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Healing or harmful?: a multi-method investigation of talk as a victim-centred response to organisational injustice

Dhensa-Kahlon, Rashpal (2014) Healing or harmful?: a multi-method investigation of talk as a victim-centred response to organisational injustice. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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Organisational justice is dedicated to the study of perceptions of fairness within the workplace. Hundreds of studies converge on the notion that justice matters, such that profound negative implications arise when individuals perceive unfairness. Previous research has sought to manage and repair violations of fairness through three distinct means: managerial excuses and justifications, training interventions for managers, and remedies distributed by the organisation. There is an ironic shortcoming with this research: it ignores the victim who is at the centre of an injustice. Herein lies the starting point of the present thesis. Putting the victim back into the forefront of justice research, this thesis examines the role of a victim of workplace injustice in their own recovery process. It asks: can victims recover from the negative effects of a fairness violation, and more specifically, can talk, that is, conversation with others, aid such a recovery process? Recovery is defined as the emotional, cognitive and behavioural journey an individual goes through in order to work towards a resolution to their experience: it is a victim’s ongoing efforts to manage an injustice. Three empirical studies sought to examine if, when and how talk can assist victims with recovery, drawing on research within the justice literature as well as clinical and social psychology. Study 1, a mixed-methods design, provided support for the presence of talk in the context of workplace injustice, and led to the creation of a new measure of talk to reflect this. Study 2, a twice repeated cross-sectional survey, uncovered antecedents and consequences of talk; anger and thwarted justice needs were found to trigger talk, with an interaction between emotion and cognition talk driving victim-centred outcomes of rumination, self-affirmation and active solutions. Study 3, a ten-day daily diary investigation, found support for the notion that talk leads to positive recovery outcomes for victims of injustice. Contributions of this thesis, as well as implications and avenues for future research are discussed.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2014 Rashpal K. Dhensa-Kahlon
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
Sets: Departments > Employment Relations and Organisational Behaviour Group
Departments > Management
Supervisor: Coyle-Shapiro, Jacqueline A-M.

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