Importance of organisational justice in HRM strategies

By Saloni Agarwal & Priya Chetty on June 8, 2020

Academicians and practitioners agree that Human Resource Management (HRM) concentrates on employee needs, wherein individual well-being is essential. The critical component to practice HRM in any environment is organisational justice, i.e. the notion of fairness or justice. Depending on an employee’s work and accomplishment, performance results such as bonuses and penalties are administered under organisational justice. It also helps in defining the nature of distributive methods and provides an interpretative lens for how people interact (Colquitt et al., 2001; Colquitt et al., 2005).

The practice of assessing ethical and moral status of directorial control provides organisational justice the capability to explain a firm’s actions and consequences. For an HR manager to display impartiality, it is crucial to take the outlook of an employee, to recognize the chain of events behind this personal impression of organisational justice.

The job performance of an employee at the individual, team, and organisational level is affected by organisational justice (Dzansi and Dzansi, 2010). However, organisational justice is not given a priori. It is formed as an outcome of various management interventions and behaviors.

Selection procedures for positive job candidates

Generally, the selection and recruitment procedure of any business is the first point of contact with a job candidate. Therefore, the treatment provided at this step has repercussions later. When a firm presents the candidates with a fair approach in the hiring process, a foundation of justice and trust is built between them. This creates a more favorable impression of the organisation (Bauer et al., 2001). Existing research on prospective employees’ reaction towards the hiring process shows two concerns:

  • Relevant questions and criteria: For procedural justice to follow, the candidates presume that the business will put questions and screening tests as per the requirements of the job.
  • Satisfactory opportunity to perform: This ensures that the candidates are allowed sufficient scope to make a case for themselves with ample time in interviews (Truxillo et al., 2001).

Reward systems to justly balance multiple goals

For an efficient reward system, two goals must be satisfied: motivating personal fulfillment and sustaining group coherence. Nevertheless, it sometimes becomes difficult to follow both at the same time. On the one hand, rewards for individual performance may disrupt group harmony, and on the other, capping the salaries of high-performing employees to maintain internal inequality that leads to employee dissatisfaction. This imbalance can be corrected by utilizing a combination of organisational justice procedures. Consistency adopted by the method of procedural justice makes the process fair. This promotes more considerable organisational assurance and positive attitudes among the workers (Rehman et al., 2016).

Interactional justice looks to maintain just treatment for the employees and helps in regulating pay fairly (Yean and Yusof, 2016). Combining high procedural justice with interactional one, even the employees with less pay satisfaction were not willing to discredit the organisation. This was known as the two-factor model.

Conflict management

Settling employee disputes becomes complicated when one or both parties are unaccommodating. Even after spending a reasonable amount of time, managers are not always successful in arriving at a conclusion. If an arrangement is inflicted on the parties in the form of a settlement, that behavior is termed as autocratic. Nevertheless, disagreements can be worked out by following procedural justice, which checks that hard choices can be made impartially (Lim and Loosemore, 2017).

Layoffs to soften hardship

Downsizing is among the extreme measures taken by management and is difficult to handle (Kim, 2015). Kammeyer-Mueller et al. (2001) explains that the burden of human resources reduction often overweigh the advantages. Layoffs have harmful consequences, harming the sufferer while subverting the optimism of survivors who remain employed. However, when organisational justice practices are followed in reducing the workforce, the terminated employees are less likely to devalue the company (Hart et al., 2016). The employees who were retained might face “survivor’s guilt.” An explanation as to why this downsizing was necessary may reduce the negative impact of such decisions (Bear and Hwang, 2017).

Performance appraisals to keep scores fair

Performance evaluations are required in organisations to allocate rewards, recognize candidates for elevation, and strengthen human capital. Even though performance apprehensions are necessary for organisations, they require careful evaluations to avoid any discrepancies. Studies have shown that recent performance evaluation methods have taken a wider outlook, highlighting the social setting and inputs from multiple sources (Nair and Salleh, 2015). Exploring organisational justice has presented a new model for comprehending performance review. Cropanzano et al. (2007) formulated a model of performance evaluation, consistent with the previous research, as “the due process approach to performance appraisal.” According to their study, by assuming a due process method, one can categorize facts based on distinct meanings, potential conflicts, and disagreements regarding the facts. The study identified three core elements of the process:

  • Adequate notice: This helps to inform people about the timeline and criteria of work assessment. In addition to this, the participation of employees in establishing performance standards can invoke trust between the employees and employer.
  • Just hearing: It means to restrict the performance estimation analysis to work place evidence, instead of personal thoughts. Employees should also be provided with an opportunity to explain their side of the events.
  • Judgment based on evidence: Precise standards for evaluating employees should be set, and sufficient information should be assembled before basing decisions regarding their performance.

Consequences of neglecting organisational justice

Research has shown that organisational justice is responsible for affecting a wide variety of employee reactions. These reactions are essential for smooth operation and useful management of business. Unfair or unjust practices invoke malpractices on the employee’s part. Such methods also promote job dissatisfaction, inefficient work environment, distrust, and disapproval of the organisation. The absence of justice gives rise to retribution, lower performance, and hurt morale. Nevertheless, the negative consequences can be regulated by supporting organisational justice practices.


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Priya is the co-founder and Managing Partner of Project Guru, a research and analytics firm based in Gurgaon. She is responsible for the human resource planning and operations functions. Her expertise in analytics has been used in a number of service-based industries like education and financial services.

Her foundational educational is from St. Xaviers High School (Mumbai). She also holds MBA degree in Marketing and Finance from the Indian Institute of Planning and Management, Delhi (2008).

Some of the notable projects she has worked on include:

  • Using systems thinking to improve sustainability in operations: A study carried out in Malaysia in partnership with Universiti Kuala Lumpur.
  • Assessing customer satisfaction with in-house doctors of Jiva Ayurveda (a project executed for the company)
  • Predicting the potential impact of green hydrogen microgirds (A project executed for the Government of South Africa)

She is a key contributor to the in-house research platform Knowledge Tank.

She currently holds over 300 citations from her contributions to the platform.

She has also been a guest speaker at various institutes such as JIMS (Delhi), BPIT (Delhi), and SVU (Tirupati).


Being a master’s student at TERI School of Advanced Studies with a specialization in Economics, working in the field of research and data analysis has become my second nature. This interest grew with the numerous research projects undertaken as a primary requirement of the course in the form of Critical Reviews, Policy Briefs, Literature Reviews, and Literature Surveys.

My recruitment with the Network for Certification and Conservation of Forests (NCCF) as part of my summer internship helped me learn the importance of the prequel of any fieldwork, namely desk research. Under their guidance, I aided in the writing of two crucial papers regarding the path that the country is to follow to achieve its Paris Agreement Goals. The job also sharpened my data extraction and cleaning skills, as it was a preliminary requirement for the writing of the papers. 


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