When leaders do wrong: The effects of severe transgressions on group judgements

Palmer, Maigan (2014). When leaders do wrong: The effects of severe transgressions on group judgements Honours Thesis, School of Psychology, The University of Queensland.

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Author Palmer, Maigan
Thesis Title When leaders do wrong: The effects of severe transgressions on group judgements
School, Centre or Institute School of Psychology
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2014-10-07
Thesis type Honours Thesis
Supervisor Matthew Hornsey
Total pages 68
Language eng
Subjects 1701 Psychology
Abstract/Summary Previous research has found that ingroup members are shown more positive judgements than other group members, a phenomenon labelled ‘transgression credit’. The current study built on this research in two ways. First, the effect was replicated in a context involving a severe organisational transgression, as opposed to the relatively trivial transgressions used in the original studies on transgression credit. Second, an apology was incorporated to develop an understanding of how transgression credit might entitle leaders to forgiveness as well as the more favourable judgements. A community sample of Americans (N = 421) were asked to imagine themselves working for an investment firm. They read about a transgression that occurred either within their company or a rival company and was either committed by a manager or an ordinary employee. In all conditions, the transgressor apologised for their behaviour. Across ratings of attribution, likeability, supportiveness, intentions to leave, organisation citizenship behaviour, and punitive judgements, participants were more favourable to the transgressor when they were a leader as opposed to an ordinary employee, but this credit was only observable for ingroup leaders and did not extend to outgroup leaders. Ratings were more positive after an apology than before the apology, although this was the case for all offenders, not just ingroup leaders. This research has practical implications for how offenders repair trust after a transgression and how leaders can retain their status and loyalty through the use of an apology.
Keyword Leadership
Ingroup, outgroup

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Created: Wed, 27 May 2015, 11:13:29 EST by Louise Grainger on behalf of School of Psychology