When explanations for layoffs are not enough: Employer's integrity as a moderator of the relationship between informational justice and retaliation


Correspondence should be addressed to Daniel P. Skarlicki, Sauder School of Business, University of British Columbia, 2053 Main Mall, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada V6T 1Z2 (e-mail: dan.skarlicki@sauder.ubc.ca).


Victims of downsizing often perceive their layoff as being unfair, which can lead to various forms of retaliation. Informational justice, defined as providing employees with adequate explanations in a timely manner, has been prescribed as a way to mitigate the retaliation tendencies associated with unfairness perceptions. Few studies, however, have examined contexts in which informational justice might be more vs. less effective in this regard. In the present research, we explored whether employees' perception of the employer's integrity moderates the relationship between informational justice and retaliation among layoff victims. Results from a field and laboratory study suggest that informational justice helps manage retaliation only when layoff victims perceived that their employer had high (vs. low) integrity prior to the layoff. In Study 2, we found that perceived sincerity mediated the impact of informational justice by integrity interaction on retaliation.