• The Laboratory

Organizational Neuroscience and Deontic Justice

Working with colleagues at Colorado Boulder and Virginia Tech, we unravel the neural and psychological mechanisms of deontic justice.

Juriaen Ovens (1662): Justice (or Prudence, Justice, and Peace)

According to deontic justice theory (Cropanzano et al., 2003) individuals often feel principled moral obligations to uphold norms of justice: Standards of justice can be valued for their own sake, even apart from serving self-interested goals. While a growing body of research supports the notion of deontic justice, a coherent framework explaining how individuals produce and experience deontic justice has been missing in the literature thus far. We address this gap in the paper published in the Journal of Business Ethics, in which we introduce a conceptual model that unravels the underlying neural and psychological mechanisms of deontic justice. Specifically, we disentangle three key processes and supporting neural systems of deontic justice: the use of justice rules to assess events, cognitive empathy, and affective empathy.


Further Readings


Massaro, S., & Becker, W. J. (2015). Organizational Justice Through The Window of Neuroscience. In: D. Waldman & P. Balthazard (Eds.), Organizational Neuroscience - Monographs in Leadership and Management (Vol. 7, pp. 257-276). Bingley, UK: Emerald Publishing Limited.


Cropanzano, R. S., Massaro, S., & Becker, W. J. (2017). Deontic Justice and Organizational NeuroscienceJournal of Business Ethics, 144(4), 733-754.


Cropanzano, R., Goldman, B., & Folger, R. (2003). Deontic justice: The role of moral principles in workplace fairness. Journal of Organizational Behavior: The International Journal of Industrial, Occupational and Organizational Psychology and Behavior, 24(8), 1019-1024.

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