Distributive justice beliefs and group idea generation: Does a belief in equity facilitate productivity?

Jack A. Goncalo, Sharon H. Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The equity rule is favored by groups that emphasize productivity, but there is limited support for the notion that equity actually facilitates productivity in groups (Deutsch, 1985). We propose that the relationship between equity and productivity may depend on whether individual group members have an independent or interdependent self-construal. This prediction was tested in an experiment in which groups endorsed either an equity rule or an equality rule for distributing resources and then generated ideas as a group. The results showed that equity facilitated productivity (e.g. the number of ideas generated) but only in groups whose members had been primed with an independent self-construal. The results of both self-report and video-tape data support competition as the mechanism that explains this productivity gain. This work contributes to research on both distributive justice and small group performance by specifying more clearly the conditions under which a belief in equity will stimulate productivity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)836-840
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Distributive justice
  • Equity-equality
  • Group idea generation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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