Teachers' perceptions of organizational justice as it relates to leader behavior

Date of Completion

January 2004


This study examines teachers' perceptions of organizational justice in their schools and selected leader interpersonal behaviors that may impact those perceptions. It is hypothesized that the interpersonal behaviors of the leader in terms of leader power and conflict management style strongly contribute to teachers' perception of organizational justice. An understanding of a principal's interpersonal behaviors related to these perceptions may influence the preparation and practices of school leaders. ^ Organizational justice is conceptualized in three dimensions: distributive, procedural, and interactional (Rahim, Magner & Shapiro, 2000). Each dimension indicates the relationship between superior and subordinate. ^ Leader power is the leaders' influence with their subordinates (Dahl, 1957; French & Raven, 1959; Hersey, Blanchard, & Natemeyer, 1979; Krausz, 1986). The power bases chosen by the leader potentially affect such psycho-social dimensions as conflict, trust, and satisfaction in either a positive or a negative manner (Yukl, 1991). Power is applied and perceived when the leader forms relationships with the teachers through communication. Style can potentially affect perceptions of justice among individuals and situations. ^ Power and communication are common sources of conflict (Johnson & Evans, 1997). If an effective school is dependent on a perception of justice, then it follows that “the resolution of those conflicts is often crucial in determining the progress or decay that will characterize a school's learning environment” (Hughes & Robertson, 1980, p.3). The leader's conflict management styles, or the expression of one's individuality in action, is applied according to situational differences and the personality traits of those involved in the conflict. These styles have been classified as integrating, compromising, obliging, dominating, and avoiding (Rahim, M. A., & Bonoma, T. V., 1979). ^ Research questions relating to power and conflict management styles of the leader and various demographic questions are posed. This study will be conducted with a random sample of public school teachers. Four extant instruments will be used to collect data: Rahim's Leader Power Inventory, Colquitt's The Dimensionality of Organizational Justice, and Rahim's Organizational Conflict Inventory II. Analysis of variance and multivariate multiple regression will be use to perform statistical analysis of the data. ^