The Fair Process Effect in the Classroom

silhouette-3267887_960_720.png[We’re pleased to welcome authors Thomas M. Tripp of Washington State University, Lixin Jiang of the University of Auckland, Kristine Olson of Dixie State University, and Maja Graso of the University of Otago. They recently published an article in the Journal of MarketingEducation entitled “The Fair Process Effect in the Classroom: Reducing the Influence of Grades on Student Evaluations of Teachers“, which is currently free to read for a limited time. Below, Dr. Tripp recounts the motivation for this research.]

JME(D)_72ppiRGB_powerpoint.jpgAs a justice scholar, I’ve been studying workplace and consumer revenge for some time now.  As some kind of revenge “expert,” my colleagues often ask me what kinds of revenge exist in the classroom, specifically how students might get even with instructors.  Before I usually can answer, faculty quickly comment that, obviously, students get even with instructors for low, “unfair” grades by giving their instructors lower scores on the end-of-course student evaluations of teaching (SET).  Moreover, the same faculty lament that this effect must be large, and that there is nothing they can do about it, other than to grade more leniently.  This, apparently, is the common wisdom.  My coauthors, Lixin Jiang, Kristine Olson and Maja Graso, and I thought we should test this common wisdom.

We began the test first by examining what the actual correlation is between students’ grades and the SETs they complete.  At my business school, we looked at every SET in every course over three years.  The correlation between SET and grades (actually, the grade students expect to receive when they complete the SET at the end of the term) was only r = .22.  Much smaller than common wisdom suggested.  But that was just one sample, so we read the vast literate on grades and SET to find that this correlation was at the low end – typically such correlations range from .10 to as high as .47.

Given that the correlation is real, what can instructors do about it?  The justice literature in the management field offered an idea.  Specifically, a well-replicated finding in organizations is that employees don’t react negatively to bad and “unfair” outcomes (e.g., being denied a promotion, a lower than expected raise) as long as they perceive the decision-making processes (e.g., how management decides to give raises and promotions) to be fair.  This phenomenon is known as the “fair process effect.”  Given the robustness of the fair process effect in the organizational setting, we wondered if it would work in the classroom setting.  Specifically, we hypothesized and tested whether students would not get even with instructors on SETs for low grades, as long as the students perceived that their instructors used fair grading processes, such as following their own syllabi, using grading rubrics, and grading blindly.

This is exactly what we found.  When students perceived that their instructors used fair grading processes, the correlation between grades and SET was eliminated (in our sample); conversely, when students perceived that instructors used unfair grading processes, the correlation was amplified.

We hope this finding is useful.  We think that as long as instructors use transparently fair procedures in their courses, they need not fear the grades-SET association, and therefore they need not react superficially to pressure for maintaining high teaching evaluations, such as by grading more leniently.  Instead, instructors may confidently give students the grades they deserve.

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Scale Photo attributed to Free-Photos (CC)

Do Applicant Reactions to Selection Systems Matter? Let Us Count the Ways…

16719524657_06f8bd29de_z[We’re pleased to welcome Talya Bauer of Portland State University. Talya recently published an article in Group & Organization Management with co-authors Udo Konradt, Yvonne Garbers, Martina Boge, and Berrin Erdogan, entitled “Antecedents and Consequences of Fairness Perceptions in Personnel Selection: A 3-Year Longitudinal Study”]

  • So just what are applicant reactions and why should you care?

Applicant reactions refer to a class of perceptions that job applicants experience as they go through the selection process. It is posited that how employees feel about the job application process, and particularly their perceptions of fair treatment, relate to outcomes organizations care about, such as a lower likelihood of withdrawing one’s candidacy, more positive attitudes toward the employer, accepting the job offer, referring others to apply to the company, purchasing a company’s products, and lower likelihood of employment-related lawsuits.

In terms of research, applicant reactions really began in the 1980s. The topic gained traction in the 1990’s after the publication of Stephen Gilliland’s (1993) classic theory article on the topic. Following this model, and others which emerged around this time, researchers began studying the topic and found that procedural justice (aka the fairness of the processes used to make decisions) and distributive justice (aka the GOM_Feb_2016.inddfairness of what outcome you get) influenced how attractive employers were seen and how likely job candidates said they were to refer the employer to others and to take a job with the employer if offered one.

