Accueil » 60-2 ( 2005) » Pratiques en GRH et engagement des employés : le rôle de la justice

Pratiques en GRH et engagement des employés : le rôle de la justice

Gilles Simard, Olivier Doucet et Sarah Bernard


En s’appuyant sur la théorie de l’échange social, cet article rend compte de l’effet médiateur des différentes formes de justice organisationnelle (distributive, procédurale, interactionnelle) dans la relation entre les pratiques en gestion des ressources humaines (GRH) inspirées du modèle de Lawler (1986) et l’engagement affectif. Les 134 répondants sont des directeurs aux services financiers d’une institution bancaire située au Québec. Des analyses de régression, effectuées selon les procédures de Kenny, Kashy et Bolger (1998), ont confirmé l’hypothèse de recherche. Ainsi, les résultats font ressortir que la perception de chacune des formes de justice organisationnelle représente une variable médiatrice essentielle pour que la mise en place des pratiques en GRH contribue efficacement au développement et à la consolidation de l’engagement des employés envers leur organisation.


HRM Practices and Employee Commitment: The Role of Justice

This study clarifies the role of organizational justice in the relationship between human resources management practices and commitment. Specifically, we develop and test a model in which the principal forms of justice (distributive, procedural and interactional) represent mediating variables in relationships between affective commitment and the four types of HRM practices (information sharing, knowledge development, non-monetary recognition and power sharing) included in the model developed by Lawler (1986). Meyer and Smith (2000) underscore that because few empirical studies have explored the relationship between HRM practices and commitment, it is important to determine how such practices influence employee commitment to organizations. Their results have shed light on the role of perception of organizational support and procedural justice as a mediating factor between certain HRM practices and organizational commitment.

Consistent with the recommendation of these authors, our model rests on the theory of social exchange (Blau, 1964) and posits the three forms of organizational justice as mediating variables. Social exchange, unlike economic exchange, implies a relationship of exchange through unspecified obligations between the parties. Through the reciprocity norm, individuals in a climate of mutual trust maintain an exchange relationship with others to whom they feel obliged because they have received something from them. In a company, this pattern may correspond to organizations’ expectation that employees will develop favorable attitudes such as commitment in return for the introduction of HRM practices. Nonetheless, the specialized literature also clearly highlights theoretical links between social exchange and perceptions of organizational justice (Greenberg, 1987; Moorman, 1991). In this perspective, organizational justice encourages the development of effective commitment by enhancing employees’ feeling of reciprocity toward the organization, a sentiment created by the introduction of HRM practices.

As part of this research project, a questionnaire was distributed in September 2001 to 232 managers of financial services of a private company operating in the Canadian banking sector. Of these questionnaires, 134 were returned, corresponding to a respectable response rate of 58%. To test our research hypothesis, we carried out hierarchical regression analyses according to the steps described by Kenny, Kashy and Bolger (1998). These analyses confirmed our hypothesis by demonstrating that each of the forms of justice indeed represents a mediating variable between the practices specified by Lawler (1986) and affective commitment. More specifically, we conclude that: (1) non-monetary recognition has an indirect effect on commitment through the three forms of justice; (2) interactional justice is a mediating variable between knowledge development and commitment; (3) procedural justice is a mediating variable between the practices of autonomy, initiative and commitment and (4) consulting has both a direct and indirect effect on affective commitment through procedural justice.

Our observations corroborate the results of previous studies (Meyer and Smith, 2000; Schappe, 1996) that had affirmed a mediating effect of procedural justice between certain practices and organizational commitment. This study also makes a significant contribution with important theoretical and practical implications. First, our research supplements the literature on this topic by proposing an integrating model that measures the simultaneous effect of a larger number of practices than previous studies and that integrates the three principal forms of justice as a mediating variable. Moreover, our results demonstrate that organizations should pay attention to their employees’ perception of justice if they want to significantly increase the employees’ affective commitment by putting HRM practices in place. Moreover, regarding the individual effects of practices, our results suggest that organizations should first target non-monetary recognition practices, followed by power sharing practices (consultation, autonomy, initiative) and knowledge development practices.

Lastly, our results confirm that the competitive advantage of successful firms mainly arises from their capacity to increase the added value of their human resources (Becker and Huselid, 1999). To attain organizational success, they must innovate in HRM notably by applying practices that favor the adoption of positive attitudes and behaviors toward the organization. Companies should thus encourage managers to act in compliance with equity, impartiality and respect to stimulate the affective commitment of their employees and maximize the investment required by the introduction of HRM practices.


Practicas de GRH y compromiso laboral: el rol de la justicia

Apoyándose en la teoría del intercambio social, este artículo da cuenta del efecto mediador de las diferentes formas de justicia organizacional (distributiva, procesal, internacional) en la relación existente entre las practicas de gestión de recursos humanos (GRH) inspiradas del modelo Lawler (1986) y el compromiso afectivo. Las 134 personas encuestadas son directores de servicios financieros de una institución bancaria ubicada en la provincia de Quebec. Los análisis de regresión, efectuados según el procedimiento de Kenny, Kashy y Bolger (1998), han confirmado la hipótesis de investigación. Así, los resultados destacan que la percepción de cada una de las formas de justicia organizacional representa una variable mediadora esencial para que la implantación de prácticas de GRH contribuya eficazmente al desarrollo y a la consolidación del compromiso de los empleados con su organización.