As social beings, we are often preoccupied with issues of recognition, rewards, status, community and identity. My research explores our construction of justice and morality as they relate to these concerns and in particular their relevance to personal and contractual relationships. Gaining a better understanding of the social and psychological processes of justice and morality will help to create more welcoming communities, improve individual social well-being and reduce aggressive and defensive responses to perceived moral or ethical threat. I am a founding member of the Organisational Justice and Behavioural Ethics Group, and my blog can be found on our website at ojberg.org
2014 Schulich Research Excellence Award
2012 Schulich Teaching Excellence Nomination
2009, 2011, 2012, 2013 Schulich School of Business Merit Award
2007 Nominated as Representative-at-large, Conflict Management Division of the Academy of Management
2002 Best Student Paper, Conflict Management Division, Academy of Management
Liu, Y., Chen, S., Bell, C. and Tan, J. (Forthcoming), "How Do Power and Status Differ in Predicting Unethical Decisions? A Cross-national Comparison of China and Canada", Journal of Business Ethics, 167(4), 745-760.Keywords
This study examines the varying roles of power, status, and national culture in unethical decision-making. Most research on unethical behavior in organizations is grounded in Western societies; empirical comparative studies of the antecedents of unethical behavior across nations are rare. The authors conduct this comparative study using scenario studies with four conditions (high power vs. low power × high status vs. low status) in both China and Canada. The results demonstrate that power is positively related to unethical decision-making in both countries. Status has a positive effect on unethical decision-making and facilitates the unethical decisions of Canadian participants who have high power but not Chinese participants who have high power. To explicate participants’ unethical decision-making rationales, the authors ask participants to justify their unethical decisions; the results reveal that Chinese participants are more likely to cite position differences, whereas Canadian participants are more likely to cite work effort and personal abilities. These findings expand theoretical research on the relationship between social hierarchy and unethical decision-making and provide practical insights on unethical behavior in organizations.
Bell, C., Min, Y.A. and Stein, A.M. (2020), "Does “the servant as leader” Translate Into Chinese? A Cross-cultural Meta-analysis of Servant Leadership", European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 29(3), 315-329.
Servant leadership is a popular style of ethically-based leadership developed in the cultural context of the United States and other Anglo-Saxon (Anglo) countries with a similar culture and managerial context. However, much of the empirical research on this leadership style has been conducted in China, a country with very different cultural and managerial traditions. It is not known whether the results of research conducted in China can be integrated into a general theory of servant leadership. It is also unknown whether servant leadership, which is widely promoted as an effective leadership style in Anglo countries, will be equally effective for all employee outcomes in China. To answer these questions, we perform a meta-analysis of servant leadership research (k = 112, n = 35,716) which compares the effects of servant leadership on employees in China with its effects on employees in Anglo countries. Results show that there is no significant difference in effect sizes between Chinese and Anglo employees for job performance, organizational citizenship behaviour, creative behaviour, affective commitment, and job satisfaction. The effect of servant leadership on leader-member exchange may be stronger for Anglo employees. Implications for servant leadership theory and managerial practices in China are discussed.
Bell, C., Khan, A.K. and Quratulain, S. (2017), "The Two Faces of Envy: Perceived Opportunity to Perform as a Moderator of Envy Manifestation", Personnel Review, 46(3), 490-511.
Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to investigate, with a Pakistani sample, the destructive and constructive behavioral intentions associated with benign and malicious envy in the context of perceived opportunity to perform.
Design/methodology/approach: The authors conducted two cross-sectional studies to test the hypotheses. In Study 1, data were obtained from students (n=90), whereas in Study 2, the authors used an executive sample (n=83).
Findings: The primary motivation of benign envy was to bring oneself up by improving performance on the comparison dimension, whereas the primary motive of malicious envy was to pull the envied other down. The relationship between malicious envy and behavioral “pulling down” intentions of derogating envied other was conditional on perceived opportunity on the comparison dimension. Consistent with a motive to improve self-evaluation, this study also found that perceived opportunity to perform interacted with benign envy to promote performance intentions on an alternative dimension. Furthermore, malicious envy was also associated with self-improving performance intentions on the comparison dimension, conditional upon perceived opportunity to perform.
