The effects of participation and feedback favorability on perceptions of fairness, satisfaction, and performance
Thompson, Richard C
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This study examined the effects of participation practices and feedback favorability on perceptions of procedural, distributive, and interactional fairness, as well as satisfaction and performance. Participants worked in five-person groups on two sets of two intellective problems, and on a brainstorming task. Four participation conditions allowed increased control over decision making processes, from no control to both process and decision control. The performance feedback was manipulated to be either favorable or unfavorable for both sets of problems. Perceptions of the fairness of the decision making procedures, satisfaction with the group members and the decision making experience, and performance on the brainstorming task were measured. The results suggested that methods of participation which allow decision control tend to improve perceptions of procedural fairness, when feedback was favorable. When feedback was favorable and input or voice was the only form of control, people perceived less fairness than when they had decision control or no control. The perceived fairness of distributions was not affected by participation. Instead, favorable feedback lead to higher levels of perceived distributive fairness than did unfavorable feedback. Both perceptions of interactional fairness and satisfaction with group members were lowest when the type of participation provided both process and decision control but the feedback was unfavorable. When feedback was favorable, satisfaction with the decision making experience was higher than when feedback was unfavorable. Performance on the brainstorming task that followed repeated feedback was higher for people who had no control on the previous tasks than those who had voice or decision control. This result may have occurred because on the brainstorming task, each person had a direct influence on their outcomes. Overall, the results suggest that methods of participation that increase control tend to lead to higher levels of perceived procedural fairness. This finding may help account for some of the inconsistent findings in the participatory decision making literature.