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Personality and Social Psychology


The Group Engagement Model: Procedural Justice, Social Identity, and Cooperative Behavior
Tom R. Tyler and Steven L. Blader
Pers Soc Psychol Rev 2003 7: 349
DOI: 10.1207/S15327957PSPR0704_07

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Personality and Social Psychology Review Copyright 2003 by
2003, Vol. 7. No. 4, 349-361 Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.

The Group Engagement Model: Procedural Justice, Social Identity, and

Cooperative Behavior
Tom R. Tyler
Department of Psychology
New York Universitv

Steven L. Blader
Stern School of Business
New York University

The group engagement model expands the insights of the group-value model of pro-
cedural justice and the relational model of authority into an explanation for why
procedural justice shapes cooperation in groups, organizations, and societies. It hy-
pothesizes that procedures are important because they shape people's social iden-
tity within groups, and social identity in turn influences attitudes, values, and be-
haviors. The model further hypothesizes that resource judgments exercise their
influence indirectly by shaping social identity. This social identity mediation hy-
pothesis explains why people focus on procedural justice, and in particular on pro-
cedural elements related to the quality of their interpersonal treatment, because
those elements carry the most social identity-relevant information. In this article,
we review several key insights of the group engagement model, relate these insights
to important trends in psychological research on justice, and discuss implications
of the model for the future of procedural justice research.

The original goal of social justice research was In this article, we put forth a theoretical model
to demonstrate the power of justice judgments to that develops from the findings of earlier models and
shape people's thoughts, feelings, and actions (Ty- shifts in the focus of justice research. Specifically,
ler, 2000; Tyler, Boeckmann, Smith, & Huo, 1997; we present theory and research on our group engage-
Tyler & Smith, 1997). Justice studies have, in fact, ment model, which draws together the insights of the
continually provided strong and consistent demon- group-value model of procedural justice (Lind & Ty-
strations of support for this basic justice hypothe- ler, 1988) and the relational model of authority (Ty-
sis. Justice has an impact; it is substantial in magni- ler & Lind, 1992) and extends them to understand
tude; it is consistently found across a wide variety the antecedents of cooperation in groups (Tyler &
of group and organizational contexts; and it is dis- Blader, 2000). The argument underlying the group
tinct from judgments of self-interest or per- engagement model is that people's focus on proce-
sonal/group gain. This conclusion suggests that in- dural justice sheds light on their motivations for en-
formation about justice is central to people's gaging in groups, and thus the model explicitly pos-
evaluations of social situations (Tyler et al., 1997; its what those motivations are. In so doing, it
van den Bos & Lind, 2002). contributes to our understanding of what people are
Justice research has evolved a great deal in the seeking when they involve themselves in groups and
process of developing these insights about the role the importance of justice in social settings. The
of justice in social contexts. Numerous models re- model also suggests some innovative directions for
lated to the justice phenomena have been proposed. future research.
Some of these continue to shape the face of justice Because it is important to understand the past to
research today, whereas others have fallen into rela- evaluate new theories and models, we preview our
tive obscurity by their inability to withstand empiri- presentation of the model by a discussion of major
cal scrutiny. All have contributed to the history of shifts in justice research and how they are addressed
justice research. by the group engagement model. We also explicitly
distinguish the group engagement model from earlier
Requests for reprints should be sent to Tom R. Tyler, Depart- models that contributed to its development, and then
ment of Psychology. New York University, 6 Washington Place, provide a more in-depth treatment of the model and
Room 550, New York, NY 10003. E-mail: the propositions it raises for future research.
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The History of Social Justice Research Huo, 1997; Tyler & Smith, 1997). This does not mean,
of course, that people no longer study distributive jus-
The Shift From Distributive to tice, but that there is a particularly strong focus in cur-
Procedural Justice rent research on issues of procedural justice. This focus
is embodied in the group engagement model by the key
Early research on justice focused on the argument
role it accords to procedural justice.
that people's feelings and behaviors in social interac-
tions flow from their assessments of the fairness of
their outcomes when dealing with others (distributive The Focus on Treatment Issues in
fairness). This hypothesis was widely supported. In Definitions of Procedural Justice
particular, experimental studies showed that people A second important shift in justice research has
were most satisfied when outcomes were distributed been a change in how procedural justice is defined.
fairly (Walster, Walster, & Berscheid, 1978). What was Early work on procedural justice was guided by the in-
most striking and provocative about these results were fluential research program of Thibaut and Walker
the adverse reactions by those who received more than (1975). Thibaut and Walker centered their procedural
they felt they deserved; people did not react well to be- justice studies on procedures as mechanisms for mak-
ing 'over-benefited.'This finding suggested that people ing decisions about the allocation of outcomes. In par-
will give up resources and accept less when they be- ticular, they focused on formal procedures that related
lieve doing so is fair. to decision-making processes in legal settings. So
Despite the impressive findings of early studies of Thibaut and Walker linked their discussions of proce-
distributive justice, the focus of attention among justice dures primarily to issues of decision making, and in
researchers has increasingly shifted away from studying particular to issues of decision making about allocation
only distributive justice to a focus on people's distribu- decisions. Because their procedural models were
tive and procedural justice concerns. A number of fac- rooted in an era in which distributive justice domi-
tors have driven this shift. First, research shows that dis- nated, their focus was natural. This context also influ-
tributive justice judgments are often biased (e.g., enced their theory development, because they linked
Messick & Sentis, 1985; Ross & Sicoly, 1979; Thomp- people's desire for fair procedures to their desire to
son & Loewenstein, 1992). This limits the utility of dis- achieve equitable outcomes. They proposed that peo-
tributive justice as a construct, because people will often ple value procedural justice (operationalized in their
see themselves as deserving more favorable outcomes research as voice or process control) because it facili-
than others see them as deserving. As a result, people tates decision makers' ability to make equitable judg-
frequently cannot be given what they feel they deserve, ments. In other words, procedures are valued insofar as
and distributive justice has not proven as useful in re- they affect the outcomes that are associated with them.
solving group conflicts as was initially hoped. This focus on decision making in allocation con-
A greater focus on procedural justice issues was texts is no longer true of procedural justice research.
also driven by later studies that looked simultaneously Researchers have increasingly moved their attention
at the impact of distributive and procedural justice away from an exclusive focus on the decision-making
judgments and found a predominant influence of pro- function of procedures to include more attention to the
cedural justice on people's reactions in groups (Alex- interpersonal aspects of procedures. Those interper-
ander & Ruderman, 1987; Tyler & Caine, 1981). These sonal aspects of procedures arise because procedures
studies, conducted in settings in which people had in- are settings within which people are involved in a so-
formation about both distributive and procedural jus- cial interaction with one another. This is true regardless
tice, found that procedural justice judgments play the of whether the procedure involves bargaining, a market
major role in shaping people's reactions to their per- exchange, team interaction among equals, or a third
sonal experiences. More recent research echoes these party procedure with a decision maker, such as media-
findings about the relative impact of procedural and tion or a trial.
distributive justice concerns (Tyler & Blader, 2000). In In social interactions there is considerable variation
addition, people who were asked to talk about personal in the manner in which people treat one another. They
experiences of injustice were found to talk primarily can act politely, rudely, respectfully, with hostility, and
about procedural issues, in particular about being so on. These aspects of the interpersonal experience of
treated with a lack of respect when dealing with others a procedure-which occur in the context of an interac-
(Messick, Bloom, Boldizar, & Samuelson, 1985; tion whose overt purpose is to make a decision to allo-
Mikula, Petri, & Tanzer, 1990). cate resources or resolve a conflict-may also influ-
Justice research has followed the path outlined by ence those who are involved.
this evidence because it finds that the primary impact An example of this shift from an exclusive focus on
on people comes from their judgments about the fair- decision making to a focus that includes attention to the
ness of procedures (see Tyler, Boeckmann, Smith, & interpersonal quality of the interaction can be found in
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the literature on voice or process control. In the early findings about what impacts the people they study. This
work of Thibaut and Walker (1975), the opportunity to has led them to increasingly turn their research toward
present evidence was linked to the desire to influence the exploring interpersonal or interactional aspects of pro-
decisions made by third party decision makers. The cedures-which are reflected in judgments about the
value of the opportunity to speak was directly related to quality of one's treatment by others.
their estimate of how much influence they had over the The group engagement model not only incorporates
decision maker. Consequently, in this research people this shift in the focus of how justice is defined-by in-
were not asked about whether they were treated politely corporating quality of treatment issues but also pro-
