How fair versus how long: An integrative theory-based examination of procedural justice and procedural timeliness

Ryan Outlaw, Jason A. Colquitt, Michael Baer, Hudson Sessions

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Although studies have linked procedural justice to a range of positive attitudes and behaviors, the focus on justice has neglected other aspects of decision-making procedures. We explore one of those neglected aspects: procedural timeliness—defined as the degree to which procedures are started and completed within an acceptable time frame. Do employees react to how long a procedure takes, not just how fair it seems to be? To explore that question, we examined the potential effects of procedural timeliness using six theories created to explain the benefits of procedural justice. This integrative theory-based approach allowed us to explore whether “how long” had unique effects apart from “how fair.” The results of a three-wave, two-source field study showed that procedural timeliness had a significant indirect effect on citizenship behavior through many of the theory-based mechanisms, even when controlling for procedural justice. A laboratory study then replicated those effects while distinguishing procedures that were too fast versus too slow. We discuss the implications of our results for research on fostering citizenship behavior and improving supervisors’ decision-making procedures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPersonnel Psychology
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2019


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management

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