Perceptions of Justice : Non-Financial Performance Indicators and Trust
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- NTNU Handelshøyskolen 
This thesis reviews the behavioural effects of one of management accountings most extensively applied control tools: The performance appraisal. Employees are subject to performance appraisal on a regular basis, influencing perceptions of the employer, ourselves and our work life. It is on this perception we act, making appraisal a powerful tool. The adaption of social exchange theory and a multifoci perspective provides a relevant framework for the thesis, identifying several key variables of human behaviour. The research model presents four variables linked to performance appraisal. It is hypothesized that nonfinancial performance measures in performance evaluation are positively associated with trust in the superior or with trust in the organization. Furthermore, it is hypothesized that this effect is mediated by perceptions of procedural and interactional justice; whether procedures and processes at work are fair and whether the interpersonal and informational treatment of the employee is fair, respectively. To examine the research questions, structural equation modelling and the statistical modelling tool LISREL is applied on a data sample gathered at a middle sized European real estate company. The survey and research design facilitates statistical analyses by examining individuals’ perceptions of the importance of financial and non-financial performance indicators, trust and justice. The results indicate that performance appraisal based on non-financial performance indicators have a meaningful effect on employees’ trust in the organization and in the superior. Additionally, the indirect effect of non-financial performance indicators on justice is substantially larger than the effect of financial indicators, indicating that non-financial performance measures are perceived as more just. Finally, the results indicate that an alternative approach, where focus is shifted towards corporate strategy instead of financial and non-financial indicators, may be more appropriate in explaining the effects of performance appraisal on behaviour.