Forgiveness is not always divine: When expressing forgiveness makes others avoid you

Adams, G, Zou, X, Inesi, M and Pillutla, M M (2015) Forgiveness is not always divine: When expressing forgiveness makes others avoid you. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 126. pp. 130-141. ISSN 0749-5978

Abstract

Organizational scholars have recently become interested in forgiveness as a way to resolve workplace conflicts and repair relationships. We question the assumption that forgiveness always has these relational benefits. In three studies we investigated participants’ responses to people who expressed forgiveness of them versus those who did not. We found that when the ostensible transgressor did not believe he or she had committed a wrongdoing, expressing forgiveness damaged the relationship relative to a control condition. This effect occurred when participants were made to believe that a real person had forgiven them (Studies 1 and 2) and when they imagined a co-worker had forgiven them (Study 3). Furthermore, in the absence of wrongdoing, participants’ perceptions of the forgiver as self-righteous mediated the effect of forgiveness on avoidance of forgivers (Studies 2 and 3). We discuss implications for conflict management.

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Item Type: Article
Subject Areas: Organisational Behaviour
Date Deposited: 02 Mar 2016 18:51
Last Modified: 17 Feb 2021 10:08
URI: https://lbsresearch.london.edu/id/eprint/50
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