Hear From the Expert:

Overcoming Barriers and Promoting Reconciliation in Organizations

By IGI Global on Jul 21, 2023
Destructive conflict poses a significant problem for organizations, resulting in substantial financial losses and reduced productivity. To address this issue, the authors advocate for forgiveness as a transformative and prosocial solution within the organizational context. While acknowledging that conflict is inevitable, they emphasize the importance of utilizing forgiveness to acknowledge transgressions, manage conflict, and promote reconciliation. However, communicating forgiveness faces various barriers and taboos, making it a risky and challenging process for organizational members. To navigate these obstacles, the authors introduce the risk negotiation framework, providing a pathway for progress in workplace relationships. In conclusion, the chapter highlights the need for further research in this area and provides strategies to encourage forgiveness, fostering a more harmonious and productive organizational environment.
Handbook of Research on Communication Strategies for
Taboo Topics
Prof. Geoffrey D. Luurs
© 2022 | 602 pgs. | ISBN: 9781799891253
  • Indexed In: SCOPUS
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Contributing Author Question & Answer
How does your professional background support your ability to be an authority on this book's coverage?
Prof. Sollitto: With over a decade of experience in the field of organizational communication, starting from my undergraduate studies in 2007 and continuing with my doctoral research program that began in 2011, my professional background uniquely positions me as an authority on this project/chapter's coverage. As an organizational communication scholar specializing in workplace relationships, I have extensively reviewed the relevant scholarly literature on forgiveness and seamlessly integrated it with existing research in the field.
What was the driving force or motivation for starting your chapter?
Prof. Sollitto: The call for papers intrigued me because my graduate student and I had been interested in how organizational members seek and express forgiveness with one another. My thinking was that forgiveness in organizational settings is complicated, and possibly taboo because of the complexity and potential awkwardness of it. After that, we began compiling more academic literature about forgiveness and developed an overview and argument for how forgiveness is a taboo topic among organizational members.

What specific problems does your chapter address?

Prof. Sollitto: Our chapter began by addressing conflict among organizational members and then we described forgiveness as a constructive solution for conflict. However, forgiveness can be more difficult than simply offering an apology, it can be risky and bring about more problems than it solves. Our chapter unpacked the complexity of forgiveness and why it can be taboo in
the organization.
How does your chapter provide a solution to these problems?

Prof. Sollitto: We offered individual and organizational strategies for mitigating the risk of communicating forgiveness. Our individual solutions for individual members were:

  • writing about forgiveness as a means for collecting thoughts and preparing to offer forgiveness
  • displaying mercy to transgressors
  • planning forgiveness strategies to achieve their desired goal
The organizational solutions we offered were:
  • encouraging leaders to take initiative in a variety of ways, including setting the foundation for forgiveness, displaying transformational leadership behaviors, apologizing, establishing forgiveness cultures, and implementing forgiveness training interventions
  • creating formal dispute mechanisms for managing offenses and conflict
What special organizations, or other professional affiliations give you experience in the areas covered by this book?
Prof. Sollitto: In terms of specialized organizations or professional affiliations, my expertise in the areas covered by this book stems solely from my academic research interests and personal work experiences. As for recognition in the field of study, I am proud to have received the 2021 Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi Excellence in Research & Scholarly Activity award. Additionally, I have achieved top paper honors in the organizational communication division of ECA in the years 2018, 2019, 2021, and 2023, which further highlights my academic excellence and contributions in this field.

About the Chapter Author
Michael Sollitto is an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication & Media at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, specializing in organizational communication and teaching courses in communication theory, research methods, organizational communication, leadership, and instructional communication. His research interests include relationships, specifically student-student relationships, leader-follower relationships, and peer coworker relationships.

About IGI Global
Founded in 1988 and headquartered in Hershey, Pennsylvania, USA with a subsidiary office (IGI Science and Technology, Ltd.) operating out of Beijing, China, IGI Global is a leading medium-sized independent international academic publisher of scholarly reference sources. They are committed to facilitating the discovery of pioneering scientific research that enhances and expands the body of knowledge available to the research community through traditional and open access publishing workflows. Working in close collaboration with more than 200,000+ expert researchers and professionals from leading institutions, IGI Global publishes quality peer-reviewed content in three major academic subject areas:

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