Expectations, procedural justice, and alternative reactions to being deprived of a desired outcome

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Abstract

People often find that they do not have some positive outcome they once expected to obtain, while others around them have attained that outcome. Two experiments were conducted to assess how four possible responses to such a situation are affected by procedural justice (i.e., the fairness of the procedures by which the object was denied) and by one's expectations about obtaining the outcome in the future. The four possible responses examined were anger responses, achievement strivings, devaluation of the object (X), and self-deprecation. A repeated-measures analysis revealed that the dependent variables were differentially affected in Study 1, but less so in Study 2. Analyses further revealed effects of procedural justice, such that unfair procedures led to more anger, lower achievement strivings, greater devaluation of X, and (in Study 1 only) marginally less self-deprecation. Expectations had only a marginal affect on achievement strivings in Study 1, and an effect on self-deprecation in Study 2, with higher expectations leading to lower achievement strivings and less self-deprecation, respectively. Procedural justice and expectations interacted to affect subjects' derogation of the agent who deprived them (Study 1) and their devaluation of X (Study 2). Implications for future research and for theoretical development are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)114-137
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
Volume21
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1985

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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