Reactions to Justice and Injustice

Dr. Jason Colquitt, William Harry Willson Distinguished Chair of Business, University of Georgia Terry College of Business

The Beebe Institute hosted a visit by a leading scholar in management and related disciplines. The visitor was Dr. Jason Colquitt, the William Harry Willson Distinguished Chair of Business at the University of Georgia in the Terry College of Business. Previously he was at the University of Florida as the McClatchy Professor of Management. Since receiving his Ph.D. from Michigan State University in 1999, Dr. Colquitt has produced a record of research that is unusually impressive. He has published a high number of articles in the top journals of his field, and according to recent analyses of influence in the profession, he is already among the top contributors having had significant impact. Among his professional honors, Professor Colquitt is a Fellow of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP), a prior recipient of SIOP’s Distinguished Early Career Contributions Award and a recipient of the Cummings Scholar Award for early- to mid-career achievement, sponsored by the Organizational Behavior Division of the Academy of Management. Following this record of research accomplishment, at age 39, he was the youngest person ever to be named editor-in-chief of the Academy of Management Journal, among the top empirical journals in the field of management.

Dr. Jason Colquitt and Beebe director Todd MaurerThis visit to the Beebe Institute and the J. Mack Robinson College of Business included a research colloquium offered by Dr. Colquitt as well as meetings with faculty and Ph.D. students to focus on research and professional issues. First, the Beebe Institute hosted Professor Colquitt in its multidisciplinary research colloquium on “People at Work.” Dr. Colquitt’s research interests include fairness, trust and trustworthiness, team effectiveness within organizations, and personality influences on performance. In his talk, Dr. Colquitt presented interesting research dealing with reactions to justice and injustice. Researchers have suggested that sometimes we really don’t think much about or even notice fairness until unfairness occurs. Otherwise, fairness is an issue that is pretty much normal or expected and goes unnoticed. Scholars who study justice assume that people will react to injustice in a manner that is distinct from how they react to justice, but research has not really examined this assumption. Research usually measures only the adherence to rules of justice — not their violation.

lecture attendeesDr. Colquitt and his colleagues conducted two studies to build and test theory about how reactions to justice and injustice might be different. They found that justice was associated with reactions that seemed to be more vague and seemed to reveal a meeting of expectations while injustice seemed especially relevant to hostility and counterproductive behavior. They also found that more variance is explained in reactions when measures utilize both justice and injustice items. Injustice may result in more specific, detailed, and vivid reactions. The research suggests that scholars or practitioners may need to consider whether their research question requires the assessment of justice, injustice, or a composite of both. Dr. Colquitt’s talk was well-attended by faculty and Ph.D. students from across departments within the Robinson College of Business.

lecture attendeesFollowing his talk, Professor Colquitt had a lunch meeting with Ph.D. students that provided an opportunity to discuss professional issues and to possibly gain insight into research, publishing, teaching and career issues from someone who has been very successful in the discipline and who also is responsible for leading the premier empirical journal in the Academy of Management. Later in the day, the Beebe Institute hosted a third meeting including RCB faculty and Ph.D. students in which Dr. Colquitt, as editor-in-chief of Academy of Management Journal (AMJ), offered insights into publishing in AMJ, addressing such matters as the mission of the journal, reviewing for it, acceptance rates, common reasons for rejection, and so on. Being a premier journal in management and related disciplines, this discussion provided invaluable tacit knowledge and a behind-the-scenes look at premier journal operations and publishing.

Later that evening, several faculty members of the Beebe Institute’s “People at Work” research interest group hosted Dr. Colquitt for dinner before he returned to Athens, Georgia, where he resides with his wife and children.

lecture attendees