To Excuse or Not to Excuse: Effect of Explanation Type and Provision on Reactions to a Workplace Behavioral Transgression

Joseph E. Mroz, Joseph A. Allen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

People often offer an excuse or an apology after they do something wrong. In this paper, we examine how giving an excuse, an apology, or no explanation after arriving late to a meeting influences the attitudes and behavioral intentions others form toward the late arrival. Additionally, we examined how a group-related factor (complaining) and the late arrival’s history with coming late affected participant judgments. Across two studies using complementary experimental and survey methods, we found that an excuse is better than no explanation, but that the difference between apology and no explanation and apology and excuse is not always clear. Furthermore, we found that common distinctions between explanation types used in the literature may not fully exist in non-laboratory social interactions. Implications of these findings and future directions are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)187-201
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Business and Psychology
Volume35
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2020

Keywords

  • Attributions
  • Excuses
  • Explanations
  • Interpersonal relationships
  • Meetings

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Business, Management and Accounting(all)
  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychology(all)

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