Organizational justice in an Arab context: a mixed methods study
Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis
This work explored the criteria that individuals in the Arab context use to form perceptions of organizational justice and the dimensionality of justice, to develop and validate an indigenous measure of Arab organizational justice. Justice or fairness has concerned social and organizational scientists for a considerable time, but although Arab countries control a substantial portion of global resources and their culture differs substantially from Western societies in fundamental aspects, such as power distance and collectivism, the construct and dimensions of justice have been developed in western countries, particularly the United States. Cross-cultural research has shown national variations in forming and reacting to organizational justice. As with many social science and management constructs, perceptions of justice cannot be assumed to be invariant across cultures. As culture concerns common perceptions regarding fundamental issues, cultural characteristics tend to affect perceptions of fairness, the criteria used to judge fairness and the dimensionality of organizational justice. Societies with substantially different cultural features may have evolved different ways of perceiving fairness. Globalization has led to firms with multicultural workforces operating in multiple national locations, therefore differences across cultures in perceptions of justice must be considered. This thesis comprises three pragmatic phases: the first developed a model of justice and generated items representing the construct of organizational justice in the Arab context, while the second and third examined its validity and measured the relationships between aspects of justice and a number of attitudinal and behavioural outcomes. In the first phase, qualitative data from 52 employees on their experiences of unfair treatment in their organizations was analyzed and 75 items were collected. In the second, the results of the exploratory factor analysis provided an initial understanding of organizational justice in the Arab context. The third examined the relationships between organizational justice and other related theoretical constructs in a nomological network in the Arab context. The results showed that six factors of perceived fairness in the Arab context provide excellent fit, including fairness of policies, distributive fairness, procedural fairness, informational fairness, eastern interpersonal fairness and interpersonal fairness western). The findings also supported recent interest in modelling overall justice as a second-order construct for justice sub-dimensions. However, specific justice facets are better predictors of employees' attitudes and behaviours than overall justice. In addition, while these results complement earlier work supporting the existence of etic criteria of organizational fairness (e.g., process control, respect, correctability), indigenous criteria (e.g., need-based allocation, confidentiality, keeping promises, sensitivity and support in supervision, publishing information and avoiding threat and personal revenge) were found to be important causes of fairness perceptions and possibly unique to the Arab cultural context. Therefore, it is essential not to rely on the narrow set of justice rules in established measures when studying justice in the Arab context.Also, similarities and differences regarding the effects of organizational justice were found and discussed.
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