ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B

Acta Psychologica Sinica ›› 2012, Vol. 44 ›› Issue (12): 1663-1676.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2012.01663

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Organizational Injustice Perception and Workplace Deviance: Mechanisms of Negative Emotion and Traditionality

WANG Yu-Qing;LONG Li-Rong;ZHOU Hao   

  1. (1 School of Management, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan 430074, China) (2 School of Business Administration, Sichuan University, Chengdu 610064, China)
  • Received:2012-04-26 Published:2012-12-25 Online:2012-12-25
  • Contact: LONG Li-Rong

Abstract: Workplace deviance, a negative extra-role behavior, is commonly regarded as detrimental for both employees and organizations in the workplace. Recently, increasing research interests have been raised by western scholars in this area. Workplace deviance has been studied from various perspectives, the most promising one of which is organizational injustice. Accumulating studies have investigated the mechanisms underlie and processes of the relationship between employees’ perceptions of injustice and deviant behaviors. Despite fruitful findings have been obtained from those research based on the social exchange theory, the mechanisms of affect and emotion have long been neglected and under-studied. Drawing upon the Affective Event theory (AET) framework, the present study initially aims to interpret the mediating role of negative emotion played in the relationship between injustice perception and deviant behavior. Additionally, our second objective is to examine the moderating role of traditionality. More importantly, we integrate the moderating and mediating effects in the same framework, and propose that traditionality exerts stronger moderating effect on the second stage of the mediational model, that is, the relationship between negative emotion and deviance behavior. To avoid the common method bias, a paired survey for employees and their co-workers was used. Questionnaire A included scales of organizational justice perception, negative emotion, traditionality, and workplace deviance was appraised on Questionnaire B. The survey was distributed via MBA students and acquaintances. Participants were asked to appraise one of their familiar coworkers (Questionnaire B), and send the Questionnaire A to the target coworker. In total, 341 dyads of employees and their coworkers from 280 enterprises were sampled. Hierarchical Regression Modeling (HRM) and Total Effect Moderation Model with bootstrap methods were used to test the hypotheses. The results of mediating test showed that, negative emotion acted as a mediator between the relationship of both procedural and interpersonal justice with workplace deviance. In addition, results of total effect moderation model analysis suggested that traditionality significantly moderated the relationship between organizational injustice and workplace deviance in such a way that the negative effect of organization justice on deviance behavior was stronger for less traditional employees. Furthermore, results of the integrative analysis of moderation and mediation indicated that, in line with the expectation, the traditionality significantly moderated the positive relationship between negative emotion and deviant behavior. However, the moderating effect was not significant in the first stage of the mediating process. The results indicate that, facing to injustice treatment, employees would experience negative emotions regardless of their traditionality. However, due to the Chinese culture rule, employees with high traditionality are more likely to prohibit their negative expressions like deviance behavior when received unjust treatments. Our findings contribute to the literature in several ways. First, this research offers a new perspective to study the mediating mechanisms underlie the relationship between justice and workplace deviance in China, and provides an evidence to the AET in China. Second, our result concerning the moderating effect of traditionality contributes to the moderating mechanism between justice and workplace deviance. More importantly, the integration of the mediating and moderating models provide a more comprehensive and elaborative interpretation of the linkage between justice and deviance.

Key words: Organizational Justice, Negative Emotion, Affective Event Theory, Traditionality, Workplace Deviance