Fairness Perceptions as a Moderator in the Curvilinear Relationships Between Job Demands, and Job Performance and Job Satisfaction

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'^ Acadaniy of Managemtint lournal
2001. Vol. 44, No. 5, 1039-lOSO.

FAIRNESS PERCEPTIONS AS A MODERATOR IN THE CURVILINEAR
RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN JOB DEMANDS, AND JOB
PERFORMANCE AND JOB SATISFACTION
ONNE JANSSEN
University of Groningen
Activation theory suggests that intermediate rather than low or high levels of quantitative job demands beneflt job performance and job satisfaction among managers. Using an equity theory framework, I hypothesize that perceptions of effort-reward fairness moderate these inverted U-shaped demand-response relationships. In support of this hypothesis, survey results demonstrate that managers who perceive effortreward fairness perform better and feel more satisfied in response to intermediate levels of job demands than managers who perceive "underreward unfairness." Job demands on management employees typically constitute a broad variety of role obligations. Yukl. Wall, and Lepsinger (1990) identified no

fewer than 14 categories of management behaviors:
informing, consulting, planning and organizing,
problem solving, clarifying, monitoring, motivating, recognizing, supporting, conflict management end team building, networking, delegating, rewarding, and mentoring. All these actions are assumed to be required of managers ranging from first-line

supervisors to CEOs, althougb their relative importance differs by organizational level (Hogan, Curpby, & Hogan, 1994). An intriguing question is how the amount of job
demands imposed on managers affects their behavioral and affective responses. According to activation theory, tbere will be inverted U-shaped relationships between job demands and both job performance and job satisfaction (Gardner, 1986;

Gardner & Gummings, 1988; Scott, 1966). That is,
an increase in job demands is assumed to be beneficial for job performance and job satisfaction to, but not beyond, a certain level; after attainment of
that optimum level of job demands, job performance and job satisfaction should start to decline. Activation theory has been modified to account for
empirical findings that individual differences in
extraversion and electrodermal lability moderate
the curvilinear effects of job design on physiological, behavioral, and affective responses of job performers (Gardner, 1986; Gardner & Gummings, 1988). Unfortunately, little is known about the
job-contextual factors that moderate curvilinear re-

lationships. Recent research has only started exploring how curvilinear relationships between variations in job design and job performer responses are shaped by work context conditions such as pay and supervisory satisfaction (Cbampoux, 1992) and demands-ability fit (Xie & fohns, 1995). Ghampoux (1992) found several different

moderating effects, especially of pay satisfaction, at
low and high levels of job scope. Examples of these
moderating effects are a negative enhancement effect (people doing low-scope jobs provided lower affective responses when pay satisfaction was also
low); a compensatory effect (people doing lowscope jobs provided higher affective responses when pay satisfaction was high; and a positive
enhancement effect (people doing high-scope jobs
provided higher affective responses when pay satisfaction was also high). The context of pay satisfaction had little effect in the middle range of job scope. Xie and Johns (1995) found that a job holder's perceptions of the fit between job demands and his or her ability (demands-ability fit) moderated

the U-shaped curvilinear relationship between job
scope and stress. That is, people with high-scope
jobs who perceived demands-ability fit experienced less exhaustion and anxiety than those perceiving misfit. The purpose of this study was to contribute to the
literature on moderating job-contextual influences
by examining the effect of perceptions of fairness
on curvilinear demand-response relationships.
More specifically, taking an equity theory perspective (Adams, 1963, 1965), I...
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