Forgiveness is not always divine: When expressing forgiveness makes others avoid you

Adams, G S and Zou, X and Inesi, M E and Pillutla, M (2015) Forgiveness is not always divine: When expressing forgiveness makes others avoid you. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 126. pp. 130-141. ISSN 0749-5978

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Organizational scholars have recently become interested in forgiveness as a way to resolve workplace conflicts and repair relationships. We question the assumption that forgiveness always has these relational benefits. In three studies we investigated participants’ responses to people who expressed forgiveness of them versus those who did not. We found that when the ostensible transgressor did not believe he or she had committed a wrongdoing, expressing forgiveness damaged the relationship relative to a control condition. This effect occurred when participants were made to believe that a real person had forgiven them (Studies 1 and 2) and when they imagined a co-worker had forgiven them (Study 3). Furthermore, in the absence of wrongdoing, participants’ perceptions of the forgiver as self-righteous mediated the effect of forgiveness on avoidance of forgivers (Studies 2 and 3). We discuss implications for conflict management.

Affiliation: Indian School of Business
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Pillutla, M 0000-0001-5529-5094
Item Type: Article
Additional Information: The research article was published by the author with the affiliation of London Business School
Uncontrolled Keywords: Forgive, Self-righteous, Moral superiority, Transgression, Conflict repair
Subjects: Organization Behavior
Depositing User: Gurusrinivasan K
Date Deposited: 25 Sep 2021 13:05
Last Modified: 25 Sep 2021 13:05
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