Practical implications: Envy, depending on its nature, can become a positive or negative force in organizational life. The pattern of effects for opportunity structure differs from previous findings on control. The negative and positive effects of malicious envy may be managed by attention to opportunity structures.
Originality/value: This study supports the proposition that benign envy and malicious envy are linguistically and conceptually distinct phenomena, and it is the first to do so in a sample from Pakistan, a non-western and relatively more collectivistic culture. The authors also showed that negative and hostile envy-based behaviors are conditional upon the perceived characteristics of the context.
Bell, C., Gelfand, M.J., Imai, L., Mayer, D.M. and Shteynber, G. (2017), "Prosocial Thinkers and the Social Transmission of Justice", European Journal of Social Psychology, 47(4), 429-442.
Feeling the sting of another’s injustice is a common human experience.We adopt a motivated information processing approach and explore howindividual differences in social motives (e.g., high vs. low collectivism)and epistemic motives (e.g., high vs. low need for closure) drive individ-uals’ evaluative and behavioral reactions to the just and unjust treat-ment of others. In two studies, one in the laboratory (N =78) and onein the ﬁeld (N = 163), we ﬁnd that the justice treatment of others hasa more profound inﬂuence on the attitudes and behaviors of prosocialthinkers, people who are chronically higher (vs. lower) in collectivismand lower (vs. higher) in the need for closure. In all, our results suggestthat chronically higher collectivism and a lower need for closure work inconcert to make another’s justice relevant to personal judgment andbehavior.
Bell, C. and Tasa, K. (2017), "Effects of Implicit Negotiation Beliefs and Moral Disengagement on Negotiator Attitudes and Deceptive Behavior", Journal of Business Ethics, 142(1), 169-183.Keywords
In three studies, we examined the relationship between implicit negotiation beliefs, moral disengagement, and a negotiator’s ethical attitudes and behavior. Study 1 found correlations between an entity theory that negotiation skills are fixed rather than malleable, moral disengagement, and appropriateness of marginally ethical negotiation tactics. Mediation analysis supported a model in which moral disengagement facilitated the relationship between entity theory and support for unethical tactics. Study 2 provided additional support for the mediation model in a sample of MBA students, whereby predispositions to morally disengage mediated the effect of dispositional entity beliefs on unethical behavior in a negotiation exercise. In study 3, we manipulated implicit beliefs prior to a negotiation simulation and found that entity beliefs predict deception through two sequential mediators, extreme opening bids and state moral disengagement.
Bell, C. and Khoury, C. (2016), "Organizational Powerlessness, Dehumanization, and Gendered Effects of Procedural Justice", Journal of Managerial Psychology, 31(2), 570-585.
Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to test whether procedural justice effects on organizational powerlessness and dehumanization are stronger for women than men and, consequently, mediated effects on turnover intention are conditional upon gender.
Research limitations/implications: The authors used cross-sectional, self-report data but separated predictor and criterion variables in two surveys to counteract common method bias. Nevertheless, causal inferences are limited.
Practical implications: To retain personnel, managers, and organizations should be aware of the different needs of their employees and corresponding effects of justice. Likewise, women should be diligent in assessing justice and their response to being treated fairly.
Social implications: The model is not predicated on an innate quality of gender but on endemic inequities in society. Procedural justice is associated with basic human needs, and effects that are conditional on gender may be socially constructed rather than based in supposed inherent gender differences.
Originality/value: Research and lay theories have emphasized that women value procedural justice because of inherently stronger relational needs. The findings suggest gendered effects are due to broader social conditions affecting women’s instrumental and existential needs.
Design/methodology/approach: The authors recruited to a two-wave survey of workplace attitudes with flyers distributed at downtown subway exits. The authors controlled for and tested alternative models for distributive and interpersonal justice.
Findings: Gender moderated procedural justice effects on both mediators. The moderated mediation model held only for organizational dehumanization, even controlling for powerlessness. Models for distributive and interpersonal justice were not significant.
Bell, C., Crawshaw, J., Cropanzano, R., Fortin, M. and Nadisic, T. (2016), "Beyond the Particular and Universal: Dependence, Independence, and Interdependence of Context, Justice, and Ethics", Journal of Business Ethics, 137(4), 639-647.
