The Interpersonal Effects of Emotions in Negotiations

Topics: Negotiation, Anger, Psychology Pages: 55 (19710 words) Published: December 11, 2010
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 2004, Vol. 87, No. 4, 510 –528

Copyright 2004 by the American Psychological Association 0022-3514/04/$12.00 DOI: 10.1037/0022-3514.87.4.510

The Interpersonal Effects of Emotions in Negotiations: A Motivated Information Processing Approach Gerben A. Van Kleef and Carsten K. W. De Dreu
University of Amsterdam

Antony S. R. Manstead
University of Cambridge

Three experiments tested a motivated information processing account of the interpersonal effects of anger and happiness in negotiations. In Experiment 1, participants received information about the opponent’s emotion (anger, happiness, or none) in a computer-mediated negotiation. As predicted, they conceded more to an angry opponent than to a happy one (controls falling in between), but only when they had a low (rather than a high) need for cognitive closure. Experiment 2 similarly showed that participants were only affected by the other’s emotion under low rather than high time pressure, because time pressure reduced their degree of information processing. Finally, Experiment 3 showed that negotiators were only influenced by their opponent’s emotion if they had low (rather than high) power. These results support the motivated information processing model by showing that negotiators are only affected by their opponent’s emotions if they are motivated to consider them.

Negotiation is one of the most common and constructive ways of dealing with social conflict. It may be defined as the joint decision making between interdependent individuals with divergent interests (Pruitt, 1998). Most of us negotiate on a regular basis, for instance with our spouses about the division of household chores, with our children about how to spend the holidays, and with our students about task assignments in a research project. Although emotions are inherent to negotiation and social conflict (Davidson & Greenhalgh, 1999), and are crucial to understanding how individuals behave within bargaining situations (Barry, 1999), surprisingly little attention has been given to the role of emotions in negotiations. In this article we focus on the social effects of emotions in negotiation (i.e., the way negotiators respond to their opponent’s emotions) and develop a motivated information processing model that accounts for these effects.

Emotions in Negotiation
There are myriad definitions of emotion. However, most definitions point to three distinct features of emotion: physiological reactions, action tendencies, and subjective experience (Lazarus, 1991). Emotions differ from moods in that they are discrete (Russell & Feldman Barrett, 1999), of relatively high intensity and

Gerben A. Van Kleef and Carsten K. W. De Dreu, Department of Psychology, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, the Netherlands; Antony S. R. Manstead, Faculty of Social and Political Sciences, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom. Antony S. R. Manstead is now at the School of Psychology, Cardiff University, Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom. We thank Astrid Homan, Bernard Nijstad, and Scott Tindale for their valuable comments on drafts of this article. Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Gerben A. Van Kleef, University of Amsterdam, Department of Psychology, Roetersstraat 15, 1018 WB Amsterdam, the Netherlands. E-mail: 510

short duration (Barry, 1999; Forgas, 1992; Oatley & Jenkins, 1996), and intentional, that is, directed at an object, person, or event (Frijda, 1993; Russell & Feldman Barrett, 1999). In this article we use the term emotion in the sense intended above, whereas affect is used as a superordinate construct that encompasses both moods and emotions (cf. Barry & Oliver, 1996). Prior research has mostly focused on the intrapersonal effects of affect (moods and emotions) in negotiation, that is, the influence of a negotiator’s emotional state on his or her own behavior. For example, positive affect has...
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