The following decade included a bit of a backlash against applicant reactions research with scholars debating how much it mattered and how long the effects of applicant reactions actually last. It was not until 2013 when we started to see strong evidence that applicant reactions do matter beyond pre-entry attitudes. McCarthy and colleagues (2013) found that reactions affected test scores which in turn influenced job performance in a variety of settings using both predictive and concurrent designs. However, it still was not clear that there was a direct relationship between applicant reactions and on-the-job performance.

A current study, “Antecedents and consequences of procedural justice perceptions in personnel selection: A three-year longitudinal study” by Udo Konradt, Yvonne Garbers, Martina Weber of the University of Kiel and two of us (Berrin Erdogan and Talya Bauer), which is in press at Group & Organization Management followed job candidates for an apprenticeship program of a large German industrial firm across three years. What was found was fascinating.  Perceptions of fairness that applicants felt during the testing and hiring process related to job offer acceptance as well as job performance at 18 months. At 36 months post-entry, no relationship existed. Performance included both written job knowledge and performing specific job tasks. This finding is consistent with work on new employee socialization which finds that different perceptions and aspects of adjustment matter differentially over time (Bauer & Erdogan, 2011).

  • So, what does this mean for employers and researchers?

Labor markets ebb and flow but what does not change is the competition for the best talent available. These individuals are always in demand and early applicant reactions research finds that it is the best applicants for whom applicant reactions matter the most. For example, Rynes and colleagues (1991) found that when applicants did not hear back from employers, it was the strongest applicants who had the most negative reactions. In total, we now know that applicant reactions matter across the job search spectrum as well as beyond. At least for apprentices, on-the-job performance was related to perceptions of fairness 18 months earlier. This opens up the door for researchers to continue to examine the larger constellation of factors associated with applicant reactions. It also offers a lever for organizations to enhance the perception of their employment brand and selection systems by systematically working through the types of procedural justice factors that matter to improve their brand.

You can read “Antecedents and Consequences of Fairness Perceptions in Personnel Selection: A 3-Year Longitudinal Study” from Group & Organization Management free for the next two weeks by clicking here. Want to know all about the latest research from Group & Organization ManagementClick here to sign up for e-alerts!

*Image credited to Nazareth College (CC)

References

Bauer, T. N., & Erdogan, B. (2011).  Organizational socialization:  The effective onboarding of new employees.  In S. Zedeck, H. Aguinis, W. Cascio, M. Gelfand, K. Leung, S. Parker, & J. Zhou (Eds.).  APA Handbook of I/O Psychology, Volume III, pp. 51-64.  Washington, DC:  APA Press.

Chan, D., & Schmitt, N. (2004).  An agenda for future research on applicant reactions to selection procedures: A construct-oriented approach. International Journal of Selection and Assessment, 12, 9-23.

Gilliland, S. J. (1993) The perceived fairness of selection systems: An organizational justice perspective. Academy of Management Review, 18, 694-734.

McCarthy, J. M., Van Iddekinge, C. H., Lievens, F., Kung, M.-C., Sinar, E. F., & Campion, M. A. (2013). Do candidate reactions relate to job performance or affect criterion-related validity? A multistudy investigation of relations among reactions, selection test scores, and job performance. Journal of Applied Psychology, 98, 701-719.

Ryan, A. M., & Ployhart, R. E. (2000). Applicants’ perceptions of selection procedures and decisions. Journal of Management, 26, 565-606.

Rynes, S. L., Bretz, R. D., & Gerhart, B. (1991). The importance of recruiting in job choice: A different way of looking. Personnel Psychology, 44, 487-521.


