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Sauder prof wins award for influential research on vengeance, justice and forgiveness

Tagged: Awards, Faculty, Research

Sauder Professor Karl Aquino has won an award for the most influential paper on workplace conflict, from a leading international network of business researchers.

The Academy of Management’s conflict management division gives out a handful of awards every year to top researchers in the field. Division chair William Bottom says Aquino’s 2006 paper, Getting even or moving on? Power, procedural justice, and types of offense as predictors of revenge, forgiveness, reconciliation, and avoidance in organizations, was the “clear winner” among the candidates for the most influential paper.

Aquino and his co-authors investigated different responses to being harmed at work, and found that in workplaces with strong procedures to address wrongdoings, people tend more towards forgiveness and reconciliation. “In the absence of fair procedures, people are more likely to take justice into their own hands,” Aquino says. They also found that people in powerful positions are more likely to seek revenge than those further down the ladder.

Aquino says he’s very honoured, and somewhat surprised to get an award eight years after his study was published. “Sometimes it really takes a while for ideas to catch on,” he says. “At the time, there wasn’t much research on forgiveness at work, but since our paper was published, the management field has taken note of how often people forgive those who harm them,” he says.

“I think it solidifies the growing reputation Sauder has for producing research that’s not only high in quality, but socially relevant as well,” says Aquino, who holds the Richard Poon Professorship of Organizations and Society in Sauder's Marketing and Behavioural Science Division.

The Academy of Management is a professional association for management research and education, and has nearly 20,000 members from 115 countries.