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

Zheng, Xue, Van Dijke, Marius, Leunissen, Joost M, Giurge, Laura M ORCID: 0000-0002-7974-391X and De Cremer, David (2016) When saying sorry may not help: transgressor power moderates the effect of an apology on forgiveness in the workplace. Human Relations, 69 (6). 1387 - 1418. ISSN 0018-7267

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Identification Number: 10.1177/0018726715611236

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.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: https://journals.sagepub.com/home/hum
Additional Information: © 2016 SAGE
Divisions: Psychological and Behavioural Science
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Date Deposited: 09 Jun 2022 07:48
Last Modified: 27 Jun 2022 14:27
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/115320

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