Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 154, Issue 1, pp 263–281 | Cite as

Idiosyncratic Deals from a Distributive Justice Perspective: Examining Co-workers’ Voice Behavior

  • Elise MarescauxEmail author
  • Sophie De Winne
  • Luc Sels
Original Paper


This study focuses on a third-party perspective of idiosyncratic deals (i-deals). More specifically, we look into the differential judgments co-workers make about i-deals in their work environment, as well as their reactions. Based on equity theory, we examine to what extent the content of the i-deal and the work context (i.e., the functional dependence between co-worker and i-dealer) explain co-worker judgments regarding i-deal fairness in addition to subsequent voice behavior (i.e., complaining and/or requesting compensation). A vignette study with 1988 respondents shows that when i-deals are considered distributively unfair, co-workers try to restore equity through voice behavior, thereby making the i-deal less effective. Furthermore, i-deals spark more distributive injustice perceptions and voice behavior in a highly interdependent work context. Finally, on average, financial bonuses were considered most distributively unfair and, thus, trigger more voice behavior. These results have important implications for i-deal literature as they uncover the criteria that co-workers use to judge i-deals and shape their reactions.


Distributive justice Equity Idiosyncratic deals I-deals Voice Co-worker reactions 



Funded by Research Fund KU Leuven (OT/14/017)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.IÉSEG School of Management (LEM-CNRS 9221)LilleFrance
  2. 2.Faculty of Economics and BusinessKU LeuvenAntwerpBelgium
  3. 3.Faculty of Economics and BusinessKU LeuvenLouvainBelgium

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