Cognitive processes in procedural justice judgments: The role of ease-of-retrieval, uncertainty, and experience



In a field experiment with 517 job applicants, the processes underlying the formation of procedural justice judgments were investigated. It was hypothesized that procedural justice judgments may be based not only on content information (e.g., “What are fair aspects of the selection procedure?”), but also on the felt ease or difficulty with which this content information can be retrieved from memory (ease-of-retrieval; e.g., “How easily can I recall fair aspects of the selection procedure?”). Evaluations of the company's online application procedure show that job candidates based procedural justice judgments on content information or on ease-of-retrieval, depending on their uncertainty regarding the online application procedure as well as their prior experiences with online applications. Specifically, experienced applicants who felt certain based their judgments on ease-of-retrieval, whereas all other applicants based their judgments on content information. Implications for research on the formation of justice judgments as well as practical applications are discussed. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.