Distributive justice

Distributive justice

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Distributive justice concerns what some consider to be socially just
Social justice
Social justice generally refers to the idea of creating a society or institution that is based on the principles of equality and solidarity, that understands and values human rights, and that recognizes the dignity of every human being. The term and modern concept of "social justice" was coined by...

 allocation of goods
Good (economics and accounting)
In economics, a good is something that is intended to satisfy some wants or needs of a consumer and thus has economic utility. It is normally used in the plural form—goods—to denote tangible commodities such as products and materials....

 in a society. A society in which incidental inequalities in outcome do not arise would be considered a society guided by the principles of distributive justice. They take into account the available quantities of goods, the process by which goods are to be distributed, and the resulting allocation of the goods to the members of the society.

Often contrasted with just process
Procedural justice
Procedural justice refers to the idea of fairness in the processes that resolve disputes and allocate resources. One aspect of procedural justice is related to discussions of the administration of justice and legal proceedings...

, which is concerned with the administration of law, distributive justice concentrates on outcomes. A prominent contemporary theorist of distributive justice is the philosopher John Rawls
John Rawls
John Bordley Rawls was an American philosopher and a leading figure in moral and political philosophy. He held the James Bryant Conant University Professorship at Harvard University....

. This subject has been given considerable attention in philosophy and social sciences (see James Konow, 2003).

Distributive Justice in Organizations

In the context of organizational justice
Organizational justice
The term organizational justice was coined by Greenberg and is defined as an individual’s perception of and reactions to fairness in an organization. Justice or fairness refers to the idea that an action or decision is morally right, which may be defined according to ethics, religion, fairness,...

, distributive justice is conceptualized as fairness associated with outcomes decisions and distribution of resources. The outcomes or resources distributed may be tangible (e.g., pay) as well as intangible (e.g., praise). Perceptions of distributive justice can be fostered when outcomes are perceived to be equally applied (Adams, 1965).

Outcomes of Distributive Justice Perceptions in Organizations

Distributive justice affects performance when efficiency and productivity are involved (Cohen-Charash & Spector, 2001). Improving perceptions of justice increases performance (Karriker & Williams, 2009). Organizational citizenship behavior
Organizational citizenship behavior
Organizational Citizenship Behavior has been studied since the late 1970s. Over the past three decades, interest in these behaviors has increased substantially...

s (OCBs) are emloyee's actions in support of the organization that are outside the scope of their job description. Such behaviors depend on the degree to which organization is perceived to be distributively just (Cohen-Charash & Spector, 2001; Karriker & Williams, 2009). As organizational actions and decisions are perceived as more just, employees are more likely to engage in OCBs. Perceptions of distributive justice are strongly related also to withdrawal of employees from the organization (Cohen-Charash & Spector, 2001).

Distributive Justice and Wealth

Distributive justice considers whether the distribution of goods among the members of society at a given time is subjectively acceptable .

Not all advocates of consequentialist theories are concerned with an equitable society. What unites them is the mutual interest in achieving the best possible results or, in terms of the example above, the best possible distribution of wealth.

Distributive Justice in Real Life Policies

Proponents of distributive justice link it to human rights
Human rights
Human rights are "commonly understood as inalienable fundamental rights to which a person is inherently entitled simply because she or he is a human being." Human rights are thus conceived as universal and egalitarian . These rights may exist as natural rights or as legal rights, in both national...

  • Resources that are available to the society. This includes financial and market considerations.
  • Everyone in society will receive equitable access to basic health care needs.

Distributive justice theory argues that societies have a duty to individuals in need and that all individuals have duties to help others in need.
Many governments are known for dealing with issues of Distributive justice, especially countries with ethnic tensions and geographically distinctive minorities. Post-apartheid South Africa
South Africa
The Republic of South Africa is a country in southern Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is divided into nine provinces, with of coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans...

 is an example of a country that deals with issues of re-allocating resources with respect to the distributive justice framework.

See also

  • Retributive justice
    Retributive justice
    Retributive justice is a theory of justice that considers that punishment, if proportionate, is a morally acceptable response to crime, with an eye to the satisfaction and psychological benefits it can bestow to the aggrieved party, its intimates and society....

  • Restorative justice
    Restorative justice
    Restorative justice is an approach to justice that focuses on the needs of victims, offenders, as well as the involved community, instead of satisfying abstract legal principles or punishing the offender...

  • Interactional justice
    Interactional justice
    Interactional justice is defined by sociologist John R. Schermerhorn as the "...degree to which the people affected by decision are treated by dignity and respect. Interactional justice is defined by sociologist John R. Schermerhorn as the "...degree to which the people affected by decision are...

  • Redistributive justice
    Redistributive justice
    Redistributive Justice is a term used to describe the equalization of property and wealth ownership by direct political fiat. It includes taxation designed to move wealth from one group to another, "land reform" and other means to promote "equality of result" over "equality of opportunity"...

  • Injustice
    Injustice is the lack of or opposition to justice, either in reference to a particular event or act, or as a larger status quo. The term generally refers to misuse, abuse, neglect, or malfeasance that is uncorrected or else sanctioned by a legal system. Misuse and abuse with regard to a particular...

  • Utilitarianism
    Utilitarianism is an ethical theory holding that the proper course of action is the one that maximizes the overall "happiness", by whatever means necessary. It is thus a form of consequentialism, meaning that the moral worth of an action is determined only by its resulting outcome, and that one can...

     and/or Consequentialism
    Consequentialism is the class of normative ethical theories holding that the consequences of one's conduct are the ultimate basis for any judgment about the rightness of that conduct...

  • Extended sympathy
    Extended sympathy
    Extended sympathy in welfare economics refers to interpersonal value judgments of the form that social state x for person A is ranked better than, worse than, or as good as social state y for person B...

  • Constitutional economics
    Constitutional economics
    Constitutional economics is a research program in economics and constitutionalism that has been described as extending beyond the definition of 'the economic analysis of constitutional law' in explaining the choice "of alternative sets of legal-institutional-constitutional rules that constrain the...

  • Distribution (economics)
    Distribution (economics)
    Distribution in economics refers to the way total output, income, or wealth is distributed among individuals or among the factors of production .. In general theory and the national income and product accounts, each unit of output corresponds to a unit of income...

  • Justice (economics)
    Justice (economics)
    Justice in economics is a subcategory of welfare economics with models frequently representing the ethical-social requirements of a given theory. That theory may or may not elicit acceptance...

  • Rule of law
    Rule of law
    The rule of law, sometimes called supremacy of law, is a legal maxim that says that governmental decisions should be made by applying known principles or laws with minimal discretion in their application...

  • Rule According to Higher Law
    Rule according to higher law
    The rule according to a higher law means that no written law may be enforced by the government unless it conforms with certain unwritten, universal principles of fairness, morality, and justice...

  • Wikileaks
    WikiLeaks is an international self-described not-for-profit organisation that publishes submissions of private, secret, and classified media from anonymous news sources, news leaks, and whistleblowers. Its website, launched in 2006 under The Sunshine Press organisation, claimed a database of more...

  • Teaching for social justice
    Teaching for social justice
    Teaching for social justice is an educational philosophy designed to promote socioeconomic equality in the learning environment and instill these values in students. Educators may employ social justice instruction to promote unity on campus, as well as mitigate boundaries to the general curriculum...

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