Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Irving M. Lane


The Equity Sensitivity Instrument (Huseman, Hatfield, and Miles, 1985) has been the primary measure used in equity sensitivity research to date. It appears to suffer from content deficiency and an inappropriate scoring procedure. Because of these problems, this dissertation constructed a new measure, based on systematic item development procedures, that provided thorough coverage of the equity sensitivity construct. Development of the new measure was based on Huseman, Hatfield, & Miles' (1987) theory of equity sensitivity. Items for the new measure were developed using the traditional approach of developing items that directly inquire about a person's equity sensitivity and a second approach of developing items that indirectly inquire about a person's equity sensitivity. These items were content analyzed to ensure that the item pool assessed the entire equity sensitivity construct. These items were then pretested in two pilot studies. Sixty-four items, representing the four dimensions of indirect entitlement, direct entitlement-benevolence, indirect equity sensitivity and indirect benevolence, survived the two pilot studies. However, only two dimensions, indirect entitlement and direct entitlement-benevolence, were used in constructing the final measure of equity sensitivity because of conceptual and reliability problems associated with the other two dimensions. The new measure's construct validity was assessed in two separate studies: a discriminant validity assessment and a nomological validity assessment. Finally, the predictive utility of the new measure was assessed in a laboratory study. Results indicated that the new thirty-two item measure displayed reliabilities that ranged from.89 to.90. Construct validity appeared to be adequate. The correlation between the new measure and the ESI ranged from.31 to.47 suggesting convergent validity. In terms of discriminant validity, the new measure, unexpectedly, had small but significant correlations with locus of control and old-fashionedness. With respect to nomological validity, the new measure of equity sensitivity had a significant correlation with Machiavellianism (r =.44). Results of the laboratory study indicated that the new measure had incremental validity, beyond that provided by the ESI, for predicting pay satisfaction and overall satisfaction with different reward conditions.