This abstract, summarized by IPR and provided by the IPR Behavioral Insights Research Center, is based on a research paper written by Sherry Jueyu Wu, Ph.D., at the University of California Los Angeles and Elizabeth Levy Paluck, Ph.D., at Princeton University. 

Dr. Sherry Jueyu Wu and Dr. Elizabeth Levy Paluck conducted an experiment to examine how adjustments to people’s participation in the workplace affect attitudes toward authority and justice.

In two field experiments with Chinese factory workers and American university staff, researchers randomly assigned work groups to 20-minute participatory meetings once per week for six weeks. In these meetings, supervisors stepped aside and workers discussed problems, ideas, and goals regarding their work.

Some of the key findings include:

1) Across 97 work groups and 1,924 workers, participatory meetings led workers to be less authoritarian and more critical about societal authority and justice. Workers were more willing to participate in political, social and familial decision-making.

2) On average, workers tended to “slightly agree” with statements asserting belief in a just world. Workers in the participatory condition reported significantly lower belief in a just world. Workers in the observer condition on average “slightly agree” with a just world belief.

3) Workers within the participatory condition experienced higher levels of interest in several different areas such as politics, family, and social life.

Read more to learn how changes in experience affect attitudes toward authority and justice in the workplace.


Wu, S., & Paluck, E. (2020, May 26). Participatory practices at work change attitudes and behavior toward societal authority and justice. Retrieved September 09, 2020, from

Heidy Modarelli handles Growth & Marketing for IPR. She has previously written for Entrepreneur, TechCrunch, The Next Web, and VentureBeat.
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