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An Ethnography of Fairness Perceptions among Non-Family Employees: Does Religion Matter?

Abstract : It is assumed that fairness perceptions in family firms are complex to apprehend due to the overlap between family and business systems. In this context, one of the most critical challenges experienced by family firms is the fairness perceptions of non-family employees. Drawing upon the fairness literature, our in-depth ethnographic study of a Middle Eastern family firm reveals that fairness perceptions result from social and spiritual evaluation processes through which non-family employees interpret salient events. Specifically, we found that non-family employees combine rational and religious interpretations to generate fairness judgments through two main cognitive processing mechanisms. Labelled as horizontal-social evaluation and vertical-spiritual evaluation, these cognitive mechanisms are rational and supra-rational fairness assessment processes, respectively. Counterintuitively, our findings unveil that depending on the religiosity levels of both the dominant family coalition and non-family employees, the vertical-spiritual evaluation could affect the horizontal social-evaluation, and ultimately the overall fairness perceptions, to different extents. Theoretical and practical implications are also discussed.
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https://hal-nantes-universite.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-03709693
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Submitted on : Thursday, June 30, 2022 - 9:54:49 AM
Last modification on : Friday, August 5, 2022 - 2:54:51 PM

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Ali Azouz, Nicolas Antheaume, Brigitte Charles-Pauvers. An Ethnography of Fairness Perceptions among Non-Family Employees: Does Religion Matter?. Journal of Family Business Strategy, Elsevier, 2021, 12 (3), pp.100375. ⟨10.1016/j.jfbs.2020.100375⟩. ⟨hal-03709693⟩

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