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Fairness in Virtual Teams: A Construct of E-Organizational Justice

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Abstract

Using organizational justice as a conceptual framework, this chapter discusses the importance of fairness in managing virtual teams. It introduces a new construct, e-organizational justice, defined as employee perceptions of fairness in virtual work environments. The chapter also posits that fairness is essential to building and maintaining the cohesiveness and effectiveness of virtual teams. The chapter ends with a discussion on e-organizational justice's implications for further research and management practice.

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We empirically examine the dynamic nature of trust and the differences between high- and low-performing virtual teams in the changing patterns in cognition- and affect-based trust over time (early, middle, and late stages of project). Using data from 36, four-person MBA student teams from six universities competing in a web-based business simulation game over an 8-week period, we found that both high- and low-performing teams started with similar levels of trust in both cognitive and affective dimensions. However, high-performing teams were better at developing and maintaining the trust level throughout the project life. Moreover, virtual teams relied more on a cognitive than an affective element of trust. These findings provide a preliminary step toward understanding the dynamic nature and relative importance of cognition- and affect-based trust over time.
Article
This article reported the results of 2 studies that examined reactions to procedural justice in teams. Both studies predicted that individual members' reactions would be driven not just by their own procedural justice levels but also by the justice experienced by other team members. Study 1 examined intact student teams, whereas Study 2 occurred in a laboratory setting. The results showed that individual members' own justice interacted with others' justice, such that higher levels of role performance occurred when justice was consistent within the team. These effects were strongest in highly interdependent teams and weakest for members who were benevolent with respect to equity sensitivity.
Article
Justice climates are considered to be an emergent phenomenon, which originates in the cognition, affect and behaviors of individuals, but is amplified by their interactions and manifests itself as a collective construct (see Kozlowski & Klein, 2000). However, researchers have given little attention to the role of social interaction in the convergence of member justice perceptions in teams. Using conversational data from 372 students working in a team business simulation with two levels each of procedural treatment and outcome favorability, this study examines how treatment fairness arouses sensemaking in teams and the features of such sensemaking processes that give rise to shared justice perceptions. The results highlight an interactive effect of outcomes and procedures on team sensemaking, which is shown to influence justice climate strength. The results also provide insight into the effects of discussion content, intensity and duration on the emergence of justice climates.