Page 87 | Volume 1 | The Leadership Journal of Dallas Baptist University

87 The Role of Forgiveness in Leadership and Organizational Well-Being: A Phenomenological Study Shalini Patras Shalini Patras is a current Ph.D. candidate in the Cook School of Leadership and founding President at Eirene Group, LLC, in Plano, Texas. The phenomenon of forgiveness at work is not usually relevant unless something negative or harmful happens.1 On one extreme are situations that lead to more than 300 workplace acts of violence that end in death every year, and on the other are workplace tensions that create temporary negativity.2 The study of forgiveness was largely confined to the theological domain until the mid-1980s, when research began in the therapeutic community.3 By the 1990s, forgiveness was recognized as a field of study in organizational behavior. In 2002, Stone’s research revealed that executives feared forgiveness could lead to chaos at work. However, recognizing the uniqueness of workplace offenses, Aquino, Goldman, and Folger wrote, “Victims of crime seldom have to maintain a relationship with the person who harmed them. In contrast, people who have been seriously harmed by co-workers often have to continue interacting as a requirement of their jobs.”4 At work, people overlook small offenses regularly as these offenses occur in daily interactions.5 Norlock and Rumsey called daily forgiveness of small errors “moral housekeeping.” In the work environment, good communication was essential to minimize the daily wrongs from turning into a crisis.6 Cox’s research showed that forgiveness significantly decreased job stress, increased job satisfaction, and increased organizational citizenship.7 Caldwell and Dixon wrote that forgiveness builds a leader’s credibility and organizational trust.8 THE ROLE OF FORGIVENESS IN LEADERSHIP AND ORGANIZATIONAL WELL-BEING