All students are asked to identify the outcome of the case for the focal
person and the referent—that is, the referent received the promotion while
the focal person did not. At this point, we place these outcomes on the
board or visual display as the numerator of the equity equation. Second,
students are asked to identify the respective inputs of the focal person and
referent. These inputs are placed in the denominator area of the equation as
they are generated during the discussion. In both conditions, the focal
person has worked for the company 2 years longer than the referent and has
completed a business degree. Furthermore, the focal person possesses substantial
skills in financial management, has developed the expansion plan,
and has presented the plan to investors. The referent, in contrast, has less
tenure and has only completed a portion of her degree. However, the referent
possesses substantial skills in negotiation and conflict management, has
served as assistant to the focal person in developing the expansion plan, and
has defended the plan during the presentation. We generally arrive at a representation
of inequity similar to that depicted in Table 1.
After the students have analyzed the situation, they may be asked to raise
their hands if they felt that they were unfairly treated in the exercise. We
often find that despite the apparent inequity, more students in the unfair
procedures condition raise their hands than in the fair procedures condition.
With role-play administration, almost all students raise their hands as they
have not been exposed to procedural justice variations. (As noted in a later
section, the equity of the situation is somewhat ambiguous to justify the
decision from the employer’s point of view.)
Stecher, Rosse / MOTIVATION THEORY MODULE 785
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