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Objectives: This experiment addressed whether, when administering a survey to police managers, it is best to measure organizational justice using attitudinal questions tapping into perceived importance or behavioral self-reports. Methods: We administered a survey to a national probability sample of police executives using a split-ballot experimental design, where respondents randomly received items measuring either (a) the perceived importance of organizational justice or (b) the self-reported usage of organizational justice. Results: Perceived importance of organizational justice was not significantly associated with the perceived quality of relationships with subordinates. However, actual usage of organizational justice was, increasing the perceived quality of relationships (b = .554, p < .001). Conclusions: Our results suggest that: 1) the measurement of organizational justice matters, and 2) mangers who believe organizational justice is important still sometimes fail to use it. Future research should measure the concept using behavioral reports and should seek to explain this importance-usage gap.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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