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Identity and Fairness Judgments 1 Self-Regulatory Identity Theory and Reactions Toward Fairness Enhancing Organizational Policies

By Karl Aquino, Marcus M. Stewart and Debra L. Shapiro


In this paper we develop a model that explains how dual attitudes towards certain groups influence peoples ’ fairness judgments of social policies designed to assist members of these groups. The model emphasizes the role of identity driven processes that either neutralize or reinforce the link between negative implicit attitudes and fairness judgments by influencing the expansiveness of a person’s scope of justice. We operationalize the model using examples of different identities and conclude with theoretical and practical implications. Identity and Fairness Judgments 3 Organizations frequently implement policies designed to achieve social fairness amongst groups, or macrojustice. Examples include Affirmative Action (AA), family-friendly work policies, special mentoring for minority employees, and set-aside programs for hiring the handicapped or elderly. All of these policies are intended to improve the circumstances of certain groups of employees, but by doing so they may negatively impact the outcomes and opportunities for other employee groups. As a result, such policies can sometimes generate feelings of injustice and resentment that can undermine their implementation. If managers and other stakeholders view the achievement of macrojustice as an important goal, then it seems important to understand how potential non-beneficiaries of justice-enhancing policies evaluate their social fairness because such judgments can determine whether they will support or oppose such policies. In this chapter, we theorize that fairness judgments made by those who do not benefit from fairness-enhancing policies, and who may also perceive themselves as being disadvantaged by such policies, are partly influenced by their attitudes toward those groups who do benefit. The idea that attitudes towards certain groups can influence peoples ’ reactions to policies that benefit other groups is not new. For example, peoples ’ attitudes towards African-Americans and women have been found to affect fairness judgments about macrojustice-oriented policie

Year: 2011
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