Moral identity and the art of apologizing: Understanding customers’ relationships with green enterprises

Past event — 23 June 2017

Kühne Logistics University
Grosser Grasbrook 17, 20457 Hamburg, Room Faculty Lounge

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Dr. Suzanne van Gils

Assistant Professor

Maastricht University

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We explore the impact of the two dimensions of moral identity - internalization and symbolization - on customers’ satisfaction with different types of (private versus public and material versus non-material) apologies. We propose that high moral identity internalization will be associated with higher satisfaction with private non-material apologies, while high moral identity symbolization will be associated with higher satisfaction with public (material and non-material) apologies. We find support for these predictions in two studies; a field study (N=159) of customers of a green social enterprise and an online scenario study (N=214). Moreover, the results of Study 2 show that the relationships between these moral identity dimensions and apologies are driven by different underlying mechanisms, namely self-consistency and social reinforcement respectively.


Suzanne van Gils is an assistant professor in work and social psychology. Her research focuses on moral behavior in organizations, ethical leadership, and social psychological determinants of organizational behavior. Her recent publications are listed on her researchgate profile. She obtained her PhD in 2012 from Rotterdam School of Management. In 2013, she worked as a postdoctoral research fellow at Kühne Logistics University in Hamburg, researching the effects of the physical environment on moral behavior.

Speaker: Suzanne Van Gils, PhD