Volume 66, No. 4 (December 2022)

Insider Threats: Exposing the Cracks: Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Organizational Justice in the Intelligence Community

By Dr. Chloe Wilson

Just as the terrorist attacks of 9/11 forced the Intelligence Community to recognize the critical need for integration, the COVID-19 pandemic is another catastrophic event that should prompt self-reflection within the IC. While the pandemic has produced new diverse challenges for organizations to counter, it has simultaneously exacerbated already existing and overlooked issues within the IC.

One of the existing issues is the division between supervisors who embrace and those who neglect fostering a culture of organizational justice. Organizational justice is defined as “people’s perceptions of fairness in organizations along with their associated behavioral, cognitive, and emotional reactions” (Greenberg, 2011, 271). Although organizational justice is not a new term in organizational psychology or intelligence literature (see Reed, 2019, for a review), the COVID-19 pandemic has brought about new circumstances that have heightened perceptions of injustice for employees.

Through their actions, supervisors have the ability to influence how employees feel valued and supported at work. How supervisors communicate information, enforce policies, endorse assistance, and treat personnel can cause employees to contemplate the equity in decisionmaking and the conduct of the organization. Research has highlighted the impact of organizational justice on workplace outcomes such as employee health, burnout, organizational commitment, and turnover intentions (e.g., Colquitt, et al., 2001). Although perceptions of organizational justice are influenced by everyday decisions and conversations, supervisors’ behaviors have been found to be more consequential during difficult times, such as a global pandemic (Eisenberger, et al., 1986; Daniels, et al., 2022)