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The Synergistic Effects of Organizational Justice and Trust to Supervisor on Vagal Tone: Preliminary Findings of an Empirical Investigation

by Raphael M. Herr 1,2,*, Jian Li 2,3 and Peter Angerer 2
1
Mannheim Institute of Public Health, Social and Preventive Medicine, Medical Faculty Mannheim, Heidelberg University, 68167 Mannheim, Germany
2
Institute of Occupational, Social and Environmental Medicine, Centre for Health and Society, Faculty of Medicine, Heinrich-Heine-University of Düsseldorf, 40225 Düsseldorf, Germany
3
Department of Environmental Health Sciences, Fielding School of Public Health; School of Nursing, University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(5), 790; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16050790
Received: 22 January 2019 / Revised: 21 February 2019 / Accepted: 28 February 2019 / Published: 4 March 2019
The influence of perceived unfairness at the workplace (organizational injustice) on employee health is well established. Several theories explain the unpleasant and stressful nature of the experience of injustice, using trust as a central element. This study examines the effect of trust to supervisor on the association of perceived injustice with vagal tone—an objective marker for stress experience. Questionnaires assessed organizational justice and trust. Vagal tone was measured by indictors of heart rate variability (HRV), which captured parasympathetic (pNN50, RMSSD, and HF) and parasympathetic and sympathetic (SDNN, and LF) regulation. Synergistic effects were tested by linear regressions with interaction terms between organizational justice and trust to supervisor in 38 managers. Organizational justice was related to HRV indicators that reflect in particular the parasympathetic branch (βpNN50 = 0.32, p < 0.05; βRMSSD = 0.27, p < 0.1), and interaction effects with trust to supervisor were also most pronounced there (interaction βpNN50 = −0.41, p < 0.01; βRMSSD = −0.47, p < 0.01). In conclusion, the combination of low perceived justice and trust to supervisor appears substantial to the physiological stress threat of employees. Promoting fairness at the workplace might reduce stress; if not possible, trust to supervisor should be enhanced. View Full-Text
Keywords: organizational justice; vagal tone; heart rate variability; trust to supervisor; synergistic effects organizational justice; vagal tone; heart rate variability; trust to supervisor; synergistic effects
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Herr, R.M.; Li, J.; Angerer, P. The Synergistic Effects of Organizational Justice and Trust to Supervisor on Vagal Tone: Preliminary Findings of an Empirical Investigation. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16, 790.

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