A central tenet of justice theory and research is that people prefer decisions to be made with processes that adhere to principles of fairness. The present research identified a boundary condition for this general tendency. Across three studies, we found that people who experienced non-contingent success had less of a desire for fair processes relative to their counterparts who experienced contingent success. Furthermore, results attributable to other independent variables, namely regulatory focus in Study 2 and self-affirmation in Study 3, shed light on the underlying mechanism: people experience non-contingent success as self-threatening and lower their desire for processes that adhere to fairness in the service of protecting themselves against the threat. Theoretical implications are discussed as are limitations of the studies and suggestions for future research.
Siegel, P., Joel Brockner, B. Wiesenfeld, and Z. Liu. "Non-contingent success reduces people's desire for processes that adhere to principles of fairness." Social Justice Research 29, no. 4 (December 2016): 375-401.
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