by Tami Tanoue, CIRSA General Counsel/Claims Manager
You probably saw or heard recently the sensational headline that begins this article. While this study received wide media coverage, few of the reports actually provided any details. It turns out to have been a scholarly examination of the effect on employee health of injustice or perceived injustice at work. The study provides some insights on the management and supervisory environment that can lead to unhealthy stressors in the workplace.
The Study Results
The study, published in the October 24, 2005 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine, surveyed 6442 male British civil servants aged 35 to 55 years without prevalent coronary heart disease (CHD). The researchers found a clear association between employees’ perception of a just and fair workplace and a decreased incidence of coronary heart disease. In men who perceived a high level of justice, the risk of CHD was 30% lower than among those who perceived a low or an intermediate level of justice.
According to the researchers, this finding was not accounted for by baseline factors such as age, ethnicity, marital status, educational attainment, socioeconomic position, cholesterol level, obesity, hypertension, smoking, alcohol consumption, and physical activity. The association between the level of justice and CHD was also independent of other psychosocial factors at work.
The Study Questions
While this result is certainly interesting, and filled with implications from the standpoint of employee wellness, equally interesting were the questions that were used to measure employee perceptions of a just workplace. The key survey questions were:
These study questions provide some insights into the management and supervisory behaviors that can lead to employee perceptions that the workplace is a just or unjust one. Of course, some employees perceptions just can’t be altered despite reality, but doing all you can to provide both the perception and reality of a just workplace is a worth.
Providing a Fair and Just Workplace
Here are some issues to consider in gauging and increasing the level of “justice” in your workplace.
Join our email list