In an in-depth research paper on Equity Theory, begin by discussing how employees respond to situations when they think they are not being treated equally to other employees. A good place to start a research paper when considering employee motivation is by looking at the Equity Theory. The Equity Theory deals with how employees respond to situations when they think they are not being treated equally to other employees. As an employee evaluates what he/she gets out of a particular task compared to what a fellow employee may get out of the same task, the employee will decide if that the reward is equitable or not. If the employee feels that they are not being treated on an equal basis with other employees then there will be a decline in the employee's performance. The employee will also become more likely to be absent from work and may even resign. This is a key motivational theory that employers need to keep in mind. Even though it is asked that employees not disclose how much money they make to one another, it is still done. Therefore, if the company hires a new employee for a higher salary or better benefits than someone who has worked there for a year at the same job, then there will most likely be a decline in the existing employee's motivation.
Equity theory predicts that employees who perceive that they are treated unequally in comparison to others will seek to restore distributional justice. One method employees have found to be effective in restoring justice is revenge – although it may not alter the physical situation the employee is exposed to, for example, a verbally aggressive superior, the emotional satisfaction received acts to reduce the tension that has built within the employee’s mind and to restore emotional equity.