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Abstract

Adjustments for task difficulty occur regularly in performance evaluations, but their effects on satisfaction with the evaluation process has not been studied. This article reports an experiment examining the procedural and distributive justice effects of making adjustments for task difficulty in performance evaluation. Participants examined territory difficulty and sales-volume data for a set of salespeople and rated a focal salesperson's performance. Subjects also rated their satisfaction with their performance rating and the fairness of the process. Results show that adjusting for territory (task) difficulty influences satisfaction through an intrapersonal referent effect and through procedural fairness judgments. Results also show that an intrapersonal referent effect occurs even when social-comparison information is available; the two referents appear to have additive rather than interactive effects. Consistent with the work of van den Bos, Lind, Vermunt, and Wilkie (1997), the procedural justice effect of adjusting for territory difficulty occurs only in the absence of social-comparison information. © 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.