Interactional Justice within an Organisation

In my previous two blogs, I have looked at the two most common (or most recognised) forms of Organisational Justice, Distributive Justice and Procedural Justice; however, an equally important facet, and one that has a natural link with the main facets (particularly Procedural Justice), is ‘Interactional Justice’. This ties in with the whole idea that the role of justice and fairness (such as the courtesy and openness of interpersonal behaviour) in relation to motivation is becoming more prominent.

This blog will specifically look at Interactional Justice within the context of Equal Opportunities and Fair Treatment in an organisation. If your organisation could benefit from tailored Equal Opportunities and Fair Treatment policies, then please do not hesitate to contact one of our advisers in Glasgow or Edinburgh.

What is Interactional Justice?

‘Interactional Justice’ is defined as the “quality of interpersonal treatment received by those working in an organisation, particularly as part of formal decision-making processes” (Susanna Baldwin, Institute for Employment Studies, 2006). Indeed, Interactional Justice has two components: there is the Interpersonal aspect which references the extent to which people are treated with courtesy, dignity, and respect; and the Informational aspect which concerns the extent to which relevant information is shared with employees.

Baldwin also lists the four key aspects of Interactional Justice:

Truthfulness: Information given to the Employee must be realistic and accurate, and presented in an open and forthright manner.

Respect: Employees should be treated with dignity, with no recourse to insults or discourteous behaviour.

Propriety: Questions and statements should never be ‘improper’ or involve prejudicial elements such as racism or sexism.

Justification: When a perceived injustice has occurred, giving a ‘social account’ such as an explanation or an apology can reduce or eliminate the sense of anger generated.

Interactional Justice in the context of Equal Opportunities and Fair Treatment

Why is it important to an organisation? What should they do about it – An organisation can really reinforce the concept of Interactional Justice by implementing and abiding by full and robust Equal Opportunities and Fair Treatment policies.

An Equal Opportunities policy should ensure that individuals are not discriminated against or receive adverse treatment in relation to any of the nine protected characteristics. Moreover, this should apply to all aspects of employment including pay, training, promotion and career development opportunities, access to employee-related benefits, grievance handling, the application of disciplinary procedures, and selection for redundancy. Whilst bearing this in mind, however, the policy should still account for genuine occupational requirements.

In line with an Equal Opportunities policy, a Fair Treatment policy should essentially protect employees who feel that they have not received the dignity and respect that they should receive at work. It should protect employees from bullying, harassment, and victimisation, as well as laying out a procedure which enables employees to raise legitimate concerns in confidence.

Photo Credit: www.verdict.co.uk

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