Consistency is key: Intercollegiate athlete perceptions of the justice of team disciplinary decisions

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Jones, Justin M., M.S. Candidate; Shoenfelt, Elizabeth L., Ph.D.
University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
Industrial and organizational psychology
poster description
Discipline and, how it is perceived, is of great consequence to organizations. Importantly, how disciplinary decisions are determined and carried out can influence the attitudes, behavior, and emotions of organizational members both positively and negatively (Ball, Trevino, & Sims, 1992). Although there is a dearth of research investigating the perceptions of those receiving punishment, it is equally important to understand the perceptions of those observing the disciplinary process. The purpose of this study was to investigate perceptions of justice involving disciplinary decisions in an intercollegiate team sport setting. Male and female intercollegiate athletes (N = 204) provided open ended responses regarding a punishment scenario on their athletic team and their perceptions of distributive fairness to the punished athlete and teammates, perceptions of procedural fairness to the punished athlete and teammates, perceptions of justice to the fans, and whether the punishment was likely to deter future misconduct by the punished athlete and teammates. Results indicated that punishment that was in accordance with team rules was perceived as more fair to both the punished athlete and the team. The findings of this study are of importance to sports teams specifically and organizations generally in that they lay the groundwork for creating disciplinary processes which are perceived as fair in terms of their procedure and distribution.