Votes Without Power:Procedural Justice as Mutual Control in Majority-Minority Relations1

Authors

  • Assaad E. AZZI,

    1. Universiti Libre de Bruxelles Brussels, Belgium
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  • John T. Jost

    Corresponding author
    1. University of California at Santa Barbara
      Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to John T. Jost, Department of Psychology, University of California-Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, CA 93106–9660. e-mail: jost@psych.ucsb.edu
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  • 1

    This research was conducted while both authors were in the Department of Psychology at Yale University. We are grateful to the editor and to two anonymous reviewers for their helpful suggestions for revision.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to John T. Jost, Department of Psychology, University of California-Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, CA 93106–9660. e-mail: jost@psych.ucsb.edu

Abstract

In an application of procedural justice theory (Lind & Tyler, 1988; Tyler, 1989) to the domain of intergroup relations, we investigated justice preferences among members of numerical majority and minority groups as a function of two parameters: the number of representatives allotted to each group, and the decision rule used to determine the outcome (ranging from simple majority vote to unanimity). In the first study, minority group members perceived the combination of proportional representation and majority vote to be significantly less fair than all other combinations, and their choices of procedure stressed “mutual control” (when the decision rule exceeds the number of representatives possessed by either group). In a second study, majority group members perceived the combination of equal representation and majority vote to be significantly less fair than other procedures, but their choices of procedure did involve a considerable degree of mutual control. These findings suggest that there may be some basis for agreement between majority and minority group members' justice preferences and that both groups may perceive situations of mutual control to be acceptable. A third study involving both majority and minority group members ruled out an interpretation of the previous results in terms of motivation to maintain vs. change the status quo.

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