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Counting the Costs: Equity and the Allocation of Negative Group Products

Barbara Foley Meeker and Gregory C. Elliott
Social Psychology Quarterly
Vol. 50, No. 1 (Mar., 1987), pp. 7-15
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2786885
Page Count: 9
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Counting the Costs: Equity and the Allocation of Negative Group Products
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Abstract

Vignettes describing a hypothetical four-person group were presented to subjects, who were asked to allocate $1000.00 to the members. The vignettes incorporated four independent variables: whether the group had succeeded or failed; whether the allocation was of pay or of charges; whether a particular group member had contributed more or less than others; and whether that same member had wasted more or less. Subjects allocated more reward to high positive and low negative contributors, and more often allocated equally when the group had succeeded than failed, and when the individual's contributions were inconsistent than consistent. Equity was followed when rewards were allocated but not costs. A two-step decision process is suggested, in which information about individuals and about the group enter at different points, and in which costs affect the process differently from rewards.

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