How do accountants perceive fairness in the workplace? An Australian perspective

Organisational Justice

Australia has a long history of promoting fairness in the workplace and legislation such as the Fair Work Act 2009 set out minimum employment standards. While these terms and conditions are enforceable by law, many employment interactions are not but, nonetheless, affect how we perceive fairness in the workplace (organisational justice).

Organisational justice is not just about the rules that control how outcomes should be distributed, the procedures used to make decisions or how people should be treated, but all aspects of the employment experience that 'lead individuals to believe they are being treated fairly or unfairly'[1].

Generally, organisational justice is divided into three broad categories:

When there is a widespread perception of unfairness within the organisation, Systemic Injustice is being felt. Systemic Injustice is the label used for a culture of unfairness in the workplace. While the common interpretation of organisational justice is skewed towards unfairness, a somewhat unexpected but pleasing viewpoint expressed by most participants in this study who had chosen a career in public practice was that they felt the profession, as a whole, was 'pretty fair'.

[1] Folger, R., & Cropanzano, R. (1998). Organizational justice and human resource management. Thousand Oaks, CA US: Sage Publications.