Managers often find it hard to say "I'm sorry," even for behavior which is clearly out of bounds. And the higher the management level, the more difficult this seems to be.
Perhaps that's why people were slightly startled by the extremely clear and direct apology issued by Michael Horn, head of the Volkswagen Group of America, after VW was caught cheating on emissions tests: "Our company was dishonest ... we have totally screwed up. We have to make things right with the government, the public, our customers, our employees ... We are committed to do what must be done and to begin to restore your trust."
That was followed by the resignation of Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn.