regression analysis revealed that both trust in leadership and leader-member exchange partially mediate the relationship between organizational (un)fairness and job satisfaction, advocacy and turnover intention, respectively.

Practical implications
– The findings highlight the important role that leaders play in influencing the relationship between perception of unfairness and employee outcomes. This has implications for both theory and practice as it suggests that the pattern of inclusion that leaders create through the relationships that they develop with their followers has a significant impact on the relationship between unfairness and the work outcomes. They not only must manage traditional perceptions of justice, but also the assessments employees make about trust in management judgements and the perceived consequences of such judgements.

Originality/value
– In an environment where perceptions of unfairness are becoming both more endemic but also more complex, the study shows that both senior leaders and immediate supervisors have important agency in managing negative consequences. Through the measurement of satisfaction, turnover intention and employer advocacy it also provides potential links to link fairness into the engagement literature.