De Cremer, D., & Schouten, B.C. (2008). When Apologies for Injustice Matter: The Role of Interpersonal Respect. European Psychologist, 13(4), 239-247.

Abstract: The present research examined the idea that the effectiveness of apologies on promoting fairness perceptions depends on how meaningful and sincere the apology is experienced. More precisely, it was predicted that apologies are more effective when they are communicated by an authority being respectful to others. A study using a cross-sectional organizational survey showed that an apology (relative to giving no apology) revealed higher fairness perceptions, but only so when the authority was respectful rather than disrespectful. In a subsequent experimental laboratory study the same interaction effect (as in Study 1) on fairness perceptions was found. In addition, a similar interaction effect also emerged on participants’ self-evaluations in terms of relational appreciation (i.e., feeling valued and likeable). Finally, these self-evaluations accounted (at least partly) for the interactive effect on fairness perceptions.

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