Talya Bauer photo 2015Talya N. Bauer (Ph.D., Purdue University) is the Cameron Professor of Management and Affiliated Professor of Psychology at Portland State University. She is an award-winning teacher and researcher and recipient of the SIOP Distinguished Teaching Award as well as the Academy of Management Human Resource division’s Innovations in Teaching Award. She conducts research about relationships at work including recruitment, applicant reactions to selection, onboarding, and leadership. Her work has been supported by grants from both the SHRM and SIOP Foundations and has been published in research outlets such as the Academy of Management Journal, Academy of Learning and Education Journal, Journal of Applied Psychology, Journal of Management, and Personnel Psychology. She has worked with dozens of government, Fortune 1000, and start-up organizations and has been a Visiting Scholar in France, Spain, and at Google Headquarters. She has served in elected positions including the HRM Executive Committee of the Academy of Management and Member-at-Large for SIOP. She currently serves as an Associate Editor for the Journal of Applied Psychology (and is the former Editor of Journal of Management). Her work has been discussed in the New York Times, BusinessWeek, Wall Street Journal, Harvard Business Review, USA Today, and NPR’s All Things Considered.  She is a fellow of the SIOP, the American Psychological Association, and Association for Psychological Science.

BerrinErdogan

Berrin Erdogan (Ph.D., University of Illinois at Chicago) is Express Employment Professionals Professor of Management and Affiliated Professor of Psychology at Portland State University. She conducts studies exploring factors that lead to engagement, well-being, effectiveness, and retention in the workplace, with a focus on manager-employee relationships and underemployment. These studies took place in a variety of industries including manufacturing, clothing and food retail, banking, health care, education, and information technology in the USA, Turkey, India, China, France, and Vietnam. Her work appeared in journals including Academy of Management Journal, Journal of Applied Psychology, Journal of Management, and Personnel Psychology and has been discussed in media outlets including the New York Times, Harvard Business Review, and the Oregonian. Dr. Erdogan has been a visiting scholar in Koç University (Istanbul, Turkey), ALBA Business School at the American College of Greece, and University of Valencia (Spain). In addition to serving on numerous editorial boards, she currently serves as an Associate Editor for Personnel Psychology, served as an Associate Editor for European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology and is the co-editor of the forthcoming title Oxford Handbook of Leader-Member Exchange. She is a fellow of SIOP.

Prof. Dr. Udo KonradtUdo Konradt is full professor of work, organizational, and market psychology at Kiel University, Germany. He holds a doctoral degree in Psychology from the University of Bochum. He has published on information systems and Human Resource Management issues in several academic journals.

Yvonne Garbers

Yvonne Garbers is an assistant professor at Kiel University, Germany. She holds a PhD in work and organizational psychology (Kiel University). Her current research interests include (destructive) leadership, shared leadership, team-member exchange, and work-family interference.

Martina Boge finished her Major studies in Psychology at the University of Leipzig. She has worked as consultant and human resource manager for several years.

mccarthy_picJulie M. McCarthy (Ph.D., Western University) is an Associate Professor in the Department of Management and Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto. Julie’s research examines how organizations can ensure that their policies and practices are viewed favorably by job applicants and employees. She also investigates strategies that individuals can use to reduce anxiety, build resilience and achieve success in their work and home lives. Her work is published in leading academic journals, including the Journal of Applied Psychology, Personnel Psychology, and Psychological Science, as well as book chapters in the influential Oxford Handbook Series. Her work is generously supported by funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), and she has received numerous awards and recognitions for her research contributions. Julie’s work has also received a considerable amount of media attention. In the corporate sector, Julie has developed leadership resilience programs, performance management systems and personnel selection tools on behalf public and private corporations.

The Importance of Being Trustworthy

J. Bruce Gilstrap and Brian J. Collins, both of the University of Southern Mississippi, published “The Importance of Being Trustworthy: Trust as a Mediator of the Relationship Between Leader Behaviors and Employee Job Satisfaction” in the May 2012 issue of the Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies. To view other OnlineFirst articles, please click here.

The abstract:

In this study, the authors examined the relationship between leader behaviors and subordinate job satisfaction by adopting the theoretical perspective of the integrative model of trust. The authors hypothesized that one’s trust in their supervisor mediates the relationships of procedural and informational justice and transformational leadership behavior with subordinate job satisfaction. Results from a field sample suggest that trust fully mediates the effects of procedural and informational fairness and transformational leadership on employee job satisfaction. The implications for practice and potential areas of future research are also discussed.

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