Fauxpology Doesn’t Ring True

We’ve heard a lot of apologies lately. President Obama said he was sorry people lost their health insurance as a result of assurances he had made. 60 Minutes’ Lara Logan rued a flawed report on Benghazi. The CEO of Abercrombie & Fitch regretted his words were “interpreted in a manner that caused offense.”

But do these carefully crafted apologies do much good?

Davia Temin, who runs a crisis and reputation management firm, says weak apologies don’t have much value other than to acknowledge bad feelings. She labels them faux-pologies. In other words, the staged response is a way for the responsible party to say “I’m sorry you feel that way”—but maybe not so sorry about what caused those feelings.

Temin says when businesses hedge true apologies by inferring that whatever they did wasn’t really so bad, they deny culpability. That certainly is not anyone’s idea of a real apology.

Discussion: How do you think consumers respond when a business doesn’t fully accept blame for its actions or mistakes? Does a person or business appear weak if either apologizes? Do apologies for completely unacceptable behavior—such as coming to work drunk—accomplish anything?

Source: Davidson, K. (2013, November 12). How much is an apology worth? Marketplace.org. Retrieved from http://www.marketplace.org/topics/economy/how-much-apology-worth

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