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Is Compensation Enough? Relational Concerns in Responding to Unintended Inequity.

Okimoto, Tyler G.
June 4, 2015

Source: (2007) Group Processes and Intergroup Relations. 10(3):399-420.

Traditional justice models suggest that monetary compensation is an adequate response
to unintended distributive harm. This perspective is widely accepted in real world settings,
and is manifested in policies ranging from worker compensation to the court-based tort
system. Drawing on the arguments from relational models of authority, we hypothesize that
compensation for losses may be viewed by victims as an inadequate response to the situation,
even when those losses are accidental and not the result of intentional harm. In four
experimental studies, respondents were asked to react to the receipt of monetary compensation
for accidental distributive inequities under varying degrees of relational concern. Results
indicate that judgments about the favorability of compensation are only one aspect of people’s
reaction to responses to harm. In each case, victims displayed more favorable reactions toward
the group when compensation was supplemented by relational concern. (authors’ abstract)


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