EKU professor part of team researching how breaking gender roles can lead to more effective apologies

Originally published by WEKU.

An Eastern Kentucky University professor is part of a team that published a study on how breaking gender roles could play a part in an apology’s effectiveness.

An initial study gathered celebrity apologies from social media and measured the public response.

Beth Polin, associate professor of management at EKU, says the study showed male apologies are more effective when involving interpersonal sensitivity and benevolence, traits stereotypically associated with women.

“Males usually offer apologies with more agentic or task-focused language. So a counter-stereotypical apology for a male would be to offer an apology that is more communal in nature,” Polin said.

Apologies from women, meanwhile, are more effective when using assertiveness and more task-oriented language.

“They should include a component of an explanation of the reasons for the offense, they should include an offer of repair and a way to work toward fixing the problem,” Polin said.

Polin says these seemingly clashing behaviors are associated with the “expectancy violation theory.”

“Language and behavior is more effective when it contradicts the stereotype because you have to push past your biological default,” Polin said. “And that takes more effort.”

The study has been published in the Journal of Applied Psychology. More with Polin can be heard on this week’s edition of Eastern Standard.

Originally published by WEKU.

Republished with permission.