When does giving voice or not matter? Procedural fairness effects as a function of closeness of reference points
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The present study examined whether manipulating the closeness of reference points can provide further insights into explaining why people care so much about receiving voice (i.e., the opportunity to express one's opinion with respect to allocation decisions). Participants read a scenario portraying a situation where they had always been a member of the relevant team (i.e., distant referent point condition) or where they had just become a member of the relevant team (i.e., close referent point condition). Thereafter, they were either told that they would receive voice or no voice with respect to the issue of distributing a financial bonus. The results showed that people cared more about voice when they were placed in the distant referent condition rather than in the close referent condition. This effect was strongest on participants' positive emotions (i.e., being positive when receiving voice vs. receiving no voice) than on their negative emotions. The findings are discussed in light of procedural fairness, counterfactual thinking, and emotion literature.