Teachers' perceptions of procedural fairness: Their impact on teachers' efficacy and commitment

Date of Completion

January 2004


Education, Administration




This research was undertaken because during the past two decades research has provided evidence that people's feelings and actions are affected by the perceived fairness of the decision-making procedures they experience in their work settings. Teachers' working lives are directly influenced by decisions made by the principal or the superintendent of the district. As a consequence, teachers are sensitive to the efforts of others to control their behavior and they seek to maintain some degree of indirect control over these decisions through process control. ^ Teachers' perceptions of fairness were examined in the context of procedural justice. Survey data obtained from 123 respondents were statistically analyzed to answer the four research questions developed for this study. The major finding of the study was that when teachers are allowed process control in decision-making procedures their perceptions of procedural fairness are enhanced. These heightened perceptions of procedural fairness were found to positively affect teachers' commitment to the organization. However, although personal teaching efficacy was found not to be related to perceptions of procedural fairness, teaching efficacy was found to be positively and significantly related to procedural justice only. The results indicated that teachers with higher perceptions of procedural fairness would tend to have higher perceptions of teaching efficacy. ^ Teachers' perceptions of procedural fairness seemed to vary only according their years of experience. Teachers' with 6–10 and 16–20 years of teaching experience were found to differ in their perceptions of procedural fairness. The results suggested that teachers with more years of experience are more influenced by procedural justice issues within the organization. ^ These findings strongly support the instrumental character of process control. For example, teachers' commitment to the organization can be enhanced if teachers have input in decision making procedures and believe that their concerns are being considered by the principal. This perspective also emphasizes the interpersonal dimensions of process control. In this particular study its effect on teachers' teaching efficacy. Finally, the study strongly suggests that principals need not to relinquish complete control to teachers in decision making; they merely have to treat teachers fairly and consider their input. ^