How Should We Distribute Rewards in Social Sustainable Organizations? Investigating Individual Preferences for Justice Allocation Norms

Natàlia Cugueró-Escofet and Marion Fortin

The fair allocation of scarce resources is an important ethical and practical problem for sustainable organizations. Research has typically focused on the perceived equity of distributions to the neglect of alternative justice norms governing allocation, such as equality or need. In the present paper, we address this gap by considering people to differ in their preferences for allocation norms.

In four studies, we developed and validated an instrument that captures individual preferences for equity of input, equity of output, equality, need, and status. Our data suggest that people differentiate between these five allocation norms and that they are consistent in their preferences over time. We present recommendations for research and organizational practice, which can benefit from a deeper understanding of employees’ and other stakeholders’ preferences for specific allocation norms. Finally, considering different norm choices also links organizational-psychological research on organizational justice and social sustainability with philosophical debates about value choices in organizations.

Keywords: equity; equality; allocation norms; justice; sustainable organizations; distribution principles

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Article in Sustainability
February 2022