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Despite an amassing organizational justice literature, few studies have directly addressed the temporal patterning of justice judgments and the effects that changes in these perceptions have on important work outcomes. Drawing from Gestalt characteristics theory (Ariely & Carmon, 2000, 2003), we examine the concept of justice trajectories (i.e., levels and trends of individual fairness perceptions over time) and offer empirical evidence to highlight the value of considering fairness within a dynamic context. Participants included 523 working adults who completed surveys about their work experiences on 4 occasions over the course of 1 year. Results indicate that justice trends explained additional variance in distal work outcomes (job satisfaction, organizational commitment, and turnover intentions) after controlling for end-state levels of justice, demonstrating the cumulative effects of justice over time. Findings also reveal that change in procedural justice perceptions affected distal work outcomes more strongly than any other justice dimension. Implications for theory and future investigations of justice as a dynamic construct are discussed.


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© American Psychological Association. Final version published as: Hausknecht, J. P., Sturman, M. C., & Roberson, Q. M. (2011). Justice as a dynamic construct: Effects of individual trajectories on distal work outcomes. Journal of Applied Psychology, 96(4), 872-880. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.