Procedural Justice as Autonomy Regulation

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Abstract

The present research investigated the relation between autonomy (i.e., freedom of choice) and procedural justice. Three studies tested the hypothesis that people would be particularly sensitive to the fairness of decision-making procedures when they experience deprivation of autonomy needs. Study 1 indicated that procedural justice judgments indeed were influenced more strongly by variations in decision-making procedures among participants who experienced little autonomy in their life. In Study 2, these findings were conceptually replicated by manipulating whether participants were provided with choice on an issue that was unrelated to the outcomes of the subsequent decision-making process. Study 3 revealed evidence for the hypothesis in a field setting. It is concluded that procedural justice is functional to regulate basic autonomy needs.

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