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Social Justice Research

More Just for Me than Which Others? Personal Justice Ascendancy, Perceived Discrimination in Healthcare, and Personal Well-Being in African Americans


Believing the world is more just for oneself than for others—referred to as personal justice ascendancy—can protect and enhance well-being. For African Americans, personal justice ascendancy may be multifaceted, encompassing comparisons not only to other African Americans but also to White Americans. The present research examined relationships between these two specific personal justice ascendancies and psychological well-being among African Americans. African American adults (N = 274) reported their beliefs about justice for self, for other African Americans, and for White Americans. We measured life satisfaction, perceived stress, and perceptions of healthcare systems as outcomes. Overall, participants believed the world to be more just for White Americans, but less just for other African Americans, than the self. Personal justice ascendancy over African Americans and White Americans both predicted greater life satisfaction and lower perceived stress. Personal justice ascendancy over African Americans predicted more negative perceptions of healthcare, whereas personal justice ascendancy over White Americans predicted more positive healthcare perceptions. Findings suggest effects of personal justice ascendancy on well-being and health-related attitudes are governed by multiple social comparisons for African Americans. Attending to and understanding nuances in these comparisons could further inform efforts to understand and address racial health disparities.

When and How Information About Economic Inequality Affects Attitudes Towards Redistribution


Perceived economic inequality is positively associated with public support for policies to reduce it. However, providing information about economic inequality does not necessarily motivate people to support redistributive policies. This inconsistency may be due to how people interpret the information about inequality. We argue that the interpretation of information about inequality differs between individuals as a function of the characteristics of the source and people’s ideologies. We conducted two experiments using an exploratory (N = 239) and confirmatory (N = 707) strategy. We found that attitudes toward redistribution increased when a seemingly neutral international institution (as opposed to a left-wing political party) provided information about economic inequality due to the credibility attributed to the source—but not due to power and familiarity. Moreover, the effect of providing information about inequality on support for redistribution (via source credibility) depended on people’s ideologies: it was positive and statistically significant for people who held more (vs. less) system-justifying beliefs. These findings contribute to understanding the interplay between social psychological processes, communication strategies, and attitudes toward redistribution.

Invisible China: How the Urban-Rural Divide Threatens China’s Rise

Is Organizational Justice Relevant for Enhancing Employee’s Commitment: An Empirical Analysis using Perceiver Supervisor Support as a Mediator


Based on social exchange theory and organizational support theory, this study explores the relationship between four dimensions of organizational justice (OJ) and affective commitment (CMM) and whether perceived supervisor support (PSS) mediates this relationship. Using online survey data collected from employees recruited from India industry verticals, the authors identified the role of distributive and informational justice in directly enhancing employees’ CMM. PSS also mediates the relationship between all four forms of OJ and CMM. An importance–performance map analysis (IPMA) indicates that informational organizational justice (IFJ) is the most important factor for predicting employees’ CCM. This is a pioneering study because it includes four dimensions of organizational justice as a precursor for CMM in a non-Western context.

The Language of Inclusion: Using Critical Corpus-Based Methods to Study the Presence and Representation of “Women, Children and Vulnerable Groups” in Liberia’s Truth Commission


While inclusion, participation and victim-centredness have become catchwords in transitional justice discourse, this rhetoric has not necessarily enabled the articulation of more complex identities and experiences, or the pursuit of varied justice claims. To probe this disconnect, this article engages with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Liberia, a mechanism established to reckon with the country’s history of internal armed conflict, and hailed for its involvement of vulnerable, disenfranchised and oft-overlooked groups. The article combines expressive theories of justice with an innovative corpus-based methodology to critically examine how the Commission made visible, defined and construed these actors through its language of inclusion. Results from word frequency, co-occurrence and sentiment analyses illustrate how the Commission foregrounded the plight and rights of women and children, and their participation as a vehicle for emancipation, but simultaneously reproduced universalist and static identities, fixation on sexual violence and child soldier recruitment, and subject positions lacking in positive or political capabilities. This duality points to inherent tensions in the expressive messaging of TJ institutions, and rather locates the transformative potential of their inclusionary language in the strategic openings it affords for victims’ groups, women and youth organizations in their broader trajectories towards justice and change.

Can Community Music Contribute to More Equitable Societies? A Critical Interpretive Synthesis


This article presents outcomes from a critical interpretive synthesis inquiry exploring whether community music can contribute to more equitable societies. Drawing on 74 cross-disciplinary articles, we identify equity-related outcomes across three key categories: outcomes to improve the immediate wellbeing and life trajectories for individuals experiencing disadvantage; outcomes relating to the development of skills, knowledge and understandings empowering individual participants to enact positive social change within their communities; and outcomes with the potential to affect the root causes of social inequity. This review provides a solid foundation for further conceptual and theoretical development within and beyond the fields of social justice research and community music. Our findings will also be helpful for translating the creative and cultural benefits that community music practice could bring to addressing social justice issues in a wide range of complex contexts.

