Exploring the Relationship of Organizational Justice with Chinese Prison Staff Life Satisfaction

AuthorEric G. Lambert,Francis Boateng,Jianhong Liu,Jinwu Zhang,Shanhe Jiang
Published date01 November 2022
Date01 November 2022
Subject MatterArticles
Exploring the
Relationship of
Organizational Justice
with Chinese Prison
Staff Life Satisfaction
Eric G. Lambert
Francis Boateng
, Jianhong Liu
Jinwu Zhang
, and Shanhe Jiang
The bulk of the limited research on prison staff life satisfaction has been
conducted in Western nations, particularly in the U.S., and only two studies
have explored the relationship between organizational justice and life satisfac-
tion, both of which only examined two of the four dimensions of justice. The
current study investigated how all four dimensions of organizational justice
(informational, interpersonal, distributive, and procedural) were related to
life satisfaction among Chinese prison staff. The ordinary least squares (OLS)
regression analysis indicated that informational, procedural, and distributive
justice had signicant positive effects on life satisfaction. Interpersonal justice
hadaninsignicant effect.
correctional staff, life satisfaction, organizational fairness, prison staff, China
Indiana University Northwest, Gary, IN, USA
University of Mississippi, MS, USA
University of Macau, Taipa, Macau, China
Wayne State University, Detroit, MI, USA
Corresponding Author:
Eric G. Lambert, Indiana University Northwest School of Public and Environmental Affairs,
Professional Bldg. 2016, 3400 Broadway, Gary, Indiana, 46408, USA.
Email: elambert55555@gmail.com
The Prison Journal
2022, Vol. 102(5) 565585
© 2022 SAGE Publications
Article reuse guidelines:
DOI: 10.1177/00328855221121113
Working in a prison can be demanding because it involves working with indi-
viduals held against their will. Staff are responsible for a myriad of tasks and
duties to ensure a safe, secure, and humane facility. Staff are not only an
important resource that affects the facility, but workplace factors also affect
the staff (Boateng & Hsieh, 2019a). While previous research has explored
the effects of workplace variables on various outcomes, such as job satisfac-
tion and organizational commitment, there are workplace variables, such as
organizational justice, related to other outcome areas, such as life satisfaction,
including in non-Western nations. The aim of this study was to explore how
the workplace variable of organizational justice is associated with the life sat-
isfaction of Chinese prison staff.
Life satisfaction refers to how happy or satised a person is with their
overall life and is a positive outcome (Erdogan et al., 2012). Donovan and
Halpern (2002) noted that when people are happier, they tend to be more
open-minded and creative in their thinking. In contrast, people who are
unhappy, stressed, or dissatised tend to exhibit tunnel visionand rigid
thinking(p. 32). The vast majority of adults, including prison staff, spend
a considerable amount of their waking time at work (i.e., work is a primary
life domain), and as such, workplace variables can affect life satisfaction
(Erdogan et al., 2012). One variable that could theoretically inuence life sat-
isfaction is organizational justice (Lambert & Hogan, 2011). Organizational
justice (also called organizational fairness) refers to perceptions of how the
organization treats staff in terms of fairness (Boateng & Hsieh, 2019a;
Cropanzano et al., 2007). Organizational justice is a multidimensional work-
place concept with distributive, procedural, informational, and interpersonal
as salient dimensions (Colquitt, 2001; Colquitt et al., 2001). Only two correc-
tional studies have examined the link between organizational justice and life
satisfaction to date. Both included only distributive and procedural justice and
involved U.S. prison staff. The current exploratory study examined the asso-
ciation between all four types of organizational justice on the life satisfaction
of Chinese prison staff.
The current study contributes to the literature in several ways. First and
importantly, it provides a replication of the two previous studies. As noted
by Lindsay and Ehrenberg (1993),replication is little discussed in the stat-
istical literature nor practiced widely by statistically minded researchers. It
is needed not merely to validate onesndings, but more importantly, to
establish the increasing range of radically different conditions under
which the ndings hold, and the predictable exceptions(p. 217).
Second, it tests the effects of the four dimensions on correctional staff
566 The Prison Journal 102(5)

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