Perceptions of Negative Inequity at Work and the Behavior of Individuals

Anne Aidla


The aim of this article is to find out how
perceptions of negative inequity at work influence individuals’
behavior based on the example of members of Estonian
organizations. Perceptions of inequity are analyzed using John
Stacey Adams’ equity theory, which states that individuals
compare the input and outcome of their work with some
comparison base and adjust their behavior according to the
equity or inequity they perceive. For example, when they feel
negative inequity they can decrease their input, increase
outcomes or leave the organization. The empirical study was
conducted in 2011 and 2013 and the final sample consisted of 174
members of Estonian organizations. The results showed that
individuals usually adapt their behavior according to how fair or
unfair they are treated in their opinion. In addition, the reaction
to perceived negative inequity depends on the respondents’ sociodemographic
background, including gender, age, position, tenure
and education. Consequently, this should be taken into account
when negative behavioral consequences are not desired.


Human Research Management, organizational aspects, productivity

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