This article reflects on context effects in the study of behavioral ethics and organizational justice. After a general overview, we review three key challenges confronting research in these two domains. First, we consider social scientific versus normative approaches to inquiry. The former aims for a scientific description, while the latter aims to provide prescriptive advice for moral conduct. We argue that the social scientific view can be enriched by considering normative paradigms. The next challenge we consider, involves the duality of morally upright versus morally inappropriate behavior. We observe that there is a long tradition of categorizing behavior dichotomously (e.g., good vs. bad) rather than continuously. We conclude by observing that more research is needed to compare the dichotomous versus continuous perspectives. Third, we examine the role of “cold” cognitions and “hot” affect in making judgments of ethicality. Historically speaking, research has empathized cognition, though recent work has begun to add greater balance to affective reactions. We argue that both cognition and affect are important, but more research is needed to determine how they work together. After considering these three challenges, we then turn to our special issue, providing short reviews of each contribution and how they help in better addressing the three challenges we have identified.
Bell, C., Khan, A.K. and Quratulain, S. (2014), "Episodic Envy and Counterproductive Work Behaviors: Is More Justice Always Good?", Journal of Organizational Behavior, 35(1),128-144.Keywords
The authors examined how perceived event‐specific procedural and distributive justice about own and envied others’ outcomes interacts with episodic envy to predict counterproductive work behaviors. Our results were consistent with the attribution model of justice, finding that episodic envy significantly predicted counterproductive work behaviors aimed at envied others in the workplace and that this relationship was more pronounced when perceptions of procedural, but not distributive, justice about own or envied others’ outcomes were high rather than low. We tested a moderated‐mediation model in which self‐attributions for the outcome mediated the effect of episodic envy on counterproductive work behaviors and that the effect of envy was stronger when perceptions of own or others’ procedural justice were high rather than low. This research contributes to the literature on envy processes in the workplace and is the first to use a specific emotion, envy, as a proxy for a negative outcome in a demonstration of the attribution model of justice. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Bell, C., Celani, A. and Tasa, K. (2013), "Goals in Negotiation Revisited: The Impact of Goal Setting and Implicit Negotiation Beliefs", Negotiation and Conflict Management Research, 6(2), 114-132.Keywords
In two studies, we investigated whether learning goals, which focus attention on task strategies rather than outcomes, affect negotiator behavior and results differently than performance goals. In Study 1, negotiators with learning goals had lower rates of impasse and were judged to be most cooperative. Study 2 replicated these results using a different task and also compared the impact of learning and performance goals to dispositional goal orientation. We found that implicit negotiation beliefs, derived from theories of dispositional goal orientation, were associated with value claiming and interacted with goal type such that the relationship was strongest in the learning goal condition. In addition, negotiators with learning goals developed greater understanding about their counterpart’s interests and created more integrative deals. These results show that negotiated outcomes are influenced by both goal type and the extent to which negotiators view their skills as malleable.
Bell, C., Crawshaw, J.R. and Cropanzano, R. (2013), "Organizational Justice: New Insights From Behavioural Ethics", Human Relations, 66(7), 1-20.
Both organizational justice and behavioural ethics are concerned with questions of ‘right and wrong’ in the context of work organizations. Until recently they have developed largely independently of each other, choosing to focus on subtly different concerns, constructs and research questions. The last few years have, however, witnessed a significant growth in theoretical and empirical research integrating these closely related academic specialities. We review the organizational justice literature, illustrating the impact of behavioural ethics research on important fairness questions. We argue that organizational justice research is focused on four reoccurring issues: (i) why justice at work matters to individuals; (ii) how justice judgements are formed; (iii) the consequences of injustice; and (iv) the factors antecedent to justice perceptions. Current and future justice research has begun and will continue borrowing from the behavioural ethics literature in answering these questions.
Abdel-Latif, A., Aycan, Z., Bell, C., Bruss, C.B., Chiao, J. Y., Dabbagh, M.A., Dagher, M., Gelfand, M., Khashan, H., Lee, T., Lun, J., Lyons, S., Shteynberg, G. and Soomro, N. (2012), "The Cultural Contagion of Conflict", Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, 367, 692 – 703.
