Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 121, Issue 1, pp 91–106 | Cite as

Leader Apologies and Employee and Leader Well-Being

  • Alyson ByrneEmail author
  • Julian Barling
  • Kathryne E. Dupré


Regardless of leaders’ efforts to do the right thing and meet performance expectations, they make mistakes, with possible ramifications for followers’ and leaders’ well-being. Some leaders will apologize following transgressions, which may have positive implications for their followers’ and their own well-being, contingent upon the nature and severity of the transgressions. We examine these relationships in two separate studies. In Study 1, leader apologies had a positive relationship with followers’ psychological well-being and emotional health, and these relationships were moderated by the severity of the transgression. In Study 2, leader apologies had a positive relationship with their own psychological well-being, positive emotional health and authentic pride. In addition, the nature of transgressions moderated the relationship between leader apologies and leaders’ positive emotions and authentic pride, while the severity of transgressions moderated the relationship between leader apologies and their positive emotions, psychological health, and authentic pride. Implications and future research directions are discussed.


Apologies Authentic pride Emotions Leadership Transgressions Well-being 



Portions of this research were supported by a grant from the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada to Julian Barling.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alyson Byrne
    • 1
    Email author
  • Julian Barling
    • 1
  • Kathryne E. Dupré
    • 2
  1. 1.Queen’s UniversityKingstonCanada
  2. 2.Faculty of Business AdministrationMemorial University of NewfoundlandSt. John’sCanada

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