Justice and Injustice
Justice encompasses our beliefs about what is right and wrong. Such beliefs may rest on the principle of everyone receiving the same OR people receiving in relation to need.
Thus, injustice is the perception that we have not been treated the way we should. When we experience injustice, our emotional response is often negative and can range from dissatisfaction through anger as well as sadness, fear and hopelessness – substantially affecting our emotional well-being.
Workplace Injustice and our response
In the workplace, our experiences of injustice may be connected to inter-personal relationships (those we are working with daily), but may also be related to institutional policies and procedures which affect us in ways that we perceive as unfair. Such experiences can lead to withdrawal and ultimately a decision to leave the post, or they may lead – depending on the individual and the organizational structures – to grievances or other procedures to address the problem. Another route is seeking counseling to develop strategies to cope with the experience.
Addressing the injustice in the ways that seem most available to you is important given studies have shown the long-term negative effects of injustice experiences.
What Does Earlier Research Tell Us?
Nature carries out a biennial survey on researcher workplace experience, asking about salaries, job satisfaction, work–life balance, discrimination and mental health. In their 2018 survey, the 4,334 respondents who had gone beyond a Bachelor’s were distributed as follows: 40% in North America, 35% in Europe and 16% in Asia.
Respondents were generally not satisfied as to their influence on decisions like job security, career-advancement opportunities and recognition for achievements.
More than a third had experienced lack of well-being.
16% had either received help or were currently getting help for depression or anxiety.
17% had not received help but would like to.
3% had sought help but had yet to receive it.
As for experiences of injustice which can have negative effects on job satisfaction and overall sense of well-being:
28% reported seeing such problems at their current job
21% had personally experienced such treatment.
Of these respondents, gender was the most commonly experienced or observed at 47%.
Age (23%) and race (22%) discrimination were also relatively common.
91% of gender discrimination experiences were female.
Generally, respondents felt their workplaces were not doing enough to promote diversity: 58% in industry and 50% in academia.
Do You Want to Participate?
Visibility is key to addressing injustice wherever it may be. If you have experienced injustice in the workplace and would like to share your story, please consider participating in our survey.
Woolston, C. (2018). Paths less travelled, Nature, V562, Oct 21 2018, 611-614.
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