and with dignity by the decision maker. vides a framework for understanding why this class of
However, later studies of voice suggested that having procedural criteria has the impact that it does.
the opportunity for "voice" had interpersonal or
"value-expressive" worth that was not linked to any in- Moving From Anger and Negative
fluence over the decisions made (Tyler, 1987). These Behaviors to Positive Attitudes-Values
studies showed that people still rated a procedure to be and Cooperative Behaviors
more fair if they had voice, even if they knew that what
Early research on justice was rooted in the literature
they said had little or no influence on the decisions made on relative deprivation, a literature whose origins lie in
(Tyler, Rasinski, & Spodick, 1985). This was true even efforts to understand and explain riots and rebellion
when the opportunity for voice came after the decision
(Crosby, 1976; Gurr, 1970). This focus on negative at-
was already made (Lind, Kanfer, & Earley, 1990). These
titudes and behaviors continued in later efforts to un-
findings suggest that voice has value beyond its ability derstand distributive influences on pay dissatisfaction,
to shape decision-making processes and outcomes.
employee theft, sabotage and turnover, and procedural
What factors are driving the influence of voice, even effects on resistace to third-party decisions (Tyler &
when it clearly cannot affect the eventual outcome or de-
cision? If an authority listens to people's arguments, we
Smith, 1997). However, recent research on procedural
justice has increasingly focused on more prosocial out-
might hypothesize that people think that the authority is comes, such as how to build trust, encourage responsi-
conferring interpersonal respect on that person. This ar- bility and obligation, generate intrinsic motivation and
gument was supported by the finding that people only creativity, and stimulate voluntary cooperation with
value such voice opportunities if they feel that the au- others (Tyler & Blader, 2000). Similarly, there has
thority is "considering" their arguments (Tyler, 1987). been increasing attention to exploring when justice
This suggests that people were focused on whether or
motivations encourage people to provide resources to
not they had their concerns and needs in the situation
the disadvantaged (Montada, 1995). Interestingly, this
treated respectfully by the decision maker, independ- shift is consistent with a shift that has been taking place
ently of whether or not the course of action they recom- within psychological research more generally (Snyder
mend to resolve those concerns was adopted. & Lopez, 2002).
Other research on people's procedural justice con- This broadening of the focus of justice research is
cerns directly measured people's focus on the quality
consistent with the group engagement argument that
of their interpersonal treatment ("standing" or "status justice theories provide a basis for understanding peo-
recognition"), and found that it had an effect that was ple's general relationship to groups. That includes both
distinct from their interest in the fairness of deci-
people's negative reactions to injustice and the ability
sion-making judgments. Drawing on these findings, of justice to motivate engagement and cooperation. So-
the relational model of authority (Tyler & Lind, 1992)
explicitly included issues of interpersonal treatment ciety, after all, does not just want people not to riot or
destroy. It also wants them to be happy, creative, and
within the framework of procedural justice concerns. productive.
The relational model, therefore, directly recognized
the importance of interpersonal treatment. Subsequent
studies confirm that issues of interpersonal treatment Models of the Psychology of Justice
or standing independently shape procedural justice
judgments (Tyler, 1988, 1994; Tyler & Huo, 2002). While continually supporting the basic importance
These interpersonal aspects of procedures have been of people's justice judgments, these shifts in focus have
found by recent studies to be so powerful in their impact resulted in a dramatic change in the character of justice
that some researchers have argued that they might po- research since the 1960s. In fact, early justice research-
tentially be treated as a separate type of "interactional" ers might have trouble recognizing many recent justice
justice (Bies & Moag, 1986; Tyler & Bies, 1990). Re- studies as being aboutjustice at least as they originally
gardless of whether the quality of the treatment that peo- understood that construct. Instead of viewing justice as
ple experience via procedures is actually considered a residing in the rules used in the distribution of resources
distinct form of justice (see Blader & Tyler, 2003a, in a group, justice is more recently viewed as being
2003b). justice researchers have again followed their strongly linked to quality of treatment issues, such as
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treating people with politeness and dignity in social in- of procedural justice when dealing with members of
teractions. It is also focused on stimulating commitment their own groups (Tyler, 1999). The relational model
and cooperation, rather than minimizing anger and de- predicts that procedural justice will influence reactions
structive behaviors. to authorities, as has been subsequently found by stud-
We argue that these changes-which were guided ies of legal, political, managerial, familial, and educa-
by the empirical results of justice research-can best tional authorities (Tyler & Smith, 1997). It further pre-
be understood by considering the psychological dy- dicts that relational concerns-in particular neutrality,
namics underlying justice. That is, they can be ex- trustworthiness, and status recognition-will influ-
plained by considering the psychological processes ence procedural justice judgments, an argument sup-
that lead people to react to issues of justice or injustice ported by a number of studies (Tyler, 1989, 1994; Ty-
when they are dealing with others. Much early justice ler, Degoey, & Smith, 1996).
research was focused on showing that justice matters, How does the group engagement model differ from
that is, on demonstrating that people's thoughts, feel- these earlier, empirically supported models? First, the
ings, and behaviors are shaped by their justice judg- group engagement model is broader in its scope. The
ments, suggesting that information about justice is cen- objective of the model is to identify and examine the
tral to people's evaluations of social situations (Tyler et antecedents of attitudes, values, and cooperative be-
al., 1997; van den Bos & Lind, 2002). However, to de- havior in groups. Hence, the group engagement model
velop a deeper understanding of why these effects broadens the focus of justice studies and its predeces-
emerge and why the shifts in research focus we have sor models of justice by positing a general model of the
outlined have occurred we need to pay attention to relationship between people and groups. In trying to
the psychology underlying justice. understand the precursors of people's engagement in
Several models have been proposed to understand the their groups, it identifies and examines a much broader
psychology underlying procedural justice. We will be fo- set of variables-and dynamics between those vari-
cusing here on a set of models that share an emphasis on ables-than earlier justice models.
the relational implications of justice evaluations. These Second, several new ideas and hypotheses flow
models represent a significant systematic research pro- from the group engagement model. It predicts that
gram designed to understand the psychology ofjustice. In identity judgments will be the primary factors shaping
particular, we will be presenting our group engagement attitudes, values, and cooperative behaviors in groups.
model, which integrates the insights of the earlier group Second, it predicts that resource judgments will most
value (Lind & Tyler, 1988) and relational models (Tyler strongly influence attitudes, values, and discretionary
& Lind, 1992) and extends those insights into an explana- cooperative behaviors in groups through their indirect
tion for why procedural justice shapes cooperation in influence on identity judgments, rather than directly.
groups, organizations, and societies. The relationship Third, it predicts that the primary antecedent of iden-
among these three models is shown in Table 1. tity judgments will be judgments about the procedural
The models differ first in their focus. The justice of the group. Fourth, it predicts that status judg-
group-value model focuses on the antecedents of judg- ments about pride and respect will shape identification
ments of procedural justice. The relational model ex- with the group. Each of these novel predictions is elab-
plores the factors shaping reactions to authorities. The orated on in the next section.
models also differ in their predictions. The group-value
model predicts that noninstrumental factors will influ-
ence procedural justice judgments, a prediction con- The Group Engagement Model
firmed both by findings of noninstrumental voice ef-
fects (Lind, Kanfer, & Earley, 1990; Tyler, 1987), and As noted, the key objective of the group engage-
by demonstrations that people care more about issues ment model is to understand what shapes the relation-

