Long before I started preparing my dissertation, my consultant predicted that justice would be a very popular topic and should be researched over the years. And when the time came it was decided that one side of my dissertation will be about organizational justice. I was very happy about that I made a research including organizational justice (perception of justice) and its correlation with commitment. On the other hand, preparing a study on a topic that has been researched several times but not been classified as I did was another “excitement”. Also justice fed me a lot, and I am happy to say that the results I found and the research I made will be very helpful for the next chapter in my mastery: gamification.
But first of all let me tell you in brief what justice is, then let me explain what uniqueness I suggested for the field of justice perception and finally why I think it is bound to gamification.
Justice is by all means can be defined as the situation which people get what they deserve. Organizational Justice only differs for its structure. While justice for a single person is the situation that person perceives; organizational justice is the average level of justice perception of all people forming that organization. Different than many people can estimate, there are different types of perceived justice.
The first one is Distributional Justice. This kind is probably what many people understand from the word justice, a traditional approach. Distributional Justice refers to the comparison you make for you and another person that you think is your equivalent depending on the conditions you seek justice for. I’d better clarify this; think about your workplace. And think about another colleague of yours that you may compare yourself to. If you think that you get the proper amount of salary compared to that colleague, you may perceive Distributional Justice high. But if that colleague gets the same salary with you but has poor qualifications comparing to yours, then you will probably have a negative perception about Distributional Justice.
The second is Processual Justice. This is unique for the field of justice, because when you google this term you may find nothing relevant. Processual Justice is about the application of justice on procedures but you should consider it in two-ways: Are procedures just? Are they applied just? If procedures are just, then we may say there’s Procedural Justice. If the rulers are just, then there’s Systemic Justice. In literature, these two are not seperated and called as Procedural Justice. However, what I found meaningful in my research is that these two factors are indeed should be considered seperately.
The third one is Interactional Justice. This final one is mostly considered as a two-pieced term: Interpersonal Justice and Informational Justice. Interpersonal Justice is the kind of justice that, people may perceive a situation just, for they are behaved nicely, gently and thoughtfully; even if the situation is unjust. Informational Justice is giving information and feedback to people about a situation in detail. This way again, even though the situation is unjust; people are tend to perceive justice only for they are informed.
Now, what is this supposed to do with gamification? Games give instant feedback; you take a step and boom! You get the answer. So you are tend to perceive more justice in the game. Next, nearly not at any game you may experience a scene of shame or disrespect. Well, I know no game made for self-torture; at least no gamification expert might have a solid reason to do this. So, put informational and interpersonal justice to your pockets.
Next, in games you have distributive justice. No game including a challenge shall serve a situation in which two players starting in the same conditions and be in different levels, right? Choose to be a wizard, your opponent might be a warrior; but a game should not go in a direction where one of these has significant greatnesses compared to the other player. At the first level of Angry Birds, the number and kind of birds do not change for different players.
Finally, Processual Justice. Well, as the game designer, the procedures should be just and they should be applied just, if not? Then the player has the luxury to quit the game and it is all over.
This attempt of proving had better be made scientifically. On the other hand, I suggest that gamification can be used to help people perceive the organizational enviroment more just. You may create engagement and give people a new cause, something they can depend on when they cannot find many things. They may challenge with situations and/or people in conditions which are definitely just.
I have to say that, my intention is not using gamification to cover injustice, but I believe this may help to cure negative perceptions for some people in some situations. When this perception becomes highly visible at organizational level, you may need an advanced help other than engaging people with games. And don’t forget, games are voluntarily overcoming obstacles when you need not to.
The Effect of Justice Perceptions and Institutional Justice on Organizational Commitment – Dissertation Thesis for Organizational Behaviour Branch of Social Sciences Institute, Istanbul University of Türkiye – 2008.
Gamification Course of Prof. Kevin Werbach on Coursera.com.