What is it about?

The types of responses that organizations should use to effectively recover from a failure differ based on the gender of the CEO. People are more likely to maintain their relationship with a female-led organization when the CEO issues an apology in which she accepts full responsibility for the failure. Yet, people respond better to a male-led organization when the CEO does not accept full culpability for the failure.

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Why is it important?

We demonstrate that personal characteristics can shape the effectiveness of organizations’ crisis response strategies. This is important since CEOs increasingly serve as the public face of organizations. Our findings also heighten concerns that gender may have enduring implications not just for executives’ careers, but also for the organizations that they lead.


Conducting this research sparked many conversations around some of the additional challenges that female leaders face today. We hope you find this topic as thought-provoking as we did.

Nicole Montgomery
University of Virginia

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: To be or not to be sorry? How CEO gender impacts the effectiveness of organizational apologies., Journal of Applied Psychology, June 2019, American Psychological Association (APA),
DOI: 10.1037/apl0000430.
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