Traditional models of distributive justice behaviour have focused predominantly on either person-specific or context-specific explanations. We suggest supplementing these models by including interaction effects between functionally equivalent situation and person factors. Two experiments were conducted to replicate results from a previous vignette experiment in which the effect of situational information that would justify an unequal distribution of burdens was lower for individuals with a positive attitude toward the equality principle than for individuals with a negative attitude toward this principle. The results of the present experiments are consistent with this finding. Again, situational information that would justify an unequal distribution of outcomes had a weaker effect for participants with a favourable attitude toward equality than for participants with an unfavourable attitude. Based on these results and results from other research domains, we concluded that the synergstic person × situation interactions is a general phenomenon that deserves more attention in theory and research. Several cognitive mechanisms, such as motivated perception, selective attention, and the availability of attitude-congruent situation schemas that may account for synergistic interactions in justice behaviour are discussed.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was completed while the first author was a Fulbright Scholar and visiting professor at the University of California, Davis. Financial support was provided by the Stiftung Volkswagenwerk (VW-Foundation; Az II/78 240) and by the Minister of Science and Education of Rhineland-Palatinate with grants to the first author.
- Allocation behaviour
- Differential predictability
- Justice attitudes
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Psychology (all)