Intra-organisational injustice in the construction industry

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, 2016, 23, (4), pp. 428-447
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Purpose - Increasing workforce casualisation, under representation of women and other minority groups, racial discrimination, corruption and poor safety are just some of the documented examples of intra-organisational injustice in the industry. Typically these issues are problematised separately using different theoretical frameworks, yet at the most fundamental behavioural level they have a common cause which lies in the "unjust" treatment of one person by another. The purpose of this paper is to integrate the conceptual understanding of these hitherto separated but conceptually linked problems. Design/methodology/approach - A survey 135 consultants, contractors, subcontractors and suppliers from across the Australian construction supply chain. Findings - Surprisingly despite widespread academic concerns about injustice in the construction industry, there are not significant concerns within the industry community. Contrary to much research about the poor culture of the construction industry, the results indicate that the relatively low levels of perceived injustice are institutional rather than cultural. The research also highlights the plight of middle management, which appear to consistently suffer the highest levels of injustice across all its theoretical categories. Research limitations/implications - Sample size and Australian focus. Practical implications - Informs organisational policies to reduce injustice in the construction industry. Social implications - By reducing injustice, this research will improve the fairness of business practices in the construction industry. Originality/value - Application of justice theories to conceptualise unfair construction practices.
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