The Negotiator’s Dilemma
Matthew A. Cronin ([email protected]) and Laurie R. Weingart ([email protected]), “The Differential Roles of Respect and Trust on Negotiation,” IACM 18th Annual Conference. Click here.
Imagine this: A gas station owner proposes to sell his property to a distributor so he can retire, buy a boat, and take a round-the-world trip. Adding up all of his financial needs, he calculates that he wants a minimum of $580,000. The distributor would like to pay no more than $500,000 and dispatches one of its managers to reach a deal. Neither side knows the other’s financial expectations or constraints. They sit down to negotiate.
Eighty-eight pairs of MBA students role-played this situation as part of research conducted by Matthew A. Cronin, an assistant professor of management at the School of Management of George Mason University, in Fairfax, Va., and Laurie R. Weingart, professor of organizational behavior and theory at the Tepper School of Business, Carnegie Mellon University. Before the negotiations began, the participants were asked about their attitudes toward their negotiating partners and their intended strategies. (Research suggests five potential negotiating strategies: problem solving, contending, yielding, inaction, and compromise.) The authors sought to explore the roles of respect and trust in negotiations.
The authors define trust as “the willingness to be vulnerable to another person in the absence of monitoring or the belief that a person does not intend to deceive or harm the trusting person.” Respect is “the value one is shown in the way he or she is treated or the level of esteem for another individual based on one’s own values.”
The negotiations were measured against three outcomes. These outcomes were, first, whether the two sides reached an agreement or not; second, what the quality of the agreement was; and third, the level of creativity involved. As the authors point out, the capacity for creativity is much higher than is first apparent. To facilitate a deal, the distributor could, for example, sponsor the owner’s new boat or offer the owner a job on returning from his trip.
The authors conclude that respect is important to a successful negotiation, but too much trust can, in fact, lead to a worse outcome for a negotiator. Respect engenders respect from opponents at the table and, as a result, it increases the possibility of mutual problem solving and is vital in achieving creative solutions. Trust, by contrast, tends to dull the competitive edge of negotiators, often leading them to give away their bargaining chips without improving their ability to come up with imaginative compromises. In other words, the authors argue, if you want to get a better deal, respect the people you are negotiating with, but don’t trust them for a minute.
Flames and Flattery
Lindred L. Greer ([email protected]) and Karen A. Jehn ([email protected]), “Relationship and Task Conflict in E-Mail: Performance Effects Moderated by Verbal Style and Influence Tactic Usage,” IACM 18th Annual Conference. Click here.
Conflict is a fact of organizational life. And e-mail adds a new dimension to it.
There are two broad types of organizational conflict: relationship-oriented and task-oriented. The former has to do with differences ignited by personal issues and incompatibilities. The latter can be regarded in some instances as a force for good, surfacing important questions and creating dialogue.
E-mail offers new insights into conflict because research suggests that disputes via e-mail are more emotionally heightened than face-to-face disagreements. Free of nonverbal clues and social cues, and even potentially anonymous, e-mail frees participants from some of the inhibitions of social norms. Potential problems arising from this include extreme, tactless language; difficulties in coordination, feedback, and reaching group consensus; and polarization.