Anecdotal evidence abounds that conflicts between two individuals can spread across networks to involve a multitude of others. We advance a cultural transmission model of intergroup conflict where conflict contagion is seen as a consequence of universal human traits (ingroup preference, outgroup hostility; i.e. parochial altruism) which give their strongest expression in particular cultural contexts. Qualitative interviews conducted in the Middle East, USA and Canada suggest that parochial altruism processes vary across cultural groups and are most likely to occur in collectivistic cultural contexts that have high ingroup loyalty. Implications for future neuroscience and computational research needed to understand the emergence of intergroup conflict are discussed.
Bell, C., Fiksenbaum, L., Greenglass, E.R. and Marjanovic, Z. (2011), "Psychometric Evaluation of the Financial Threat Scale (FTS) in the Context of the Great Recession", Journal of Economic Psychology, 36, 1-10.
In the current economic downturn, people are fearful, uncertain, and preoccupied about how the recession affects them, their loved ones, and their collective futures. In short, they feel threatened by the stability and security of their personal finances. This study examined the psychometric properties of the Financial Threat Scale (FTS), a 5-item scale which was designed to measure these feelings. Data were collected in Canada at the height of the recession as part of a larger international investigation on the economic downturn and psychological health. Results showed the FTS is unidimensional and highly reliable. The FTS’ validity was supported by showing its relations with (1) psychological health outcomes, financial situation measures, and individual differences measures, all in the expected directions. The FTS also showed incremental validity by accounting for variance in psychological health outcomes above-and-beyond that of either the financial situation measures or individual differences measures. The theoretical and practical implications of the FTS are discussed.
Bell, C., Li, Y. and Peng, H. (forthcoming), "How and When Intragroup Relationship Conflict Leads to Knowledge Hiding: The Roles of Envy and Trait Competitiveness", International Journal of Conflict Management.
Purpose: Although studies have demonstrated that knowledge hiding is an important inhibitor of organizational innovation, current research does not clearly address how intragroup relationship conflict influences knowledge hiding. This study aims to identify the underlying mechanism between intra-group relationship conflict and knowledge hiding. Design/methodology/approach: Drawing on affective events theory (AET), the authors propose a theoretical model and empirically test it by applying hierarchical regression analysis and a bootstrapping approach to data from a multi-wave survey of 224 employees in China. Findings: Consistent with AET, the empirical results show that envy mediates perceived intragroup relationship conflict and knowledge hiding. As predicted, trait competitiveness moderates the indirect effect of perceived intragroup relationship conflict on knowledge hiding via envy. Originality/value: The results support an AET perspective whereby knowledge hiding is shaped by relationship conflict, envy and trait competitiveness. This study introduces the novel proposition that relationship conflict and competitiveness influence envy, and consequently knowledge hiding.
Courses TaughtDoctoral Seminar:
ORGS 7900 – Graduate doctoral seminar
INTL 5220 – International Dimensions of Organizational Behavior. IMBA
MGMT 6100 – MBA Strategy Field Study
ORGS 5100 – Introduction to Organizational Behavior. Mumbai Campus
ORGS 6560 – Negotiations. MBA
ORGS 4560 – Negotiations
ORGS 4950 – Leaders, Heroes and Culture
ORGS 2000/3000 – Organizational Behavior
PSYC 4000 – Psychology Undergraduate Honour’s Thesis
Project Title Role Award Amount Year Awarded Granting Agency Project Title Role Award Amount$13,700.00 Year Awarded2003-2014 Granting AgencyYork University Small Research Grants Project Title Role Award Amount$1,500.00 Year Awarded2014 Granting AgencySchulich Research Fellowship Project Title RolePrincipal Investigator Award Amount$6,623.00 Year Awarded2014 Granting AgencyLahore University of Management Sciences Project Title RolePrincipal Investigator Award Amount$10,000.00 Year Awarded2012-2013 Granting AgencySchulich School of Business Research Grant Project TitleAutomaticity of Justice and Trust Cognitions RolePrincipal Investigator Award Amount$80,835.00 Year Awarded2004 Granting AgencySocial Sciences and Humanities Research Council - Standard Research Grant