Research Magazine 2016

The Development of Middle Managers’ Justice Perceptions

Lee Macenczak, Amy Henley and Stacy Campbell Coles Working Paper Series, SPRING16-04, March 2016

Overview Prior research in the field of organizational justice primarily focused on specific justice dimensions and their impact on individual workers. This study takes a new direction by examining justice perceptions in middle managers, a previously unexamined group. Middle management is critical to the organization, their “linking pin” role being to simultaneously representing the interests of the organization and of their subordinates. As organizations have become flatter and more decentralized, the middle management group has taken on more responsibilities, allowing them to influence the organization in a variety of ways. Previous research indicates that the middle management groups’ perceptions, behaviors, and interactions can influence both employees and senior leaders. Because justice perceptions are strongly linked to key organizational behaviors and attitudes, understanding how middle managers’ perceptions are influenced can give organizations insights into how to keep this valuable group committed to the organization’s strategies and initiatives. This research utilizes two studies to examine how managers’ agreement with decision outcomes and how employee perceptions of procedural justice impact the managers’ perceptions of distributive, procedural, and overall justice in situations where upper management decisions only indirectly impact the manager. Results indicate that decision agreement and employee justice perceptions influence managers’ justice perceptions.

24 | Coles Working Paper

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