More Satisfaction, Less Equality: Distributive Effects of Transparent Needs in a Laboratory Experiment


Societies are confronted with the dilemma that need satisfaction requires transparent individual needs. We study the effect of information about others’ needs on the distribution of a joint endowment in a three-player network exchange game in a laboratory experiment. Need levels are exogenously given and either transparent (known to all three network members) or opaque (only known to the players themselves). The three players negotiate in dyads until two players agree on a distribution. We expect that the transparency of need thresholds raises need satisfaction but lowers equality. The results suggest that the members of the dyad who agree on the distribution can satisfy their own need thresholds even when information about thresholds is opaque. The effect of transparency on the remaining network member is antithetical: while transparency increases the rate of need satisfaction, it decreases the average share of allocations when needs are low. In the opaque condition, allocated shares are larger, but need satisfaction is lower. This reveals the ambivalent distributive effects of transparent need thresholds: Transparency helps those with the highest need thresholds, but it can hurt those with lower need thresholds, and it barely affects the ones with the most influence on the decision.

Effects of Event Intensity and Frequency on Judgements of Procedural Justice in (Un)Fair Situations


This study aimed to systematically investigate the effects of event intensity and frequency on the judgment of procedural justice in fair and unfair situations. Data were collected using Qualtrics online survey questionnaires from 420 employees across different industries in the United States. Participants were randomly assigned to one of three frequency conditions (high, medium, and low), and within each frequency condition, two conditions of event intensity (high and low) were applied. Additionally, participants were randomly assigned to either fair or unfair situations. The findings indicated that frequent exposure to fair procedures had a positive impact on perceived procedural justice, underscoring the significance of maintaining fair practices for employee perceptions of justice. Conversely, the intensity of the event significantly influenced judgments of procedural justice. Unfair procedures in high-importance events could negatively affect employees’ perceptions of procedural justice. The study also revealed that specific combinations of procedural justice rules seemed to be applied based on the interaction of fairness, frequency, and intensity. Based on these findings, managers and supervisors should not overlook seemingly insignificant daily practices, as their cumulative effect can significantly affect employee perceptions of procedural justice.

The Relationship of Overall Justice to Flourishing and Job Performance: The Moderating Role of Materialism


We propose and test a new conceptual model in which overall justice is an antecedent to personal flourishing. Flourishing, in turn, partially mediates the relationship of overall justice to job performance and organizational citizenship behaviors directed toward individuals (OCB-I). These hypotheses are confirmed. However, high materialism weakens the relationship between overall justice and flourishing. Consequently, the mediated effects of justice on performance and OCB-I are moderated by materialism. In short, materialism sets limits on overall justice as an antecedent of flourishing and effective work behaviors.

Procedural Justice and the Design of Administrative Dispute Resolution Procedures


Are certain characteristics of dispute resolution procedures associated with higher levels of procedural justice? We address this question through a quantitative analysis of real-world experiences of 194 professional legal representatives with the objection procedures of 81 Dutch administrative authorities. In our analysis, two general procedural characteristics are taken into account: the involvement of an independent third party and the extent to which the procedure is focused on the conciliation of competing interests. The involvement of an independent third party was not associated with higher levels of procedural justice. Procedures that were perceived to be more focused on the conciliation of competing interests were evaluated as more procedurally just, even more so in disputes where the administrative authority was perceived to have a higher degree of discretion and in disputes that ended in a negative result for the litigant.

When is Affirmative Action Fair? Answers from a Hypothetical Survey Experiment


In this paper, we provide evidence on attitudes toward indirect past-in-present educational discrimination (i.e., educational discrimination that took place in the past but has a negative impact on the current employment opportunities of the discriminated against workers). We use an original vignette-based hypothetical survey experiment and collect data from a representative sample of the US population. We find that a significant majority of respondents support costly compensation for past educational discrimination. Moreover, we find that respondents are as sensitive to indirect past-in-present educational discrimination as they are to present-day employment discrimination. We point out that the causal effects on attitudes are stronger for the intentionality of discrimination than for its financial consequences for the discriminated group. Finally, attitudes appear to be driven more by respondents' political perspective than by their own actual identity.

