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Participatory meetings in the workplace can shift individual attitudes on social justice and authority, study finds

Research published in Nature Communications suggests that individual beliefs about authority and justice can be influenced through workplace meetings in which workers are encouraged to participate.

Attitudes about authority and social justice are often thought to be lasting, stable traits that stem from early life experiences and are typically passed down generations.

A second school of thought, on the other hand, posits that these types of beliefs can be swayed through social interventions, for example, in the workplace. In two experimental studies, researchers Sherry Jueyu Wu and Elizabeth Levy Paluck set out to examine whether participatory workplace meetings can influence employee beliefs about authority and social justice.

An initial study was conducted among 1,752 workers at a textile factory in China. The sample was 94% female and participants were an average of 32 years old. Half the participants were randomly assigned to attend a weekly participatory meeting for six weeks, while the other half attended their usual morning meetings.

The participatory meetings were 20-minute long group discussions where workers were encouraged to share their work experiences and offer personal strategies.

Four weeks after the intervention, all factory workers completed a survey measuring their participation in society and attitudes toward […]

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