The Effects of Negotiated and Delegated Apologies in Settlement Negotiation

9 Pages Posted: 18 Aug 2013 Last revised: 8 Oct 2013

Date Written: 2013


Previous work has explored the influence that apologies have on the settlement of civil legal disputes. This study explored 2 aspects of apologies that commonly arise in the legal setting — the fact that many apologies may be negotiated with or requested from a wrongdoer in the context of settlement discussions and the possibility that an apology may be offered by a wrongdoer’s attorney rather than personally by the offender. In general, apologies given following a negligent action were found to improve perceptions of the offender and the situation. Full apologies that were given in response to a request by the injured party or at the suggestion of a mediator were viewed in ways that were similar to the same apology given spontaneously. On the other hand, full apologies that were offered by an attorney on behalf of the wrongdoer, although improving perceptions somewhat, were less effective than apologies offered directly by the wrongdoer. The motives attributed to the apologizer and general attitudes toward the civil litigation system also influenced perceptions of apologies.

Keywords: apologies

JEL Classification: K00

Suggested Citation

Robbennolt, Jennifer K., The Effects of Negotiated and Delegated Apologies in Settlement Negotiation (2013). Law and Human Behavior, Vol. 37, No. 2, 2013, Illinois Public Law Research Paper No. 14-5, Available at SSRN:

Jennifer K. Robbennolt (Contact Author)

University of Illinois College of Law ( email )

504 E. Pennsylvania Avenue
Champaign, IL 61820
United States
217-333-6623 (Phone)

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