RESEARCH PAPER
Come and say what you think: reducing employees’ self-censorship through procedural and interpersonal justice
 
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Institute of Psychology, University of Gdansk, Gdansk, Poland
Submission date: 2020-09-28
Final revision date: 2021-07-19
Acceptance date: 2021-07-25
Online publication date: 2021-10-31
Publication date: 2021-12-01
 
Current Issues in Personality Psychology 2021;9(4):328–340
 
KEYWORDS
TOPICS
ABSTRACT
Introduction:
Self-censorship in an organization may be defined as a conscious decision by employees to refrain from expressing opinions, criticism or suggestions in situations of perceived irregularities. There are at least two reasons for this decision: firstly, the fear that speaking up would prompt negative consequences, and secondly, the belief that it would not bring about a change in the situation. Procedural justice in an organization may encourage employees to limit that silence, thereby diminishing fear and undermining the belief that change is impossible.

Material and methods:
A set of three studies (total number of participants N = 710) was conducted in order to determine whether procedural justice predicts self-censorship and also to define the role of interpersonal justice in this relationship. It was assumed that procedural justice, while useful in the formation of an impartial and rigid legal system within an organization, is constrained by its disregard for personal relations.

Results:
It was found that when employees perceive a work environment as providing influence over procedures, they declare less self-censorship motivated by fear and resignation. In high interpersonal justice conditions the role of procedural justice in predicting employee self-censorship as well as employee silence beliefs increases.

Conclusions:
Both fair treatment of all employees and the contextual and need-centered nature of such treatment should be integrated if self-censorship is to be reduced. The results confirm this conclusion for self-censorship (decision) and employee silence beliefs (belief that relations within the organization do not encourage people to speak up).

 
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