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It´s her or him saying “Sorry”?

Apologies contrasting the cliché are more effective





Apologies have a particular high credibility if neither women nor men use gender typical wordings. Or the other way round: Women who are explaining their misbehaviour and suggest accurate steps for reparation (agentic behaviour) or men who express their appreciation directly and ask explicitly for forgiveness (communal behaviour) are more likely to be pardoned. Contrasting the cliché is the path or the formula to success when it comes to apologizing effectively.

Why? Because you don´t emphasize the expected but on the contrary complete your gender typical strengths with an additional unexpected competence.

This is according to recent outcomes of a new US-American study.

Polin/Doyle/Kim/Lewicki/Chawla, “Sorry to ask but…..How is Apology Effectiveness Dependent on Apology Content and Gender?”, in: Journal of Applied Psychology, 2024, vol. 109, Nr. 3, 339-361.



From the practice:

It pays off with applications, too: talking as a woman particularly about decision-making power and the ability to conflict or as a man about relationship skills and team orientation. To bring up arguments contrasting the gender specific cliché is key.

And I do believe it in a second – that the very same communication strategy effects also in case of apologies.

Hence, here some other crucial aspects pop up and don´t want to be overheard: 1. Timing – Say sorry asap. 2. Body language – Keep eye contact under all circumstances. 3. The channel – Apologize better in person than by writing. 4. Wording: Be authentic!

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