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Effective Punishment Through Forgiveness: Rediscovering Kierkegaard’s Knight of Faith in the Abraham Story

Abramson, Neil Remington
June 4, 2015

Source: (2010) Organization Studies 31(05): 555–581

Scheler (1973) proposed a model of punishment intended to re-establish a reconciled relationship between a harm doer and the person(s) harmed. Punishment was followed by genuine forgiveness, seeking genuine repentance from the harm doer, leading to the reconciliation of the relationship. This paper proposed that only a punisher having the character of a Knight of Faith (Kierkegaard 1985) could effectively implement this pun- ishment process. The Abraham story provided an illustration of how a Knight of Faith (God) rehabilitated his relationship with Abraham using punishment and forgive- ness. This process is, at an individual level, similar to one applied by Nelson Mandela in the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (Tutu 2000). It is argued that this process is more effective in achieving reconciliation and re-establishing effective relationships than traditional retributive approaches as typified by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, enacted in response to the Enron and WorldCom scandals.(Author’s Abstract)


AbstractDiscovering TruthForgivenessPost-Conflict ReconciliationVictim Support
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