This study sought to examine the impact upon actors' selection of strategies to manage failure events of several contextual factors: characteristics of the reproacher/actor relationship, communicative goal‐orientation of the actors, severity of the failure event, character of the reproach for the failure event, and the actors' degree of expressed guilt. Results indicated that actors elected to make no response when they felt less guilt, when there was no overt reproach, when their instrumental goal (securing honoring) was unimportant, and when the failure event was a severe offense. Concessions were used when the reproachers said nothing or projected a concession, when the offense was severe, when the actors' instrumental goal was important, and when they felt guilty. Actors chose to justify their behavior in high intimate situations where their instrumental goal was less important. Refusal to account was most likely to occur when reproachers used an aggravating reproach form, when actors felt unjustly accused, and when reproachers were dominant. Excuses were fairly uniformly distributed across all contexts.
Human Communication Research – Oxford University Press
Published: Mar 1, 1983
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