Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Michael Brannick, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Russ Johnson, Ph. D.

Committee Member

Stephen Stark, Ph. D.

Committee Member

Sandra Schneider, Ph. D.


emotion, retaliation, attribution, loss aversion, regulatory focus


Organizational justice scholars have ignored the influence that the nature of a decision outcome has upon reactions to perceived injustice, yet research on loss aversion demonstrates that people react more strongly to situations that result in a loss than those that result in an anticipated gain failing to materialize (non-gain). Furthermore, research on regulatory focus has found that the nature of a decision outcome can itself elicit different emotions. Based on this, a cognitive appraisal model of the relationship between injustice and emotions is proposed that accounts for the effect of decision outcome. This model predicts that emotional reactions to injustice will differ according to the nature of the received decision outcome as well as the fairness of the procedure used to reach that outcome. Specifically, it is hypothesized that a loss decision outcome will elicit a prevention focus and lead to greater agitation-related emotions, whereas a non-gain decision outcome will elicit a promotion focus and result in greater dejection-related emotions. In addition, it is predicted that, in the presence of an unfair procedure, outward-focused, foci-related emotions will be reported and that perceptions of procedural injustice will be related to increased retaliation especially following a loss. To test these predictions, participants were asked to provide their reactions to vignettes describing aloss or non-gain reached via a fair or an unfair procedure. Although all hypotheses were not supported, it was found that decision outcome produced a significant main effect on emotions, such that participants reported higher levels of negative emotions after a loss and higher ratings of positive emotions after a non-gain. In addition, it was found that procedural injustice was related to higher levels of outward-focused, negative emotions and increased retaliation.