Journal of Business Ethics

, 63:195 | Cite as

Apologies and Transformational Leadership

  • Sean Tucker
  • Nick Turner
  • Julian Barling
  • Erin M. Reid
  • Cecilia Elving


This empirical investigation showed that contrary to the popular notion that apologies signify weakness, the victims of mistakes made by leaders consistently perceived leaders who apologized as more transformational than those who did not apologize. In a field experiment (Study 1), male referees who were perceived as having apologized for mistakes made officiating hockey games were rated by male coaches (n = 93) as more transformational than when no apology was made. Studies 2 (n = 50) and 3 (n = 224) replicated this effect in two vignette studies to enhance internal and ecological validity. Contrary to expectations in Study 3, there were no apology×leader gender interactions. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.

Key Words

apologies moral leadership transformational leadership 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sean Tucker
    • 1
  • Nick Turner
    • 1
  • Julian Barling
    • 1
  • Erin M. Reid
    • 1
  • Cecilia Elving
    • 1
  1. 1.Queen’s School of BusinessQueen’s UniversityKingstonCanada

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