Interpretations of CEO public apologies for the banking crisis: attributions of blame and avoidance of responsibility

Hargie, Owen, Stapleton, Karyn and Tourish, Dennis (2010) Interpretations of CEO public apologies for the banking crisis: attributions of blame and avoidance of responsibility. Organization, 17 (6). pp. 721-742. ISSN 1350-5084

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Abstract

This article analyses the public testimony of four banking CEOs to the Banking Crisis Inquiry of the Treasury Committee of the UK House of Commons in 2009. Utilizing a discursive and interpretive approach, we explore how they attributed responsibility and blame for the crisis through the medium of public apologies. A number of taxonomies of apology are employed to provide an interpretive framework for the analysis. We conclude that the CEO discourse is characterized by expressions of regret, attempts to articulate alignment with others affected by the crisis and dissociation from the events being scrutinized, in order to avoid direct culpability for the crisis and invoke instead the spectre of impersonal global events which mitigates personal responsibility. We therefore characterize the discourse studied as an example of apology avoidance, and consider the constraints on apology which senior CEOs evidently feel they face.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Business, Management and Economics > Business and Management
Depositing User: Stacey Goldup
Date Deposited: 13 Jun 2017 05:59
Last Modified: 13 Jun 2017 05:59
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/68494
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