In the wake of the Great Recession, there is greater public expectation to see corporations express proper contrition for their errors. While corporate leaders and myriad stakeholders acknowledge that corporations ought to be more responsive to public expectations of ethical corporate behavior, the modern corporate social responsibility (CSR) movement is simply unequipped to incentivize this behavior. This unresponsiveness can be seen in the area of dispute resolution between corporations and individuals. While the argument may seem counter-intuitive on first impression, the use of corporate apologies is both good business and good ethics. While there is minimal overlap in the dispute resolution and New Governance literatures, both fields rely on reciprocal assumptions about how to encourage collaborative ends. Namely, both envision a flexible, problem-solving dynamic, in dispute resolution, through a careful consideration of skills, and in New Governance, through a careful consideration of institutional design. The purpose of this Article is to apply a New Governance framework to the area of dispute resolution between corporations and individuals—and to advocate the use of the corporate apology as both good ethics and good business.
Michael B. Runnels, Dispute Resolution & New Governance: Role of the Corporate Apology, 34 SEATTLE U. L. REV. 481 (2011).