“And for My Action, I Apologize”: The Attributes and Effects of Leader Apologies

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Abstract

The purpose of this case is to facilitate the learning, reflection, and discussion of the attributes of an apology from a leader and its effect. More specifically, this case describes the actions taken by a university president that were videotaped and made public, thereby prompting an apology from the leader. Commentary not only from the university president, but from those to whom the leader was responsible, is included in the case. The case also describes statements made by the CEO of one of the nation’s largest banks following account fraud impacting millions of customers. By providing a framework of the commonly held attributes of an apology and a discussion of the effect that an apology can have on followers and the leader themselves, the reader is not only able to understand the nature and consequences of an apology from an organizational leader, but consider those ideas in the context of a specific scenario.

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