How do individuals form fairness perceptions? This question has been central to the fairness literature sinceits inception, sparking a plethora of theories and a burgeoning volume of research. To date, the answer to thisquestion has been predicated on the assumption that fairness perceptions are subjective (i.e., “in the eye of thebeholder”). This assumption is shared with motivated cognition approaches, which highlight the subjectivenature of perceptions and the importance of viewing individuals arriving at those perceptions as active andmotivated processors of information. Further, the motivated cognition literature has other key insights thathave been less explicitly paralleled in the fairness literature, including how different goals (e.g., accuracy,directional) can influence how individuals process information and arrive at their perceptions. In thisintegrative conceptual review, we demonstrate how interpreting extant theory and research related to theformation of fairness perceptions through the lens of motivated cognition can deepen our understanding offairness, including how individuals’ goals and motivations can influence their subjective perceptions offairness. We show how this approach can provide integration as well as generate new insights into fairnessprocesses. We conclude by highlighting the implications that applying a motivated cognition perspective canhave for the fairness literature and by providing a research agenda to guide the literature moving forward.
Motivated Cognition, Fairness, Organisational Justice, Perceptions
Cognition and Perception | Organizational Behavior and Theory
Organisational Behaviour and Human Resources
Journal of Applied Psychology
American Psychological Association
BARCLAY, Laurie J.; BASHSHUR, Michael Ramsay; and FORTIN, Marion.
Motivated cognition and fairness: Insights, integration, and creating a path forward. (2017). Journal of Applied Psychology. 102, (6), 867-889. Research Collection Lee Kong Chian School Of Business.
Available at: http://ink.library.smu.edu.sg/lkcsb_research/5252
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.