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Body of Knowledge Episode 5 – The hardest word


Saying sorry is rarely easy.

But a good apology can be a powerful tool for reconciliation.

Professor Alfred Allan, from Edith Cowan University’s School of Arts and Humanities, has been researching the power of apologies since his work with witnesses to the South African Truth and Reconciliation commission.

More recently his research has focused on how large organisations, like hospitals, can effectively apologise for mistakes.

In this Body of Knowledge episode, Professor Allan explains the three elements of a good apology:

  1. An admission of responsibility.
  2. A demonstration of sorrow.
  3. Doing something to remedy the offence, or prevent a repetition of it.

He also explains the delicate balance large organisations need to strike when apologising in the age of social media.

Body of Knowledge is Edith Cowan University’s research podcast. Each month it examines a hot topic or burning question through the lens of science.

Visit the Psychology course page for more information about studying Psychology at Edith Cowan University.

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