On the Role of Perceived Procedural Justice in Citizens' Reactions to Government Decisions and the Handling of Conflicts



This paper examines several hundred cases in which citizens were contacted in an 'informal' way by public officials as part of the Dutch Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations' Fair Tracks project. In Fair Tracks, public officials engage in direct and interpersonal conversations with citizens when the officials are about to make a negative decision or upon receiving citizens' complaints or objections against government decisions. Public officials typically do so by phone and the purpose of the open communication that follows is to discuss together what the problem is and how the citizen's problem can best be handled. The current paper presents empirical evidence suggesting that why Fair Tracks works is because it activates perceived procedural justice. For example, when citizens felt they had been treated respectfully and politely by public officials and when they could voice their opinions to the public officials this led to a reliable perception of procedural justice. Furthermore, higher levels of perceived procedural justice were associated with more satisfaction about the outcome reached during the conversation with the public officials, more trust in mutual compliance with the outcome, more trust in government, and higher levels of conflict resolution. Implications and limitations are discussed.


procedural justicecitizen-government interactionsinformal approachtrust in governmentoutcome satisfactionconflict resolution
  • Page/Article: 1-26
  • DOI: 10.18352/ulr.287
  • Published on 20 Nov 2014
  • Peer Reviewed