The purpose of this set of studies was to investigate the linkage between interpersonally just or unjust behavior on the part of a supervisor and the perception of referent, coercive, and legitimate power as perceived by subordinates. It was proposed that lower levels of interpersonal justice on the part of a supervisor would result in the perception that the supervisor possessed a greater degree of coercive power and a lower degree of referent power. It was furthermore proposed that, consistent with prior research, referent power would be positively related to task commitment; coercive power would be positively related to reactance; and legitimate power would be positively related to compliance. Additionally, the personality variable of Social Dominance Orientation was proposed as a moderator of the relationships between interpersonal justice and power perception; and between power perception and commitment, compliance, and reactance.
Two studies were used to test the hypotheses. The first study utilized a correlational design and asked participants to rate a past or current supervisor in terms of the supervisor's justice behavior and power and regarding the participant's behavioral and attitudinal reactions. The second study manipulated interpersonal justice in written scenarios involving a supervisor and subordinate and asked the participants to rate the supervisor's power and to predict the subordinate's reactions. The justice manipulations utilized had a basis in politeness theory.
The main effects hypothesized regarding interpersonal justice, power perception, and subordinate reactions were supported. There was minimal support for any of the hypotheses proposing Social Dominance Orientation as a moderator of the relationships investigated. However, the results did indicate that positive and negative politeness as described in politeness theory are highly related to interpersonal justice.
The results indicate a strong relationship between interpersonal justice, power perception, and employee reactions. However, future research is warranted to validate the current findings and extend them to more diverse populations, as well as to investigate other possible individual difference variables which may affect the relationships between these variables. Suggested future research is discussed, as are implications for theory and practice.
|Commitee:||Crede, Marcus, Williams, Kevin|
|School:||State University of New York at Albany|
|School Location:||United States -- New York|
|Source:||DAI-B 73/10(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Social psychology, Occupational psychology, Organizational behavior|
|Keywords:||Coercive power, Employee reactions, Interpersonal justice, Legitimate power, Politeness, Reactance, Referent power, Supervisors|
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