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J Appl Psychol. 2004 Feb;89(1):104-18.

Removing the shadow of suspicion: the effects of apology versus denial for repairing competence- versus integrity-based trust violations.

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Department of Management and Organization, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90089-1421, USA.


Two studies were conducted to examine the implications of an apology versus a denial for repairing trust after an alleged violation. Results reveal that trust was repaired more successfully when mistrusted parties (a) apologized for violations concerning matters of competence but denied culpability for violations concerning matters of integrity, and (b) had apologized for violations when there was subsequent evidence of guilt but had denied culpability for violations when there was subsequent evidence of innocence. Supplementary analyses also revealed that the interactive effects of violation type and violation response on participants' trusting intentions were mediated by their trusting beliefs. Combined, these findings provide needed insight and supporting evidence concerning how trust might be repaired in the aftermath of a violation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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