Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology

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Volume 29 Issue 3 (May 2019), Pages 165-253

Explaining the procedural justice–perceived legitimacy relationship: Relying on relational concern or instrumental concern? (pages 193-206)

Abstract People can extract relational information (i.e., relational concern) as well as instrumental information (i.e., instrumental concern) from decision‐making procedures. Thus, both instrumental and relational concerns are assumed to influence the procedural justice–perceived legitimacy relationship. Drawing from social exchange theory, the different kinds of concerns may lead to form different exchange relationships (social exchange relationship vs. economic relationship), which can be indicated by two forms of trust (affect‐based trust vs. cognition‐based trust). We built a model of trust mediation in which procedural justice predicted affect‐based and cognition‐based trust. Further, we also tested the hypothesis that high (compared with low) group identification individuals are more likely to rely on relational concern to construct procedural justice and judge legitimacy of authority, because they use procedural fairness information to infer the quality of their relationships with the authority. The results of an experiment (Study 1) demonstrated that both affect‐based trust and cognition‐based trust mediated the procedural justice–perceived legitimacy relationship. Moreover, a field study (Study 2) showed that affect‐based trust mediated the relationship between procedural justice and perceived legitimacy primarily among individuals with high group identification whereas cognition‐based trust mediated this relationship primarily among those with low group identification.

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