Understanding the Nature and Consequences of Transgressions and Forgiveness in the Workplace in India


  • Gyanesh Kumar Tiwari Orcid
  • Rakesh Pandey Orcid
  • Pramod Kumar Rai Orcid
  • Meenakshi Shukla Orcid
  • Riddhi Jain Orcid
  • Prateek Budhwani Orcid
  • Archna Choudhary Orcid
  • Lekhraj Namdev Orcid
  • Nitya Kachhwaha Orcid
  • Diksha Sharma Orcid


The cultural context of an organisation may significantly shape the nature of transgressions and consequent forgiveness relevant to understanding the workplace outcomes. This study explored the nature of transgressions and the dynamics of forgiveness in the workplace of a heterogeneous Indian sample which have not been well addressed in previous studies. Qualitative research design was employed. Using a purposive sampling method, 48 participants from the government (n = 30) and private organisations (n = 18) were selected to form the final sample. The transcriptions from semi-structured interviews were analyzed by the Thematic Analysis Method. Two themes related to the nature of transgressions emerged: multiplicity of the sources of workplace transgressions (such as anger, discrimination, and work overload) and communications of workplace transgressions (e.g., through criticism, altered relationships, warnings). Concerning the dynamics of forgiveness in the workplace, three broad themes emerged: facilitators of workplace forgiveness (such as positive treatment, direct communication, scolding), barriers to workplace forgiveness (like, the intention behind wrongdoing, repetition of wrongdoing, decreased trust), and benefits of workplace forgiveness (such as positive emotions, good relations, healthy work environment). Management should develop an in-depth understanding of the nature of transgressions and the dynamics of forgiveness embedded in a specific cultural context which may help enhance a variety of positive organisational outcomes. Workplace transgressions and concomitant forgiveness are interwoven with the nature of organisations, individual level factors and socio-cultural contexts. Findings also provide some support that the coexistence of individualistic and collectivistic cultural values among Indians may have shaped workplace transgressions and consequent forgiveness.