IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

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


  • Leunissen, Joost M.
  • Cremer, David De
  • Reinders Folmer, Christopher P.


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.

Suggested Citation

  • Leunissen, Joost M. & Cremer, David De & Reinders Folmer, Christopher P., 2012. "An instrumental perspective on apologizing in bargaining: The importance of forgiveness to apologize," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 215-222.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:joepsy:v:33:y:2012:i:1:p:215-222 DOI: 10.1016/j.joep.2011.10.004

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Stephen Knack & Philip Keefer, 1997. "Does Social Capital Have an Economic Payoff? A Cross-Country Investigation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1251-1288.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    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. Berg Joyce & Dickhaut John & McCabe Kevin, 1995. "Trust, Reciprocity, and Social History," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 122-142, July.
    7. De Cremer, David & van Dijk, Eric & Pillutla, Madan M., 2010. "Explaining Unfair Offers in Ultimatum Games and their Effects on Trust: An Experimental Approach," Business Ethics Quarterly, Cambridge University Press, vol. 20(01), pages 107-126, January.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Desmet, Pieter T.M. & Leunissen, Joost M., 2014. "How many pennies for your pain? Willingness to compensate as a function of expected future interaction and intentionality feedback," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 105-113.

    More about this item


    Apologies; Perpetrators; Bargaining; Instrumental perspective; Trust game; Forgiveness;

    JEL classification:

    • D23 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Organizational Behavior; Transaction Costs; Property Rights


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:joepsy:v:33:y:2012:i:1:p:215-222. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.