When saying sorry may not help: transgressor power moderates the effect of an apology on forgiveness in the workplace

Zheng, X, van Dijke, M, Leunissen, J M, Giurge, L and De Cremer, D (2016) When saying sorry may not help: transgressor power moderates the effect of an apology on forgiveness in the workplace. Human Relations, 69 (6). pp. 1387-1418. ISSN 0018-7267

Abstract

An apology, as an expression of remorse, can be an effective response from a transgressor to obtain forgiveness from a victim. Yet, to be effective, the victim should not construe the transgressor’s actions in a cynical way. Because low-power people tend to interpret the actions of high-power people in a cynical way, we argue that an apology (versus no apology) from high-power transgressors should be relatively ineffective in increasing forgiveness from low-power victims. We find support for this moderated mediation model in a critical incidents study (Study 1), a forced recall study (Study 2) among employees from various organizations and a controlled laboratory experiment among business students (Study 3). These studies reveal the limited value of expressions of remorse by high-power people in promoting forgiveness.

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Item Type: Article
Subject Areas: Organisational Behaviour
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© 2016 The Tavistock Institute

Subjects: O > Organisational behaviour
Date Deposited: 20 Dec 2019 14:59
Last Modified: 02 Jan 2020 16:55
URI: http://lbsresearch.london.edu/id/eprint/1315
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