Table 1. Comparison of Models of Procedural Justice

Model Focus of Concern Value Added by Model
Group-value model Procedural justice judgments Noninstrumental factors influence judgments about procedural justice
Relational model Authority relations, leadership Procedural justice shapes reactions to authorities
Relational concerns (neutrality, trustworthiness, standing and status
recognition) shape judgments about procedural justice
Group engagement model Attitudes, values, and cooperative Identity judgments directly shape attitudes, values, and cooperative behavior
behavior in groups Resource judgments influence attitudes values, and discretionary
cooperative behavior primarily through their influence on identity
Procedural justice shapes identity judgments
Pride and respect influence identification with the group

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ship that people form with their groups. People have Kelley, 1959) and the identity-based social identity
considerable discretion about the degree to which they model (Hogg & Abrams, 1988).
invest themselves in their groups by working on behdlf The group engagement model argues that groups
of the group. To examine this issue, the group engage- benefit when the people within them engage them-
ment model distinguishes between two classes of co- selves in the group, and groups are particularly benefit-
operative behavior: mandatory and discretionary. ted when that engagement is based on internal motiva-
Mandatory cooperation is behavior that is stipulated by tions because cooperation does not then depend on the
the group, whereas discretionary cooperation origi- ability of the group to utilize incentives or sanctions.
nates with the group member. The model argues that This leaves open the question of how to best encourage
each of these forms of cooperation is differently moti- such internal motivation. We address that issue in the
vated. Of the two, mandatory behaviors are more next section, in which we compare the two social psy-
strongly affected by incentives and sanctions, because chological-motivational models outlined previously
they are behaviors required by the group and thus the and their linkages to cooperation.
group specifically structures incentives and sanctions
to encourage these behaviors. Discretionary behaviors
The Influence of Identity and Resource
are more strongly under the influence of people's inter-
Motivations on Engagement in Groups
nal motivations (their attitudes and values), because
they are behaviors that originate with the individual. The group engagement model contrasts two poten-
Because discretionary cooperative behaviors are espe- tially important aspects of groups, either or both of
cially valuable to groups (see Tyler & Blader, 2000), which might shape group member's cooperation and en-
the precursors of such behavior are especially central gagement: the group's identity implications for the per-
to discussions of the motivation of group members. son within the group (Hogg & Abrams, 1988) and the re-
Further, people do not only have leeway with how sources that the person gains and loses from group
they act on behalf of their groups. They also have dis- membership, in either absolute terms or relative to what
cretion in the degree to which they hold positive atti- is available in other groups (Thibaut & Kelley, 1959).
tudes and values toward the group. Attitudes can serve The group engagement model selects among these
as internal motivations that encourage people to en- two aspects of groups and argues that the central reason
gage in behaviors that benefit the group and that they that people engage themselves in groups is because they
find personally rewarding (i.e., behaviors they "want" use the feedback they receive from those groups to cre-
to do). Values are feelings of responsibility that shape ate and maintain their identities. In other words, the
people's sense of behaviors that they should do (i.e., group engagement model hypothesizes that, of the two
behaviors they "ought" to do), and can thus also serve types of motivations, it is the development and mainte-
as internal motivations. For instance, they may reflect nance of a favorable identity that most strongly influ-
feelings of responsibility and obligation to follow ences cooperation. The model predicts that people's
group rules and the orders of group leaders. They can willingness to cooperate with their group especially
be rooted in either their moral values or their views cooperation that is discretionary in nature-flows from
about the legitimacy of group rules and authorities, the identity information they receive from the group.
both of which are at the discretion and control of the in- That identity information, in turn, is hypothesized to
dividual group member. emanate from evaluations of the procedural fairness ex-
Both attitudes and values are important because perienced in the group. This suggests that identity evalu-
they lead people to be internally motivated to engage in ations and concerns mediate the relationship between
and cooperate with the group. To the degree that people justice judgments and group engagement. We will refer
are internally motivated, they engage in cooperative to this as the social identity mediation hypothesis.
behaviors for personal reasons, and they do not need to Why might this be so? Using social identity theory
receive incentives (rewards) or to face the risk of sanc- as our framework, we argue that an important function
tions (punishments) to encourage their group-related of groups is to provide people with a way of construct-
behaviors. This benefits groups, which are then free to ing a social identity. It is widely recognized that groups
deploy their assets in other ways that benefit the group. shape people's definitions of themselves and their feel-
Understanding how people negotiate this latitude in ings of well-being and self-worth (Hogg & Abrams,
how they think, feel, and act toward the group is impor- 1988; Sedikides & Brewer, 2001). In particular, group
tant for understanding the psychology that drives peo- memberships shape people's conceptions of their so-
ple in group settings. To address this issue, the group cial selves-the aspect of the self that is formed
engagement model contrasts two social psychologi- through identification with groups. Groups help to de-
cal-motivational models concerning the reasons that fine who people are and help them to evaluate their sta-
people have for engaging in groups. These models are tus. The first part of this process involves social catego-
the resource-based social exchange model (Kelley & rization, the taking on of the categories that define
Thibaut, 1978: Rusbult & Van Lange, 1996; Thibaut & one's group and using them to construct one's self-im-

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age. The second part of the process involves linking exchange models, many social psychological discus-
views about self-worth and self-esteem to group mem- sions of people's relationships with groups have
berships. Thus, to some degree people's sense of their argued that this exchange of material resources is the
own worth is linked to the groups to which they belong. fundamental reason that people engage in groups.
This aspect of self, as opposed to the personal self The social exchange perspective is the basis of sev-
(unique individual traits), or the relational self (the self eral more recent resource-based models, including the
defined by dyadic relationships), will be the focus of investment model, which focuses on exit and loyalty to
this discussion. Sedikides and Brewer (2001) referred groups (Rusbult & Van Lange, 1996); realistic group
to the aspect of the self we consider as the collective conflict theory (Levine & Campbell, 1972); models of
self-the self linked to group memberships. leader-member exchange (Dansereau, Graen, & Haga,
The group engagement model distinguishes among 1975); models of in-role behavior (Eisenberger, Hun-
three aspects of group-linked or social identity: identi- tington, Hutchinson, & Sowa, 1986); goal theories of
fication, pride, and respect. Identification reflects the motivation (Locke & Latham, 1990); and sanc-
degree to which people cognitively merge their sense tion-based models of regulation (Nagin, 1998).
of self and their evaluations of self-worth with their These resource-based perspectives predict that peo-
judgments of the characteristics and status of their ple's level of cooperation with a group will be shaped by
groups. Pride reflects the person's evaluation of the sta- the level of the material resources that they receive from
tus of their group. Respect reflects their evaluation of that group and the sanctioning risks they face within the
their status within the group. The group engagement group. Thus, the willingness to voluntarily cooperate
model argues that each of these aspects of identity with the group by doing things that help the group flows
plays an important role in people's relationship to their from assessments ofthe desirability of the resources that
group. This argument is shown in Figure 1. It focuses are gained or lost by association with the group. In addi-
on what people get from groups in the form of ac- tion, loyalty to the group will also be shaped by the level
knowledgment and recognition of their identities. of resources people are obtaining, relative to what they
As we have noted, the identity-based model of co- might obtain in another group (Rusbult & Van Lange,
operation can be contrasted to a resource-based model 1996). Though social exchange perspectives by and
of cooperation. Social psychologists have long recog- large emphasize the importance of material resources,
nized that people interact with others to exchange ma- such as food, money, security, and so on, it is important
terial resources. These material resources can vary to note that some models acknowledge that individuals
widely-from things such as food to money-but re- may develop a long-term perspective on resource ex-
gardless they share the characteristic of being material change (Foa & Foa, 1974; Kelley & Thibaut, 1978).
resources that people obtain through their cooperation The group engagement model proposes that the
with others (Thibaut & Kelley, 1959). Guided by social identity model prevails over the resource model in pre-

Behavioral engagement


Figure 1. The group engagement model.

