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An instrumental perspective on apologizing in bargaining: The importance of forgiveness to apologize

  • Leunissen, Joost M.
  • Cremer, David De
  • Reinders Folmer, Christopher P.
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    Although very little research in bargaining has addressed how perpetrators should deal with the aftermath of unfair allocations, it has been proposed that an apology may help the reconciliation process. Prior research, however, only focused on whether apologies can reveal positive effects on the reconciliation process but did not focus yet on whether perpetrators are actually willing to apologize. In this paper we investigate perpetrator’s willingness to apologize for a trust violation in a bargaining setting. We hypothesized that perpetrators willingness to apologize would be a function of the extent to which the victim of the trust violation is willing to forgive. This effect, however, was expected to emerge only among those perpetrators who are low in dispositional trust. The results from a laboratory study with actual transgressions and actual apologetic behavior supported our predictions and thus emphasize an instrumental view on apologizing in bargaining situations.

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    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Psychology.

    Volume (Year): 33 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 1 ()
    Pages: 215-222

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:joepsy:v:33:y:2012:i:1:p:215-222
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    1. Desmet, Pieter T.M. & Cremer, David De & Dijk, Eric van, 2011. "In money we trust? The use of financial compensations to repair trust in the aftermath of distributive harm," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 114(2), pages 75-86, March.
    2. Berg Joyce & Dickhaut John & McCabe Kevin, 1995. "Trust, Reciprocity, and Social History," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 122-142, July.
    3. De Cremer, David, 2010. "To pay or to apologize? On the psychology of dealing with unfair offers in a dictator game," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 31(6), pages 843-848, December.
    4. Knack, Stephen & Keefer, Philip, 1997. "Does Social Capital Have an Economic Payoff? A Cross-Country Investigation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1251-88, November.
    5. Kim, Peter H. & Dirks, Kurt T. & Cooper, Cecily D. & Ferrin, Donald L., 2006. "When more blame is better than less: The implications of internal vs. external attributions for the repair of trust after a competence- vs. integrity-based trust violation," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 99(1), pages 49-65, January.
    6. Blount, Sally, 1995. "When Social Outcomes Aren't Fair: The Effect of Causal Attributions on Preferences," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 63(2), pages 131-144, August.
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