Explaining One's Self to Others: Reason-Giving in a Social Context

By Margaret L. McLaughlin; Michael J. Cody et al. | Go to book overview

1947). On the other hand, an excuse can have negative effects for the organization in the long run if it keeps organizational members from recognizing and responding to problems ( Sitkin, in press-b). For example, an excuse may be used to "cool out" a potentially offended party ( Goffman, 1952) and also create a false peace ( Nord, 1987). If, at a later time, the individual comes to believe he or she has been intentionally deceived, the resultant feelings of betrayal, distrust, and injustice may lead to retaliation and the escalation of conflict ( Jemison & Sitkin, 1986; Shapiro & Bies, 1990). In addition, given that an excuse lessens a subordinate's feelings of anger, it may also lessen his or her motivation to search for alternative solutions to the rejected proposal ( Goffman, 1952) and thereby undermine some of the constructive outcomes of a failure event ( Sitkin, in pressb), such as creative problem solving ( Brown, 1983; Deutsch, 1973; Thomas, 1976) and positive change ( Brown, 1983; Coser, 1956; Kanter, 1983).


ACKNOWLEDGMENT

We wish to thank the editors and Susan Bies for their constructive comments and suggestions on an earlier version of this chapter.


REFERENCES

Austin J. L. ( 1961). Philosophical papers. London: xOxford University Press.

Barnard C. I. ( 1938). The functions of the executive. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Baron R. A. ( 1988). Attributions and organizational conflict: The mediating role of apparent sincerity. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 41,111-127.

Baron R. A. ( 1990). Countering the effects of destructive criticism: The relative efficacy of four interventions. Journal of Applied Psychology, 75, 235-245.

Bettman J. R., & Weitz B. A. ( 1983). Attributions in the boardroom: Causal reasoning in corporate annual reports. Administrative Science Quarterly, 28,165-183.

Bies R. J. ( 1987a). Beyond "voice": The influence of decision-maker justification and sincerity on procedural fairness judgments. Representative Research in Social Psychology, 17,3-17.

Bies R. J. ( 1987b). The predicament of injustice: The management of moral outrage. In L. L. Cummings & B. M. Staw (Eds.), Research in organizational behavior (Vol. 9, pp. 289-319). Greenwich, CT: JAI Press.

Bies R. J. ( 1989). Managing conflict before it happens: The role of accounts. In M. A. Rahim (Ed.), Managing conflict: An interdisciplinary approach (pp. 83-91). New York: Praeger.

Bies R. J. ( 1990). The manager as intuitive politician: Blame management in the delivery of bad news. Unpublished manuscript.

Bies R. J., & Moag J. S. ( 1986). Interactional justice: Communication criteria of fairness. In R. Lewicki , B. H. Sheppard, & M. H. Bazerman (Ed.), Research on negotiation in organizations (Vol. 1, pp. 43-55). Greenwich, CT: JAI Press.

Bies R. J., & Shapiro D. L. ( 1987). Interactional fairness judgments: The influence of causal accounts. Social Justice Research, 1,199-218.

Bies R. J., & Shapiro D. L. ( 1988). Voice and justification: Their influence on procedural fairness judgments. Academy of Management Journal, 31,676-685.

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