Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Program Name/Specialization

Management and Organizational Behaviour


Lazaridis School of Business and Economics

First Advisor

Laurie J. Barclay

Advisor Role



Research examining “justice as a dependent variable” has largely focused on examining the factors that can promote fairness in the workplace whereas significantly less attention has been devoted to understanding the barriers and obstacles that can exist throughout the fairness process. This is an important gap in the literature because the absence of fairness can also have considerable implications for organizations. In this dissertation, I argue that it is important to adopt a “barriers to fairness” approach that sheds more light on how these obstacles can affect managers’ fair behavior. Specifically, I present a typology of the different barriers to fairness managers may experience in the workplace and three manuscripts that contribute to our understanding of the “barriers to fairness” approach. Manuscripts 1 and 2 empirically examine (a) two different barriers (i.e., low trait empathy and ego depletion, respectively) that can significantly affect managers’ enactment of fairness and (b) how these barriers can be overcome using targeted interventions. Manuscript 3 is a theoretical piece that outlines how and when enacting fairness can affect managers at each phase of the fairness process with a specific focus on how enacting fairness can increase managers’ experience of depletion. I conclude with a discussion of the general theoretical, methodological, and practical implications of this dissertation as well as future research directions associated with a “barriers to fairness” approach.

Convocation Year