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dicting engagement and cooperation. It argues that re- and resource-based judgments. It is this aspect of the
source judgments do not directly shape engagement. group engagement model that directly addresses issues
This is not to say that the group engagement model ar- of justice. The group engagement model argues that
gues that resource judgments have no influence on en- people are most strongly influenced by one aspect of the
gagement. Instead, the model hypothesizes that re- policies and practices oftheir group the fairness of the
source judgments indirectly influence most forms of group's procedures. This argument builds on the perva-
engagement by shaping identity. That is, to some de- sive finding that procedural justice judgments have a
gree, people evaluate their identity and status in a par- strong and widespread influence on people's thoughts,
ticular group by the level of the resources that they are feelings, and behaviors in group contexts (Lind & Tyler,
receiving from that group. To the extent that having 1988; Tyler, Boeckmann, Smith, & Huo, 1997; Tyler &
more resources in a group leads people to feel better Smith, 1997).
about their identity with the group, they will engage In other research, we have argued that the procedural
themselves more in that group. fairness that influences people in groups emanates from
It is not obvious that people's engagement in groups two different sources. First, people are influenced by
would be the result of identity judgments. People could their judgments about the fairness that is linked to the
potentially consider a wide variety of aspects of their formal rules of the group. These rules can be enshrined
relationship to their group when they are evaluating the in a constitution or mission statement or articulated by
degree to which they want to engage themselves in a group leaders in speeches and written documents. Sec-
group. One thing that we might expect people to con- ond, people are also influenced by theirjudgments about
sider is reward level-that is, people might consider the fairness of the implementation of these rules and
their salaries; the number of resources they are given to procedures by particular authorities (teachers, supervi-
manage; and the size of their office, their car, or their sors, parents), by group members (classmates, cowork-
home as key inputs into their judgments about how ers, siblings) with whom the individual has one-time or
much to engage themselves in a group. The group en- ongoing personal experiences, or both. Studies suggest
gagement model argues that this is not the case and that that both formal rules and their implementation by par-
such material rewards primarily influence engagement ticular authorities have an influence on people's reac-
indirectly, by influencing identity status. The key argu- tions to groups (Rupp & Cropanzano, 2002; Tyler &
ment of the group engagement model is that people's Blader, 2000).
level of cooperation with groups is primarily shaped by Further, this research hypothesizes that, for both of
the extent to which they identify with those groups. these two sources of justice-what we termformal and
Cooperation is driven, in other words, by the motiva- informal sources-people react to two classes of pro-
tion to create and maintain a favorable identity. cedural information. Those classes or categories of
It seems counterintuitive to many people to argue that procedural elements are the quality of the decision
resources are not the primary factor that directly shapes making that occurs and the quality of treatment that
engagement. Certainly, people can think of many exam- people experience. Studies suggest that both issues of
ples from their everyday lives that seem to suggest a re- decision making and issues of quality of treatment in-
source-based linkage with engagement. The seeming im- fluence people's procedural justice-related reactions in
portance of resource concerns is also supported by some groups (Tyler & Blader, 2000). Note how the inclusion
research findings. This may reflect evidence of the indi- of quality of treatment issues is consistent with the
rectconnection between resourcejudgments and engage- trend in justice research that we discussed earlier.
ment ofthe type we have already outlined. If, as the group By combining the distinction between formal and in-
engagement model argues, resource judgments indi- formal sources of justice with the distinction between
rectly influence engagement, then studies that do not decision making and treatment concerns, we arrive at a
measure identity judgments will find a connection be- four-component model of procedural justice (Blader &
tween resource judgments and engagement. However, Tyler, 2003a, 2003b; Tyler & Blader, 2000). The
the group engagement model suggests that, in a fully four-component model argues that each ofthe four com-
specified model, which includes both resource and iden- ponents represents a distinctjustice evaluation made by
tity judgments, the spurious connection between re- group members and, furthermore, that each has a unique
sourcejudgments and engagement will disappear (except influence in determining overall evaluations of proce-
for that between resources and mandatory cooperation), dural justice. Empirical research confirms these asser-
whereas a mediated connection will remain. tions (Blader & Tyler, 2003a; Tyler & Blader, 2000).
This work on the four-component model links to our
work on the group engagement model through the hy-
What Organizational Conditions pothesis that these procedural elements are important
Matter? because they shape people's identities. The group en-
The group engagement model also considers how the gagement model argues that, when people want to make
policies and practices of the group shape identity-based identity assessments, one aspect of their lives that they
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look to is the procedures of the groups to which they be- tive identity, then group-related status judgments
long. The group engagement model argues that people should shape engagement in the group. People should
focus heavily on issues of the procedural justice of their be more engaged in groups that have positive identity
groups because they find procedural justice information implications for the self, both because association with
to be the most useful identity-related information they the group builds positive identity and because associa-
can have about their groups. The four-component model tion is needed to maintain the viability of the group that
more specifically stipulates what aspects of procedures sustains that identity.
people use to make judgments about their group-based We conceptualize status assessments as being re-
identity. flected by two different concepts pride and respect.
As we have already noted, it is also possible to con- Pride reflects judgments about the status of the group,
ceptualize a relationship between the person and the also indexed by measures of group prestige (Mael &
group that is centered around the exchange of resources. Asforth, 1992; Smidts, Pruyn, & val Riel, 2000). It ex-
If this were the key motivation that shapes people's en- presses a person s view about the status of their group.
gagement in groups, we would expect that the element People who belong to groups that they feel have high
of group policies and practices that would most shape status feel good about themselves by virtue of their as-
their engagement is their estimate of the degree to which sociation with the group. These feelings stem primarily
the rules and policies of the group provide them with de- from noncomparative feelings of inclusion in a high
sirable resources. Such desirable resources may be con- status group, rather than from comparisons of one's
ceptualized as either outcomes that are fair or that are fa- group to other groups (Tyler & Blader, 2002).
vorable, and thus either of these two outcome judgments Respect reflects judgments about one's status within
could affect group members' resource judgments. the group. It expresses a person's view about their status
These resourcejudgments could, in turn, influence their in the eyes of other group members. Respect is also re-
engagement in the group. In the case of either outcome ferred to as social reputation (Emler & Hopkins, 1990).
fairness or outcome favorability, it is the concern over Whereas social identity theory was originally focused
the outcomes that are being received from the group that on the status of groups (i.e., on intergroup phenomena),
would be driving engagement in groups. it is also recognized that people are influenced by their
We therefore have stipulated separate antecedents judgments of their status within groups (Doosje et al.,
of the two types of judgments that we recognized ear- 1999; Noel, Wann, & Branscombe, 1995).
lier as being potentially important in determining en- Research supports the premise of the group engage-
gagement in groups. That is, earlier we described both ment model by showing that identification, pride, and
resource and identity-based antecedents of engage- respect are connected to feelings of self-esteem and
ment in groups. Now we have identified the antecedent self-worth (Tyler & Blader, 2000; Tyler, Degoey, &
organizational conditions that can determine these two Smith, 1996). This is consistent with the argument of
evaluations. the group engagement model that people use group
identity-based judgments to evaluate themselves.
These three identity elements of the group engage-
What Is Identity? ment model-identification, pride, and respect-are
As noted earlier, the group engagement model dis- each predicted to be related to engagement in groups.
tinguishes among three aspects of identity: identifica- However, they are not equivalent constructs. In partic-
tion, pride, and respect (Tyler & Blader, 2000, 2001). ular, status indicators (pride, respect) are hypothesized
One approach to identity is to define it as identifica- to influence identification, as shown in Figure 1. This
tion, or as the degree to which people merge their relationship develops because people should be more
sense of self with the group thinking of themselves highly motivated to merge their identity with a group
and the group in similar terms and defining them- when the group has high status (pride), when they feel
selves in terms of their group membership. In Tyler that they have status in the group (respect), or both.
and Blader (2000) we referred to this process of Doing so ensures that their identification is with a
merger of self and group as psychological engage- group that makes them feel good about their social
ment in the group. It has also been referred to as selves, with the obvious benefits that that entails for
identification with the group. The group engagement their overall sense of self. Pride and respect, in other
model hypothesizes that when people identify more words, engender identification with the group in peo-
strongly with a group, they will be more willing to ple's motivated attempts to develop and maintain a
act cooperatively in that group-investing their time positive social identity.
and energy in working to see the group succeed.
A second way to conceptualize the role of identity The Group Engagement Model
in shaping engagement in groups is to consider the in-
fluence of status judgments. If groups serve an impor- To summarize, we have developed several argu-
tant function in the creation and maintenance of a posi- ments regarding the antecedents of group engagement.

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First, we have outlined two potential proximal determi- identity judgments on discretionary, as compared to
nants of group members' engagement: (a) their identity mandatory, behavior. Second, resource judgments were
judgments and (b) their resource judgments. Regard- found to influence attitudes, values, and discretionary
ing these proximal determinants, we have argued that cooperative behaviors indirectly, through identity judg-
identity judgments are the central issue for predicting ments, but not directly. Third, procedural justice judg-
engagement and cooperation, and we have further ar- ments were found to be the primary antecedent of iden-
gued that the influence of resource judgments is medi- tity judgments (Tyler & Blader, 2000, p. 136). The
ated by these identity concerns. Further, we described relationship between pride, respect, and identification
these identity judgments as composed of both status was not examined in this initial test of the model, and
and identification concerns. Second, we have identi- thus awaits empirical confirmation.
fied the organizational conditions that are linked to
these two potential determinants of engagement. In the
Trends in Justice Research and the
case of identity evaluations, we have argued that proce-
Group Engagement Model
dural justice is a key antecedent; group members' iden-
tities vis-a-vis the group are determined in large part by When we reconsider the trends in the justice litera-
their evaluations of the fairness of the group's proce- ture that were discussed earlier, we find that they are
dures. These process fairness evaluations, in turn, are consistent with the arguments of the group engagement
composed of four distinct and important judgments. In model. First, research attention has shifted from an
the case of resource evaluations, we have argued that early exclusive focus on the influence of people's judg-
issues of both outcome fairness (i.e., distributive ments about distributive justice to a more recent focus
justice) and outcome favorability are key antecedents. on the influence of both distributive and procedural
This set of hypotheses leads to an integrated model of justice judgments. This is consistent with the group en-
what leads group members to engage in their gagement model's assertion that procedural justice
groups-the group engagement model, presented in judgments are central antecedents of how people de-
Figure 1. The overall group engagement model makes velop their identities in relation to their groups. Sec-
clear why people focus so heavily on whether or not their ond, within the study of procedural justice, research
groups' procedures are fair. The procedural fairness has shifted from exclusively defining procedural fair-
judgment provides key information that shapes the de- ness by the quality of decision-making procedures to
gree to which people regard their group as having high broader definitions of procedural fairness that also
status, regard themselves as having high status in their consider the quality of people's interpersonal treat-
group, and identify with the group by merging their ment when they are interacting with others. This is
sense of self with the group. Procedural justice judg- consistent with the prominent role that treatment crite-
ments are thus a key antecedent of identity assessments. ria of procedural justice play in the group engagement
Identity assessments, in turn, are the key determinant model, and in the clear linkage of this class of criteria
of important psychological and behavioral connections with concerns about group-related identity.
to the group. The degree to which people identify with Third, there has been a shift away from focusing pri-
their group shapes the degree to which they develop sup- marily on negative reactions to experiences-anger, dis-
portive attitudes and values and the degree to which they satisfaction, and negative behaviors ranging from rioting
engage themselves behaviorally in the group. to sabotage (Crosby, 1976; Greenberg, 1990)-toward
Outcome judgments, such as outcome fairness and greater attention to positive attitudes and values and co-
outcome favorability, do influence evaluations of the operative behaviors (Tyler & Blader, 2000). This is re-
resources received from the group. However, our group flected in the breadth of attitudes and behaviors addressed
engagement model argues that these resource judg- by the group engagement model. Such a broader focus is
ments do not directly influence attitudes, values, or be- consistent with the idea that justice models should and do
havioral engagement. Instead, it is argued that their in- provide a general framework within which we can under-
fluence on these important group outcomes is stand people's connections to groups.
mediated by group members' identity judgments. Thus, we argue that the underlying psychological
Are the proposals of the group engagement model dynamics suggested by the group engagement model
valid? Tyler and Blader (2000) provided a preliminary can shed light on how and why justice research has
test of the model using survey data from 404 employees evolved in many of the respects that it has. Whereas
drawn from a variety of work organizations. Using justice researchers' initial attention was focused on is-
causal modeling, they tested several of the key hypothe- sues that reflected the context in which they were oper-
ses of the group engagement model and found support ating, empirical results suggested alternative ap-
for all of them (see Tyler & Blader, 2000, p. 196). First, proaches that provided relatively better insight into the
they found that identity judgments shaped attitudes, val- issue of group engagement. Those empirical findings
ues, and cooperative behaviors. Consistent with the pre- can be understood by considering the essential argu-
dictions of the model, they found a greater influence of ments put forth by the group engagement model.
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Implications of the Group Engagement ciation with a group is less unclear but instead clearly
Model negative, deleterious consequences are even more
likely. For instance, people who are members of certain
In the remainder of this article, we further explore stigmatized demographic groups often have negative
several issues that flow from the theoretical framework stereotypes applied to them, making them feel low sta-
put forth by the group engagement model. Specifically, tus within the broader superordinate groups of which
we consider the fundamental issue of why procedural they are also members. These stereotypes can have a
justice demonstrates the important links to identity that serious impact on these individuals. Research in
we predict and observe. Further, we consider some im- achievement settings, for example, demonstrates that
portant distinctions between the two status judgments the behavior of people who are potentially vulnerable
we have outlined (pride and respect). These issues pro- to stereotype application is changed, with people reluc-
vide further insight into the psychological underpin- tant to engage themselves psychologically and
nings of the model, and specify important new direc- behaviorally in tasks that might result in identity dam-
tions for empirical research on the model. aging feedback linked to confirming negative sub-
group stereotypes (Steele, Spencer, & Aronson, 2002).
The degree to which people identify reflects their ef-
Procedural Justice as Identity Security fort to balance the potential identity gains associated
Why does procedural justice play such an important with merging their identities with a group against the po-
role in shaping identification with the group, which in tential risks ofthat same merger of the self and the group.
turn links procedural justice with cooperation in the The group engagement model argues that, to the degree
group? We propose that procedural justice provides that people feel that the group makes decisions via fair
identity security. A merger of the self with the group procedures, they are more likely to feel that their identity
may provide people with support for positive feelings can be safely and securely merged with that of the group.
of self-worth and high self-esteem, through their con- Procedural justice, in other words, appears to allay peo-
nection to the group. By being members of a group, ple's concerns that group membership will result in neg-
people can first use the group as a source of iden- ative consequences for the self; it provides them with a
tity-relevant categories through which they define sense of identity security. The existence of such security
themselves. In addition, they can use the status of the leads people to feel comfortable engaging psychologi-
group as a source of self-affirmation-gaining confi- cally and behaviorally in groups.