Does the Empowering Function of the Belief in a Just World Generalise? Broad-base Cross-sectional and Longitudinal Evidence


The empowering function of the belief in a just world for the self (BJW-self) has been suggested as one mechanism by which BJW-self promotes positive psychological functioning for the individual. In this investigation we seek to understand if this empowerment function generalises to a broad range of positive and negative psychological variables and whether the function can be observed outside of tightly controlled experimental designs. We use a mix of cross-sectional and longitudinal designs (N = 840) to test these aspects of the empowerment function. In Sample 1 we find support for the positive indirect effect of BJW-self on life satisfaction, optimism, and resilience through empowerment. Similarly, BJW-self has a negative indirect effect on depression, anxiety, and stress through empowerment. These findings are broadly replicated in Sample 2. A subsample of Sample 1 completed measures again after one year (Subsample 3) allowing for a longitudinal test of the empowerment function. Findings provide mixed support for the empowering contribution of BJW-self to adaptive outcomes over time. Theoretical implications are discussed, as well as the important methodological and measurement issues that require attention for the individual differences study of BJW to progress effectively.

Correction to: The Organizational Underpinnings of Social Justice Theory Development

Experimental and Longitudinal Investigations of the Causal Relationship Between Belief in a Just World and Subjective Well-Being


Belief in a just world (BJW) has been assumed to promote subjective well-being. The results of cross-sectional studies have been consistent with this assumption but inconclusive about the causal origins of the correlations. Correia et al. (2009a) experimentally tested the original hypothesis (BJW causes subjective well-being) against the alternative hypothesis (subjective well-being causes BJW) and found support for both. Our Study 1 comprised four experiments that repeated and extended Correia et al.’s (2009a) experiments and fully replicated their findings. Study 2 reanalyzed a longitudinal data set regarding the interrelationships of several variants of BJW and subjective well-being. Cross-lagged panel analyses revealed very weak support for the original hypothesis and a little but not much more support for the alternative hypothesis. Taken together, the findings from both studies are consistent with Correia et al.’s (2009a) findings and suggest that the causal relationship between BJW and SWB is bidirectional in nature.

The Dark Side of Meritocratic Beliefs: Is Believing in Meritocracy Detrimental to Individuals from Low Socioeconomic Backgrounds?


Individuals’ perceptions of how the path toward success is built might affect their choices and behaviors. This study examines whether holding meritocratic beliefs has heterogeneous effects on the long-term socioeconomic outcomes of individuals from different SES. I argue that, when the hurdles faced by the less privileged groups during their educational and labor market trajectories clash with their meritocratic beliefs, the generated frustration and low self-efficacy will affect their decisions and their performance, which eventually may impact their socioeconomic outcomes. Using German longitudinal data and siblings' fixed effects, results reveal that individuals from low socioeconomic backgrounds who hold strong meritocratic beliefs during their adolescence are more likely to have a precarious work situation when they are adults, as well as less likely to be fully working. This effect is reversed or non-existent for those from high socioeconomic status. These results open new paths to explore the crucial effect that societal discourses praising the meritocratic ideal could have on individuals from more deprived socioeconomic backgrounds.

Thoughts on Educational Justice: Can Poor Students be Privileged?

The Role of Structure-Seeking in Moral Punishment


Four studies (total N = 1586) test the notion that people are motivated to punish moral rule violators because punishment offers a way to obtain structure and order in the world. First, in a correlational study, increased need for structure was associated with the stronger endorsement punishment for moral rule violators. This relationship between need for structure and punishment was not driven by political conservatism. Three experimental studies then tested, and corroborated, our main causal hypotheses: that threats to structure increase punitive judgments for moral rule violators (i.e., a compensatory mechanism; Study 2) and that a lack of punishment for wrongdoing (relative to punishment for wrongdoing) makes the world seem less structured in the moment (Studies 3 and 4). We compare and contrast our structure-based account of moral punishment to other theories and findings across the punishment literature.

Correction to: Confusing the Expression of Social Norms and Justice Motivation

On the Road to Justice: Some Selected Suggestions for the Future of Social Justice Research


In this paper, several aspects of social justice research are reviewed to analyze the current state of the field and to suggest refinements and new directions. The micro–macro-levels problem is discussed, including the policy of affirmative action. A canon of relevant philosophers is proposed. The strong influence of justice principles on social change research, search conferences and group interventions are demonstrated. The information value of social justice theories can be strengthened in several ways. Expanded information value implies increased effectiveness of advice and interventions. Possibilities to integrate justice criteria in total quality management are discussed. Contemporary quality management focuses on triple-P criteria: people, planet, profit, highly relevant for basic and applied justice research. The current state of the social justice discipline is rather good, but there is room for improvement. Finally, interdisciplinary research is the future, in particular for studies to solve complex societal and global problems.

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