Perceptions of procedural justice in the federal government
Rubin, Ellen Valerie
MetadataShow full item record
Procedures guide every action taken by government. Fundamentally, procedures are used to ensure the actions of the bureaucratic state are legitimate and in accordance with the Constitution. They limit the discretion of civil servants both in their dealings with the public and in their interactions with each other. One area in which procedures are shown to be uniquely complex in government is the area of personnel management (Rainey and Bozeman, 2000; Rainey, Facer, and Bozeman, 1995). Especially in the tasks of public personnel management, court-derived procedures, rules imposed by labor contracts, and voluminous policy regulations create the perception that the rules are an unfair limit on management discretion. Many personnel reforms rest on an argument that managers need flexibility to reward high performers, correct or remove poor performers, and that this is accomplished by reducing “red tape.” Unfortunately, these changes are happening without considering the positive psychological value that rules contribute to an organization. Procedural justice perceptions are broadly defined as judgments on the degree to which decisionmaking within an organization is viewed as just and fair (Lind and Tyler, 1988; Cohen-Charash and Spector, 2001; Colquitt, Conlan, Wessen, Porter, and Ng, 2001). These judgments, in turn, impact other attitudes and behaviors of employees such as satisfaction, organizational citizenship behavior, and turnover. This dissertation includes three assessments: to describe the procedural justice perceptions of federal employees, to understand what influences procedural justice perceptions, and to assess how procedural justice perceptions influence other attitudes and behaviors important to organizational effectiveness. On the whole, more federal employees exhibit higher perceptions of procedural justice determinants than exhibit low perceptions. More study is needed on the association between unionization and determinants of procedural justice perceptions. Findings indicate the importance of differentiating between multiple levels of management and suggest that the perceptions of managers will not be entirely consistent with each other. Importantly, procedural justice determinants exhibit a curvilinear relationship with the filing of complaints, and alternative personnel systems appear to decrease the filing of complaints.