dence in their own identity through their association This argument only raises a more fundamental
with the group. Thus, people have a great deal to gain question, however. Why does procedural justice pro-
by their association with groups, at least if that associa- vide identity security? Because each of the two func-
tion has favorable identity implications. tions of procedures-quality of decision making and
Although using a group to determine one's identity quality of interpersonal treatment-contributes to peo-
can facilitate positive feelings of self-worth and self-es- ple's assessment that it is safe for them to merge their
teem, it also contains risks. People can receive favorable identity with their group. Consider the quality of the
identity-relevant information, but they can also have decision making in the group. If a group makes deci-
their identities damaged when they receive negative sions unfairly (i.e., inconsistently, based on biases or
feedback from the group. So, for example, a person who personal opinions instead of facts), then there is a risk
identifies more strongly with a group is more psycho- that stereotypes or personal prejudices might poten-
logically damaged when they see that the group operates tially be applied to group members that belong to par-
in negative ways (Brockner, Tyler, & Cooper-Schnei- ticular subgroups. Experiencing stereotyping and prej-
der, 1992). Opening one's self up to the group creates udice within the groups that people belong to is
vulnerabilities and opens up the possibility of receiving damaging to their sense of self, which may in turn lead
negative feedback that damages one's identity. People them to maintain a psychological distance between
are sensitive to the potential pitfalls of identification their identity and group membership. Fair procedures
with groups that provide them with negative status infor- reassure people that stereotypes are not and will not be
mation. Status evaluations (pride, respect) positively applied. Neutrality, in other words, encourages confi-
predict identification with the group, and thus the more dence in the security of including the group in one's
favorable these status evaluations, the stronger people's sense of self, leading people to be more willing to en-
level of identification with the group. gage in a group.
Whereas the risk of receiving damaging To understand how this argument differs from a so-
information exists for everyone, it is especially strong cial exchange perspective, consider the ex-
for those members of groups who are vulnerable. Peo- change-based procedural justice model proposed by
ple are more vulnerable when their status in the group Thibaut and Walker (1975). This model argues that
is unclear, when it is unclear whether they are included people's motivation in disputes with others is to gain
in the group (Tyler & Lind, 1990), or both. When asso- fair outcomes-that is, the resources they deserve.
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They value the opportunity to present evidence (pro- group will undermine their feelings of favorable
cess control) because it allows them to shape the out- self-esteem and self-worth. It will communicate mar-
come of a third parties' decisions (decision control), ginality and exclusion from important protections that
leading that third party to make a decision consistent are extended to most other group members for exam-
with principles of distributive justice. Hence, the goal ple, "freedom from arbitrary arrest and seizure." Racial
of a procedure is to provide outcome security by pro- profiling illustrates the reality that group members are
ducing a fair distribution of resources. The group en- not able to prevent stereotype application in all set-
gagement model is fundamentally different; it pro- tings. People are not able to avoid being in situations in
poses that it is identity security that is key. which they must contend with the police, the courts,
An example of the importance of fair decision-mak- and other group authorities (Lipsky, 1980).
ing procedures is provided by judgments about racial The group engagement model argues that each of
profiling (Tyler & Wakslak. 2002). When people are these two aspects of the procedural justice experienced
stopped by the police, they must infer whether they are in a group carries important identity information to the
being stigmatized by legal authorities via the applica- group member, with the result that procedural justice
tion of a negative group stereotype to them based not on judgments are especially important to people when
what they are doing, but on their race, gender, or age. If they are evaluating groups. Procedural justice is a par-
they are, this behavior by group authorities carries nega- ticularly important source of this information, we ar-
tive identity implications, raising questions about gue, because the phenomena of process fairness pro-
whether they are included in the rights accorded to vides people with reassurance that they can safely draw
members of the superordinate group (i.e., the rights ac- a significant portion of their sense of self from the
corded to group members in good standing). What reas- group. Procedures communicate information that peo-
sures people that profiling is not occurring, so that the ple care about in evaluating their group memberships,
ticket they have received does not reflect negatively on and furthermore allow them to make inferences about
their social status? If people infer that the authorities are the nature of their future connection to the group. Such
making their decisions fairly, they are less likely to say inferences are important for determining their engage-
that they are being profiled. These inferences and the ment in the group.
identity implications that flow from them may have
large consequences on these group members' attitudes, Pride Versus Respect
values, and cooperation with the superordinate group.
The second aspect of procedural justice is the qual- This discussion has treated pride and respect as dis-
ity of the treatment that a person experiences when tinct but related aspects of people's status judgments.
dealing with others. This aspect of procedural justice However, it is possible to distinguish between these
feeds directly into people's identity judgments, be- two aspects of status and make distinct predictions
cause treatment with dignity and politeness, as well as about them. In particular, pride reflects the categorical
the consideration of one's needs and concerns, are also self, whereas respect reflects the reputational self (Ty-
aspects of interpersonal experience that communicate ler & Smith, 1999). Thus, these two aspects of status
that one is valued by others. Again using the example speak to different psychological drives: the drive to
of racial profiling, studies suggest that people are less have a positive social identity and the drive to have a
likely to think that they have been profiled when they positive personal identity.
are treated politely and with dignity, when they feel The categorical self reflects a focus on category at-
that their needs and concerns are recognized, and when tributes and in particular on the status of the
they feel that their rights are acknowledged. People in- group what is good or bad about the group, its values,
fer that police officers who treat them politely and with its identity, and so on. It diminishes distinctions among
respect are affirming their status rather than undermin- group members and focuses on common attributes.
ing or raising questions about it. Hence, quality of Hence, the categorical self is created from prototypical
treatment is also associated with whether people feel elements of the group. This focus leads to a motivation
that stereotypes are being applied. In addition, evalua- to be loyal to the group, its values, its rules. and its au-
tions that the treatment experienced in the group con- thorities. Hence, we predict it will be linked to public
text is fair reassures people that they will receive treat- behaviors that display loyalty. We hypothesize that it
ment that affirms their status well into the future of will lead to increased attention to the group and group
their group membership. This also reassures people's values, leading to conformity and uniformity of behav-
sense of identity security. ior among group members.
The example of racial profiling illustrates the risks a The reputational self is based on a focus on the per-
person undertakes when merging one's sense of self son within the group. People's interest in how others in
into a group. If people are drawing their sense of self the group view them leads to attention to their unique
from a superordinate group membership, then demean- and valuable attributes, as those attributes are identi-
ing and disrespectful treatment from that superordinate fied by them and by others in the group. The

