The Nature of the Justice Motive: Some Thoughts on Operation, Internalization, and Justification
Harry T. Reis • University of Rochester
The present volume contains contributions ranging from social processes and behavior that contribute to motives and judgments concerning social justice, to justice motives and judgments per se. In this chapter, Harry Reis concentrates specifically on the latter, in particular the justice motive: that people want to participate in fair exchanges.
Reis discusses an evolving theory of justice motivation that is grounded largely on considerations of the self, particularly self-control (self-regulation) and self-perception (self-monitoring). He proposes that the justice motive and just behavior operate as a mechanism of control over outcomes (cf. Levine and Moreland's focus on social comparison processes concerning outcomes) for the individual as well as for the group (society); and that this function is largely achieved through processes of self-regulation of behavior. Further, Reis draws from the domains of both developmental and social psychology, a boundary area that is especially fruitful because each of these sub-areas of psychology have given attention to many of the same concepts. The author argues forcefully for a greater collaborative effort in the future, with special regard to the nature, determinants, and development of justice motives and just behavior.
In addition to our interest in theoretical and empirical matters, this volume is concerned with a policy perspective on justice. A policy perspective requires that we consider the manner in which people rely on