Relational and Associational Justice in Work

Hugh Collins


This Article explores the idea that the moral standards of relational or interpersonal justice can be used to lay the foundations for a theory of justice in work, rather than relying on principles of justice developed for society as a whole in philosophical theories of distributive justice. It is argued that a rich and distinctive scheme of interpersonal justice can be developed by using a method of internal critique and by focusing on two distinctive features of contracts of employment. Because they are incomplete by design, like other relational contracts, contracts of employment depend for their success on a broad obligation of performance in good faith. Contracts of employment also usually function within organizations which provide the source of customary norms of associational justice that govern relations between members of the firm. These principles of associational justice include rewards based on desert, a strong egalitarian principle, protection from unjustified exclusion, and a right to have a voice in the affairs and the direction of the organization.

Full Text: