Toward a Multilevel Approach to Perceptions of Justice: The Case of Restaurant Workers in France, Quebec and the United States.

Thursday, 19 July 2018: 09:45
Oral Presentation
Stéphane MOULIN, Université de Montréal, Canada
Samantha VILA, Université de Montréal, Canada
Perceptions of social justice can be analyzed at three different levels. At the macro-level (state level), theories of empirical justice analyze the extent to which the major political and social institutions are perceived as being fair (Hochschild, 1981; Forsé and Parodi, 2010; Forsé et Galland, 2011). At the meso-level (organizational level), organizational justice relates to perceptions in the treatment of individuals within a given organization (Greenberg, 1995; Colquitt and Greenberg, 2014), and puts forward a four-dimensional framework for justice: distributive, procedural, interpersonal, and informational (Colquitt, 2001). At the micro-level (individual level), the approach of the economies of worth (Boltanski & Thévenot, 2006) identifies the principles used by individuals in articulating their advantages/injustices and François Dubet (2009) shows that workers refer to three main principles of justice -equality, merit, and autonomy- when they perceive themselves to be victim or witness of an injustice at the workplace.

Analyzing justice in the workplace thus presents a twofold challenge. First, there is a need to grasp a multilevel approach of justice that takes into account the redundancies and complementarities of these three levels of study. Second, comparison must succeed in assessing a wide scope of norms, principles and procedures which vary depending on national, sectoral or local contexts (Elster, 1993). This presentation will discuss this twofold challenge by focusing on the case of restaurant workers (whose work is characterized by flexible work hours, customer relationships, poor supervisory communication and structural division of work between tipped dining-room employees and kitchen hierarchical staff) in three different contexts of labor standards, welfare protection and tipping etiquettes: France, Quebec and the United States.