This study incorporates fairness evaluations into social comparison processes and proposes a new construct, namely Fairness of Relative Perceived Organizational Support (FRPOS). FRPOS captures an employee's belief that it is fair to receive higher organizational support than his/her coworkers. The effects of FRPOS on intent to quit through Perceived Organizational Support (POS) are examined. Moreover, this study investigates whether Relative Perceived Organizational Support (RPOS) moderates the relationship between FRPOS and subsequent employee reactions. Based on a field study in which 289 employees took part, the findings indicate that FRPOS exerts a statistically significant positive effect on intent to quit, while POS can only partially explain such an effect. RPOS was found to moderate (weaken) the negative relationship between FRPOS and POS, thus affecting the ability of POS to mediate the FRPOS-intent to quit relationship (moderated mediation). These findings suggest that employees seek to understand whether they deserve relatively better treatment than their coworkers and react positively only when they actually receive it. Generally, this study has significant practical implications, proposing that organizations and HR managers should pay attention not only to "objective" fairness, but also to "subjective" aspects of fairness, as perceived by employees.
Keywords: social comparison, fairness, perceived organizational support, intent to quit