Hierarchy as a Mediator of Fairness: A Contingency Approach to Distributive Justice in Organizations, Journal of Applied Psychology
Employees of one organization were asked to indicate the fairness of six different ways of allocating a hypothetical lump sum. As expected, the results suggest an overall preference for equity-based allocations. However, the employee's level in the hierarchy was found to mediate perceptions of fairness: upper managers viewed organization-wide equity as being most fair; middle managers saw intra-departmental equity as fairest; and clericals, unable to differentiate between equality and equity, perceived both these principles as being fairest. The results were interpreted in terms of a “contingency” approach to distributive justice which aims at integrating institutional, situational, and individual determinants of fairness.
Lansberg, Ivan. 1984. Hierarchy as a Mediator of Fairness: A Contingency Approach to Distributive Justice in Organizations. Journal of Applied Psychology. 2(14): 124-135.