Fairness at work: its impacts on employee well-being
While for decades, fairness at work has been an important research topic in the field of organizational behavior, only recently has fairness gained attention among occupational stress researchers. In the last few years, a small but growing literature has found associations between a lack of fairness at work and a decline in employee health indicated by lower self-rated health status, increased sick leave, and more psychiatric disorders. In spite of the increasing attention to fairness, the literature has not yet established a framework to link work environment, fairness at work, and employee health and well-being. This study proposes an integrative framework, identifies the underlying structure of fairness at work, and examines the role of fairness at work in the occupational stress process. Employees at furniture company distribution centers participated in the study (n = 357). They completed self-administered questionnaires in their worksites. Fairness at work was measured with items derived from interviews with another group of employees in a previous study. Traditionally studied constructs in occupational stress research (job stressors, job control, social support) and employee well-being variables (job satisfaction, global job strain, psychological well-being) were also measured. Confirmatory factor analysis and linear regression were conducted to analyze the data. Five highly correlated factors were identified for fairness at work: unbiased and respectful treatment of employees, receptivity to employee voice, recognition of employee efforts, willingness to help with problems/special circumstances, and concern about employee well-being. A sixth factor, fairness perception about wages, was also identified. A lack of perceived fairness was negatively associated with employee well-being. This study also found that perceived fairness at work moderates the relationship between workload and job strain; that is, high workload was associated with high strain only when perceived fairness was low. In addition, fairness mediated the relationship between role conflict and job-related well-being. These findings have implications for workplace interventions. Since this was a cross-sectional study, the causal link implied in the analysis needs to be confirmed with longitudinal studies. Nevertheless, the findings show that fairness at work potentially plays an important role in understanding occupational stress and in enhancing employee well-being.
School:The Ohio State University
School Location:USA - Ohio
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Keywords:fairness at work organizational justice occupational stress social support job satisfaction psychological well being
Date of Publication:01/01/2005