Committee Chair

O'Leary, Brian J.

Committee Member

Zelin, Alexandra I.; Cunningham, Christopher J.


Dept. of Psychology


College of Arts and Sciences


University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Place of Publication

Chattanooga (Tenn.)


According to equity theory (Adams, 1963, 1965), employees determine whether they are being treated fairly by comparing what they give to and receive from their organization to that of other employees. However, individual perceptions of equity differ in the workplace, a phenomenon Huseman, Hatfield and Miles, (1987) labeled equity sensitivity, which ranges from benevolents, those who accept low levels of equity, to entitleds, who desire more favorable outcomes for themselves. Davison and Bing (2008) split the Huseman et al. continuum into its two components, benevolence and entitlement, and those are the focus of the present study. These dimensions were tested against each other to examine whether a sense of entitlement negatively affected an employee’s commitment to their organization and job satisfaction. The Equity Sensitivity Instrument (ESI), Organizational Commitment Questionnaire, and a three-item job satisfaction scale were used to test the relationships between variables. Using a sample of mid-level managers from two companies in the southern United States (n = 53), this pilot study examined the items found in the modified ESI, discussed the underlying equity theory and equity sensitivity theory, and used findings to suggest a means by which future studies can help to develop a better measure of equity sensitivity.


I would like to thank Dr. Brian O’Leary, my thesis advisor and committee member, for his patience and support throughout this research process. I would also like to thank my committee members, Dr. Chris Cunningham and Dr. Alexandra Zelin. I would like to thank the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga for giving me, as well as my family and friends, the opportunity to learn and conduct academic research.


M. S.; A thesis submitted to the faculty of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Master of Science.




Work -- Psychological aspects; Employee motivation; Job satisfaction


Equity; Sensitivity; Organizational; Commitment; Job; Satisfaction

Document Type

Masters theses


x, 46 leaves




Under copyright.