Musings on Accounting Research by Steve

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Learning to admit you are wrong

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Last post shared research from Julian Barling on how to apologize effectively.

Just as there are steps to make an apology meaningful there are things to avoid doing if you want you apology to succeed. As Julian discovered the following are things to avoid if you want to give an effective apology.

A. Do not ramble. Be specific.

B. Do not put conditions on it. “If I offended anyone .. ” is not the start of a sincere apology,

C. Do not attempt to make explain or make excuses for why the bad behaviour occurred in the first place.

D. Do not ask for forgiveness, that is up to the person you are apologizing to offer. Asking makes it all about you, not them!

E. Do not apologize if you do not mean it and intend to keep the commitment you made as part of the apology.

While senior academics suffer from this problem as well, especially those that achieved much success early and relatively easily in their careers, it seems to be harder for junior faculty and doctoral students to admit they are wrong or that they hurt someone by their actions or inaction.


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