An effective apology involves a delicate balance between tact, tone and timing. In high-stakes settings, when jobs and reputations are on the line, it can be even harder. The significance of an apology can vary in different settings and professions.
So I’ve looked at comparing people who receive different forms of what we might call apologies, some of them more complete – the way Dr. Winch was describing – and some of them with only some of the elements, as compared to no apology at all. And what I find is that potential plaintiffs, people who are injured, who get apologies from the people who have injured them, are more positive about the encounter, they’re less likely to blame the person who injured them as much.
And importantly in the legal setting, they’re more amenable to coming up with a financial settlement with the other person than they are when they don’t receive an apology.
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