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The apology mismatch: Asymmetries between victim's need for apologies and perpetrator's willingness to apologize

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Abstract

Although previous research on apologies has shown that apologies can have many beneficial effects on victims' responses, the dyadic nature of the apology process has largely been ignored. As a consequence, very little is known about the congruence between perpetrators' willingness to apologize and victims' willingness to receive an apology. In three experimental studies we showed that victims mainly want to receive an apology after an intentional transgression, whereas perpetrators want to offer an apology particularly after an unintentional transgression. As expected, these divergent apologetic needs among victims and perpetrators were mediated by unique emotions: guilt among perpetrators and anger among victims. These results suggest that an apology serves very different goals among victims and perpetrators, thus pointing at an apology mismatch.

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Erasmus Univ, Rotterdam Sch Management, Rotterdam, Netherlands

China Europe Int Business Sch, Pudong, Peoples R China

Univ Ghent, B-9000 Ghent, Belgium


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Source

Journal of Experimental Social Psychology

ISSN:0022-1031

Year:2013

Issue:3

Volume:49

Page:315-324

Powered by JCR@2013

ESI Discipline:PSYCHIATRY/PSYCHOLOGY;

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