Publication Date

Spring 2015

Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Elizabeth L. Shoenfelt (Director), Reagan D. Brown, and Steven Haggbloom

Degree Program

Department of Psychological Sciences

Degree Type

Master of Science


As the number of women entering postsecondary education continues to increase (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014), universities will be tasked with ensuring that their pregnancy leave policies and practices are aligned with the principles of organizational justice. When organizations are aware of the perceptions of both decision makers and those affect by decisions, they are able to alter policies and practices in a way that promotes perceptions of fairness. The present study examines department head and faculty member perceptions of pregnancy leave practices in a university setting. This study is a replication/follow-up of two studies conducted in 2005 and 1995 on perceptions of pregnancy leave practices within a university setting. The results indicate that department heads and faculty members similarly perceive the fairness of options to cover a pregnant faculty member’s responsibilities. Department heads and faculty also rated their willingness to use an option similarly. Additionally, department heads are more willing to use options that they perceived as fair and are less likely to use options they perceived as unfair. The findings of this study indicate that it is important for those affected by decisions such as pregnancy leave practices to experience voice in the decision-making process. The results of this study should be useful to universities and department heads when determining how to cover the responsibilities of a faculty member on pregnancy leave.


Applied Behavior Analysis | Industrial and Organizational Psychology | Public Policy