2012 Student Research Conference:
25th Annual Student Research Conference

Status, Organizational Rank and Willingness to Forgive: An Expanded Study
Clair A. Reynolds* and Garett C. Foster
Dr. Teresa Heckert, Faculty Mentor

The purpose of this study was to investigate among employees the impact of status on willingness to forgive. Prior research has found that hierarchical status within the workplace is associated with forgiveness behaviors (Aquino, Bies, & Tripp, 2006). We hypothesized that employees with higher relative status (i.e. seniority) and higher organizational rank would be less willing to forgive employees of lower relative status and organizational rank. Employees at Preferred Family Healthcares Missouri locations received four hypothetical scenarios, each describing a workplace transgression. Two scenarios focused on transgressions committed by someone with a different relative status than the participant. The last two scenarios focused on transgressions between the supervisor and his/her subordinate. After reading each scenario, employees rated their willingness to forgive the person in each situation. Results showed that supervisors and those of higher relative status were more willing to forgive than subordinates and those of lower relative status.

Keywords: forgiveness, workplace, hierarchical status, relative status


Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 313-1
Location: MG 1000
Time: 1:00

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