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A Vigilante Model of Justice: Revenge, Reconciliation, Forgiveness, and Avoidance

Once a working relationship is damaged through an act of injustice, how do the victim and offender repair their relationship? What causes the victim to let go of the anger and resentment and then reconcile with the offender? We propose a theory that the likelihood of forgiveness and reconciliation is greatly enhanced, and revenge and avoidance greatly decreased, if justice is first served. That is, forgiveness follows justice; without justice, forgiveness is much less likely. Justice may be served one of three ways: (1) by the victim evening the score; (2) by the organization punishing the offender; or (3) by the offender repenting. We recommend that managers establish a procedurally just climate so that victims of offense seek distributive justice through formal channels rather than seeking it themselves through revenge.

Keywords organizational justice - revenge - forgiveness - vigilantism ..more.. by Thomas M. Tripp (Washington State University Vancouver, 14204 NE Salmon Creek Avenue, Vancouver, WA 98686, USA), Robert J. Bies (McDonough School of Business, Georgetown University, Washington, DC, USA), and Karl Aquino (Sauder School of Business, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada, V6T 1Z2)

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