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The Psychology of Offering an Apology: Understanding the Barriers to Apologizing and How to Overcome Them

After committing an offense, a transgressor faces an important decision regarding whether and how to apologize to the person who was harmed. The actions he or she chooses to take after committing an offense can have dramatic implications for the victim, the transgressor, and their relationship. Alth... Full description

Journal Title: Current Directions in Psychological Science April 2018, Vol.27(2), pp.74-78
Main Author: Schumann, Karina
Format: Electronic Article Electronic Article
Language: English
Subjects:
ID: ISSN: 0963-7214 ; E-ISSN: 1467-8721 ; DOI: 10.1177/0963721417741709
Link: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0963721417741709
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title: The Psychology of Offering an Apology: Understanding the Barriers to Apologizing and How to Overcome Them
format: Article
creator:
  • Schumann, Karina
subjects:
  • Apologies
  • Defensiveness
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Interpersonal Relationships
  • Psychology
ispartof: Current Directions in Psychological Science, April 2018, Vol.27(2), pp.74-78
description: After committing an offense, a transgressor faces an important decision regarding whether and how to apologize to the person who was harmed. The actions he or she chooses to take after committing an offense can have dramatic implications for the victim, the transgressor, and their relationship. Although high-quality apologies are extremely effective at promoting reconciliation, transgressors often choose to offer a perfunctory apology, withhold an apology, or respond defensively to the victim. Why might this be? In this article, I propose three major barriers to offering high-quality apologies: (a) low concern for the victim or relationship, (b) perceived threat to the transgressor’s self-image, and (c) perceived apology ineffectiveness. I review recent research examining how these barriers affect transgressors’ apology behavior and describe insights this emerging work provides for developing methods to move transgressors toward more reparative behavior. Finally, I discuss important directions for future research.
language: eng
source:
identifier: ISSN: 0963-7214 ; E-ISSN: 1467-8721 ; DOI: 10.1177/0963721417741709
fulltext: fulltext
issn:
  • 0963-7214
  • 09637214
  • 1467-8721
  • 14678721
url: Link


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descriptionAfter committing an offense, a transgressor faces an important decision regarding whether and how to apologize to the person who was harmed. The actions he or she chooses to take after committing an offense can have dramatic implications for the victim, the transgressor, and their relationship. Although high-quality apologies are extremely effective at promoting reconciliation, transgressors often choose to offer a perfunctory apology, withhold an apology, or respond defensively to the victim. Why might this be? In this article, I propose three major barriers to offering high-quality apologies: (a) low concern for the victim or relationship, (b) perceived threat to the transgressor’s self-image, and (c) perceived apology ineffectiveness. I review recent research examining how these barriers affect transgressors’ apology behavior and describe insights this emerging work provides for developing methods to move transgressors toward more reparative behavior. Finally, I discuss important directions for future research.
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After committing an offense, a transgressor faces an important decision regarding whether and how to apologize to the person who was harmed. The actions he or she chooses to take after committing an offense can have dramatic implications for the victim, the transgressor, and their relationship. Although high-quality apologies are extremely effective at promoting reconciliation, transgressors often choose to offer a perfunctory apology, withhold an apology, or respond defensively to the victim. Why might this be? In this article, I propose three major barriers to offering high-quality apologies: (a) low concern for the victim or relationship, (b) perceived threat to the transgressor’s self-image, and (c) perceived apology ineffectiveness. I review recent research examining how these barriers affect transgressors’ apology behavior and describe insights this emerging work provides for developing methods to move transgressors toward more reparative behavior. Finally, I discuss important directions for future research.

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abstract

After committing an offense, a transgressor faces an important decision regarding whether and how to apologize to the person who was harmed. The actions he or she chooses to take after committing an offense can have dramatic implications for the victim, the transgressor, and their relationship. Although high-quality apologies are extremely effective at promoting reconciliation, transgressors often choose to offer a perfunctory apology, withhold an apology, or respond defensively to the victim. Why might this be? In this article, I propose three major barriers to offering high-quality apologies: (a) low concern for the victim or relationship, (b) perceived threat to the transgressor’s self-image, and (c) perceived apology ineffectiveness. I review recent research examining how these barriers affect transgressors’ apology behavior and describe insights this emerging work provides for developing methods to move transgressors toward more reparative behavior. Finally, I discuss important directions for future research.

copLos Angeles, CA
pubSAGE Publications
doi10.1177/0963721417741709
orcidid0000-0002-9907-2383
date2018-04