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Market-Based Solutions to Vital Economic Issues


Kenan Institute 2024 Grand Challenge: Business Resilience
Market-Based Solutions to Vital Economic Issues
Nov 3, 2020

To be or not to be consistent? The role of friendship and group-targeted perspective in managers’ allocation decisions


Adopting a justice enactment perspective, we explore managers’ consistent versus inconsistent application of existing rules in allocation decisions. We propose that when managers form friendship relationships with their employees, they are likely to experience greater tensions when fulfilling their managerial duties as resource allocators. On the one hand, managers may wish to deviate from the rules to benefit an employee who is also a friend. On the other hand, benefiting one employee (but not others) might lead to tensions in managers’ friendships with other employees. We further argue that the extent to which managers adopt a group-targeted perspective affects the resolution of this tension such that, from such a perspective, they are more likely to perceive consistent application of existing rules (vs. deviating from them) as fairer. We find support for our predictions across a field study and an experimental study. We discuss implications of our findings for literatures on justice enactment, allocation decisions, and workplace friendships.

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