Evaluation of outcome improvement resulting from threats and appeals

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In a simulated industrial setting 90 college students performed a clerical task, believing that their pay was being determined by a peer allocator. After being treated inequitably, Ss were able either to threaten the (fictitious) allocator or appeal to fairness principles, or they had no say (“mute” condition). During a 2nd series of pay periods, Ss' pay either remained constant, improved such that they and the allocator received equal shares, or improved such that Ss received more than the allocator (“comprehension” condition). The total pay was identical in all conditions and created a context of overall inequity. Increased satisfaction and perceived fairness were observed with improved outcomes in both the mute and the threat conditions. In the appeal conditions, satisfaction and perceived fairness were highest in the equality cell. Results are interpreted in terms of relative deprivation. Implications for responses of recipients in ameliorative social programs are presented. (22 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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