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Achieving Process and Outcome Justice
Lynn Wagner & Daniel Druckman
Editors' Note: The authors argue that better outcomes result when negotiations incorporate principles of justice. They review evidence that when negotiators seek justice for all parties, in both the process and outcome senses of the term, the outcomes are more likely to be actually implemented. The authors contend that in major negotiations in particular, such as international conflicts, it has proven to be possible to get the parties to think about different concepts of justice and fairness, which allow in turn for a richer discussion of what should be done. This pays dividends far into the future. This chapter should be read in conjunction with Welsh on Fairness.
The definition of “justice” informs us that it can be both the“principle or ideal of just dealing or right action” as well as “conformity to this principle or ideal” (Merriam-Webster 2015). Justice is both a process and an outcome. Individuals and groups experience justice through just exchanges and right action (procedural justice) as well as through outcomes that conform to just principles (distributive justice). Critically for negotiators, the two aspects of negotiation justice are linked. Outcomes that are reached through a process that participants deem to have been just are more likely to be implemented, even by those participants whose preferences were not favored in the agreement, and better joint outcomes have been found to result from processes that are deemed to be more collaborative (Hollander-Blumoff and Tyler 2008; Wagner and Druckman 2012).
In this light, justice can be considered a compound variable, and those who seek to achieve justice through negotiations should consider both its process and outcome components. This chapter reviews research on the roles played by process and outcome justice principles in negotiation, and highlights specific considerations that negotiators should keep in mind during each negotiating stage. The Welsh [Fairness] chapter in this collection examines procedural and distributive justice as matters of “fairness,” and reviews social, psychological and cognitive variables that influence people’s perceptions of fairness. Our study of these concepts is organized in terms of their impacts on negotiating behavior during each of four negotiating stages, including prenegotiation and implementation activities.
Through this review of the justice and negotiation research, we identify a path through which justice variables influence implementation of negotiated agreements. The path unfolds with an evaluation and adjustment of issue framing, followed by adherence to procedural principles of justice. Such adherence increases the chances that equality principles will be emphasized in the outcomes. The combination of procedural justice and equality improves relationships among negotiators, which encourages later compliance with the terms of agreement. Compliance is further bolstered by the parties’ willingness to adjust unequal outcomes through the use of the compensatory justice principle.
Distributive Justice, Procedural Justice and Their Interaction
Research on justice and negotiation concepts first concentrated on distributive justice (DJ), which involves the principles that are used to allocate benefits or burdens within a group. The literature identifies four DJ principles: equality, proportionality or equity, compensation, and need. Procedural justice (PJ) refers to principles that guide the negotiation process. As with DJ, the PJ principles can be organized into four categories: fair treatment and fair play, fair representation, transparency, and voluntary decisions. Some of the most interesting....
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