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Studies suggest that apologies are beneficial (e.g., Darby & Schlenker, 1982) and lead to positive outcomes such as forgiveness (e.g., Fehr, Gelfand, & Nag, 2010), positive feelings toward the transgressor (e.g., DeCremer, van Dijk, & Pillutla, 2010), and reduced sentencing in legal cases (e.g., Robbennolt, 2003). These findings have been supported within close relationships, business-consumer relationships, and employer-employee relationships, but have not yet been explored within professor-student relationships. The aftermath of a mistake is a critical moment and carries particular weight in students’ overall perceptions of their professors (e.g., Tucker, 2006). The purpose of the current study is to compare students’ perceptions of professors who apologize to those who don’t. Using a vignette methodology, I found that students’ perceptions of the professor differed between a non-apologetic condition and apologetic condition. In addition, results revealed that male, not female, professors were perceived to be better transformational leaders when they gave an apology, while female professors were perceived more negatively in terms of service quality in the apologetic condition.



Thesis Comittee

Krista Hill Cummings (Thesis Director)

Deborah Litvin

Todd Harris

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Original document was submitted as an Honors Program requirement. Copyright is held by the author.

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