Leaders enact justice in a workplace that is often replete with various political dynamics such as goal conflicts, cliques, and differential treatments. Understanding how and when workplace politics influence leaders’ justice rule adherence is theoretically and practically important. In this paper, we conceptualize the workplace as a political arena and adopt moral self-regulation theory to explore how and when leaders’ perceptions of team politics (PTP) impact their justice rule adherence. We hypothesize that leaders’ PTP prompts them to justify subordinates-directed unjust behaviors, which in turn reduces their justice rule adherence. Furthermore, we hypothesize that leaders’ high construal level mitigates the negative effect of PTP on justice rule adherence. We conduct three studies to examine our theoretical model at both the within- and between-person levels. Results from two interval-based experience sampling studies (within-person) and one time-lagged scenario-based experiment (between-person) demonstrate consistent support for our hypotheses. We conclude by discussing the theoretical and managerial implications of our research.
- Construal level
- Justice rule adherence
- Justification for unjust behavior
- Moral self-regulation theory
- Perceptions of team politics