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The importance of organisational justice in internal marketing: An argument – Dr. Shyam Prasad

Oct 18th, 2021.


This write-up discusses two factors, internal marketing (IM) and organisational justice (OJ), which are perceived to be important for the success of any organisation. This is a part of larger work exploring the relationship between OJ and employees performance mediated by their demographics.

Internal Marketing

Internal marketing is, according to Kotler (2009) includes all those activities of successfully hiring, training and motivating employees so that they can serve customers in the best possible manner. It is not a one-time activity; it is a continuous process wherein a firm aligns, motivates and empowers its people at all levels to provide a satisfying customer experience (Behunin, 2011). IM is a practice and part of the culture of an organisation wherein the employees are made to feel important and wanted by the organisation. This is done mainly by taking care of their needs.  The importance of IM lies in the fact that there is enough evidence to show that there is a significant positive relationship between internal marketing practices and service quality output by the employees (Tsai & Tang, 2008). Given the importance of IM, scholars have studied it from various perspectives. Gounaris, (2008), exploring the antecedents of IM, found that a company’s culture has an important role to play in the implementation of IM which in turn impacts the employee’s job satisfaction. Also, the employees level of commitment to the organisation (organizational commitment) is significantly influenced by the organisation’s  IM (Bennett & Barkensjo, 2005).


An important purpose and principle of IM is to motivate the employees to give their best to the organisation. However, human beings are motivated, according to Psychology by several factors. Therefore motivation is akin to a black box, where we know not what is going on inside a human mind. This is precisely the reason for the existence of many theories of motivation and yet lacking in any broad conclusions. Broadly speaking, most of the theories of motivation points to the fact that needs drive human behaviour.

A workplace behavioural psychologist, Adam developed the Equity Theory of Motivation. According to this theory, in the workplace, employees are motivated by fairness. If an individual perceives being treated fairly, he is said to be motivated. Otherwise, he is demotivated. In other words, fairness in the eyes of the employees is a fair balance between their contribution to the organisation and the reward/s they receive as compared to others.

Equity is the ratio of one’s contributions to one’s rewards. An important offshoot of Adam’s Equity Theory is that workers don’t understand equity in isolation, instead, they compare it with other workers. If they perceive that their rewards are less than others with similar contributions, they will be demotivated. The demotivated employees will seek to gain equity at least emotionally (Tanner, 2020). To cut a long story short, this theory of motivation tells that high levels of employee motivation in the workplace can only be achieved by fair treatment relative to others (Expert Program Management, 2017). There is a growing volume of empirical evidence from varied sources such as surveys, observational data, laboratory and field experiments that shows the employees feeling of fairness and trust are also have a positive effect on them. In fact, kind and fair treatment is a key driver of employees contributions and also motivates them (Falk, 2014).

Organisational Justice

The phrase “organizational justice”(OJ) was first used by French (1964) to explain people’s perceptions of fairness in organizations. Since then the term is associated with many aspects such as individual job satisfaction, work performance and organisational outcomes (Greenberg, 2011) and a few more. Studies have also shown that OJ has several predictors such as trust in the immediate manager (Aryee, Budhwar, & Chen, 2002), equality within the workplace (Colquitt & Shaw, 2005) and more. Thus, the concept of OJ is closely related to being treated fairly in the organisational and refers to employees’ perception of the organisation’s actions. If the employee interprets any action, decision or behaviour by the manager or management as unfair, it leads to deviant behaviour on the part of the employee. Thus, the work performance of an employee is affected by organisational justice (Wang, Lu, & Siu, 2015). Also, both employee’s and organisational outcomes are shown to be positively related to organisational justice (Colquitt, et al., 2013) and organisational commitment (López-Cabarcos, Machado-Lopes-Sampaio-de Pinho, & Vázquez-Rodríguez, 2015).

Further, the concept of justice comprises of four dimensions such as Procedural justice, Distributive justice, Interpersonal justice and Informational justice by Nicklin, McNall, Cerasoli, Strahan, & Cavanaugh, (2014) and many others. Amongst them, distributive justice, procedural justice, and interactional justice are more widely accepted as the dimensions of OJ (Karriker & Williams, 2009). Moreover, all the dimensions of justice do not have an equal impact (Deepa, 2020). It suffices to say that OJ encompasses fairness and equity which in turn motivates the employees to contribute their best.

My Argument

IM is a broad concept that includes an organisational culture of hiring, training and motivating the employees by selling the idea that they should give their best to the organisation. After recruiting the right people and training them to do their jobs one may expect the best from them. However, evidence shows that this may not be a complete truth. Motivation plays an important role in determining their performance and employees motivation is influence by OJ.  It can be argued that lack of OJ leads to demotivation and thereby vitiates the IM. This in turn will deprive the organisation of the fruits of IM.

(I thank Prof Rony Kurien and Prof Ramesh for their constructive critical comments which helped in improving the writeup.)

Works Cited
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