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3 Benefits of Workplace Forgiveness


Workplace forgiveness is a must. Some leaders I know view forgiveness as a liability. Forgiving others provides many benefits. I will raise three benefits in promoting a forgiving organizational culture. Workplace forgiveness inspires innovation, promotes positive behaviors, and suppresses bad behaviors.


Inspires Innovation


Kim, Kim, and Jung (2018) found when employees forgive each other; they are less fearful of competition and more likely to communicate innovative ideas (Kim, Kim, & Jung, 2018). Additionally, innovative behavior in business is a requirement to maintain relevance (Pisano, 2019). As business leaders promote workplace forgiveness among employees, they inspire innovation, and the company remains relevant.


Increase Positive Behavior/Decrease Negative


Workplace forgiveness engenders positive social behavior and suppresses anti-social behaviors. Zdaniuk and Bobocel (2015) determined when leaders promote forgiveness and mediate a collective employee identity, employees contained anti-social behaviors, namely avoidance, and revenge, instead of relying on supervisors (Zdaniuk & Bobocel, 2015). Conversely, when leaders promoted workplace forgiveness, they found employees reacted in positive ways to workplace mistreatment of themselves and other employees (Zdaniuk & Bobocel, 2015). Responding favorably to perceived workplace injustice is badly needed in today’s social media environment.


Workplace Forgiveness Must Have Accountability


Christians are commanded to forgive. However, while the Bible commands us to forgive (Luke 6:7, King James Version), we must also hold offenders to some accountability (Romans 14:12). Radulovic, Thomas, Epitropaki, and Legood (2019) indicate organizations that foster workplace forgiveness but do not maintain some level of responsibility and accountability actually foster adverse effects, such as violence and laziness (Radulovic, Thomas, Epitropaki, & Legood, 2019). Therefore, leaders must be mindful of the positive and possible adverse effects of workplace forgiveness to ensure the organization maximizes its return on the forgiveness investment.


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Kim, B.-J., Kim, T.-H., & Jung, S.-Y. (2018). How to Enhance Sustainability through Transformational Leadership: The Important Role of Employees’ Forgiveness. Sustainability, 1-13.

Pisano, G. P. (2019). The Hard Truth About Innovative Cultures. The Harvard Business Review, 62–71.

Radulovic, A. B., Thomas, G., Epitropaki, O., & Legood, A. (2019). Forgiveness in leader–member exchange relationships: Mediating and moderating mechanisms. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 498-534.

Zdaniuk, A., & Bobocel, D. R. (2015). The role of idealized influence leadership in promoting workplace forgiveness. The Leadership Quarterly, 863-877.