The effects of managerial regulatory fit priming on reactions to explanations

Andrew Li, Joel Evans, Michael S. Christian, Stephen W. Gilliland, Edgar E. Kausel, Jordan H. Stein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


We investigated the interactive effects of regulatory focus priming and message framing on the perceived fairness of unfavorable events. We hypothesized that individuals' perceptions of fairness are higher when they receive a regulatory focus prime (promotion versus prevention) that is congruent with the framing of an explanation (gain versus loss), as opposed to one that is incongruent. We also hypothesized that these effects are mediated by counterfactual thinking. Three studies revealed that primed regulatory fit (promotion/gain or prevention/loss) led to higher levels of justice perceptions than regulatory misfit (promotion/loss or prevention/gain). Additionally, " could" and " should" counterfactuals partially mediated the relationship between regulatory fit and interactional justice (Study 3).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)268-282
Number of pages15
JournalOrganizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Counterfactual thinking
  • Explanation
  • Organizational justice
  • Regulatory fit

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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