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reputational self reflects our view of ourselves in the important factor shaping engagement in the group. It is
eyes of others. This focus leads to unique and creative difficult to understand this centrality without according
actions on the part of group members, actions designed identity an important role in mediating the impact of
to create reputational capital by enhancing their favor- procedural justice on engagement. Although we argue
able image among members of the group. People who that decision-making processes are also evaluated from
feel respected by others in their groups are predicted to an identity perspective, their linkages to allocations
become highly committed to the group and voluntarily themselves makes them less conclusive indicators of the
motivated to act in ways that make use of distinctive importance of identity issues.
qualities and abilities. By reviewing research on social justice from the
The group engagement model thus suggests that perspective of the theoretical framework represented
pride will be particularly linked to mandatory-required by the group engagement model, we have attempted to
behavior, whereas respect will be linked especially provide a coherent way of understanding the changes
strongly to discretionary-voluntary behavior. These that have occurred within the field over the last several
influences are expected in addition to the indirect in- decades. We believe that this framework suggests that
fluence that pride and respect have via identification. the findings of social justice research speak to social
This prediction grows out of the recognition that man- psychology more broadly. That is, the core implication
datory behaviors will likely be highly prototypical of the group engagement model about what matters to
group behaviors, since they are identified and stipu- people in social contexts has relevance not only to so-
lated by the group as desirable. Discretionary behav- cial justice research, but to work on group dynamics
iors, on the other hand, originate with the individual and social psychology as a field.
and are thus more idiosyncratic in nature, and should
thus be related to that aspect of the self that strives to
express and protect one's individuality. The model
makes the additional predictions that decision making
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