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Conflict Management. Article presentation THE IMPACT OF MESSAGE FRAME ON NEGOTIATORS\' IMPRESSIONS, EMOTIONS, AND BEHAVIORS Mara Olekalns University of Melbourne Christopher Robert University of Missouri-Columbia ^ , Tahira Probst Washington State University Philip L Smith

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conflict management

Conflict Management

Article presentation

THE IMPACT OF MESSAGE FRAME ON

NEGOTIATORS\' IMPRESSIONS,

EMOTIONS, AND BEHAVIORS

Mara Olekalns

University of Melbourne

Christopher Robert

University of Missouri-Columbia

^ , TahiraProbst

Washington State University

Philip L Smith

University of Melbourne

Peter Carnevale

New York University

Ashok Raj

42007103304

introduction
Introduction

This experiment examined the impact of negotiators\' cooperative and

competitive expectations on the interpretation of ambiguous messages.

In a simulated bilateral negotiation, participants received an initial set

of cooperative, competitive or ambiguous messages, followed by a set of

ambiguous messages. Negotiators who received cooperative of competitive

messages weighed communality more heavily than power in

their assessment of ambiguous messages, whereas negotiators who

received two sets of ambiguous messages weighed power more heavily

than communality. A cooperative-ambiguous message sequence resulted

in less positive emotions whereas a competitive-ambiguous message

sequence increased cooperation and resulted in more positive emotions.

The baseline condition of six ambiguous messages cued increased competition

and also resulted in less positive emotions

slide3

"What\'s most important to you in this negotiation?“

How should the other party interpret this message?

One interpretation is that this is an attention to facilitate problem-solving by trying to understand the other party\'s underlying needs and interests, implying a cooperative approach. An alternative interpretation is that the negotiator is trying to gain information that can be used for personal gain, implying a more competitive approach

How do negotiators decide whether the other party is behaving cooperatively or competitively?

slide4

Negotiators, like other social actors, engage in a process of uncertainty reduction by attempting to clarify the other party\'s underlying goals and motives

negotiators\' communications vary in the degree to which they clearly signal underlying strategic intent. At any point in a negotiation, negotiators are likely to interpret ambiguous communications from the other party within the context created by earlier messages that more clearly conveyed their opponent\'s strategic intent.

slide5

The focus is on three types of responses: impressions, behaviors and emotions.

To investigate how strategies that clearly convey the intentions of the other party shape negotiators\' responses when they subsequently encounter more ambiguous strategies, we establish or \'frame\' the context by sending three unambiguously cooperative or competitive messages to negotiators. then consider how negotiators who have been framed in a cooperative or competitive way respond to more ambiguous messages.

slide6

two competing models of the relationship: differ in that one implies stability in reactions (Response lag) whereas the other implies change in reactions (Response adaptation).

  • the Response Lag Model—predicts that negotiators\' early experiences with the other party create a frame that shapes negotiators‘ interpretations of and reactions to subsequent messages would be interpreted as conveying cooperative intent if it occurred after a sequence of clearly cooperative statements, and as conveying competitive intent if it occurred after a sequence of clearly competitive statements.
slide7

the Response Lag model suggests that a negotiator\'s initial impressions of the other party, established by cooperative or competitive messages, will either remain unchanged or show minimal change when these messages are replaced by more ambiguous ones.

  • Response Adaptation Model—predicts that negotiators recognize and respond rapidly to behavioral shifts by the other party. This model inches that a contrast effect will operate to influence the interpretation of ambiguous messages. When an ambiguous message follows a series of clearly cooperative or competitive messages, it breaks with a pattern of consistent behavior. As a result, it is likely to attract attention and to be interpreted as signaling a strategic shift
slide8

the Response Adaptation model implies that initial impressions established by cooperative or competitive messages will shift quickly in response to a shift toward ambiguity by one\'s opponent, and that a negotiator\'s behaviors and emotions will follow suit

  • Two dimensions-power and communality
  • In negotiation, these dimensions find parallels in descriptions of competitive negotiations, thought to emphasize power and control, and cooperative negotiations, thought to emphasize relationship—building, communality and trust
slide9

The question is how the initial impressions formed when negotiators encounter a series of clearly cooperative or competitive strategies are affected by a move to strategies that are more ambiguous in their intent.

  • Indirect evidence for such a framing effect comes from Prisoner\'s Dilemma Game research.
  • This research demonstrates that cooperatively—motivated individuals weight a morality (communality) dimension more heavily than a might (power) dimension when forming impressions of other people whereas competitively-motivated individuals weight a might dimension more heavily than a morality dimension in the impression formation process, the might-morality effect
negative shift in impressions
Negative Shift in Impressions

Hypothesis la: Cooperatively-framed negotiators will weigh communality more heavily than power in their assessment of both cooperative and ambiguous messages.

Hypothesis Ib: Competitively-framed negotiators will weigh power more heavily than communality in their assessment of both competitive and ambiguous messages.

slide11

Theory and research suggests that a move from cooperation to ambiguity is likely to be interpreted negatively and decrease trust

negotiators will interpret ambiguous messages as competitive and revise their impressions of the other party, that is, they will weigh power more heavily than communality in their interpretation of ambiguous messages

positive shift in impressions
Positive Shift in Impressions
  • Hypothesis 2a: Cooperatively framed negotiators will show a negative shift in their impressions of ambiguous messages.
  • Hypothesis 2b: Competitively framed negotiators will show a positive shift in their impressions of ambiguous messages.
slide13

Negotiation tiieory identifies two approaches to negotiation, cooperative and

  • con^etitive, associated with distinct sets of behaviors. A cooperative approach has
  • the goal of meeting tlie needs and interests of both parties; that is, of maximizing
  • joint gain. This approach is linked to the use of cooperative and problem-solving
  • strategies such as information exchange, concessions and process matiagement.
  • Conversely, a competitive approach en^hasizes the goal of meeting one party\'s
  • need; that is, of maximizing individual gain. Strategically, competitive negotiators
  • aim to influence their opponents through tbe use of contentious strategies such as
  • argumentation, substantiation, demands and threats
slide14

Negotiators who have received clearly cooperative messages will

  • continue to select cooperative messages and those who have encountered clearly
  • con^etitive messages will continue to select competitive messages, even though
  • the other party is now using more ambiguous strategies.
slide15

Hypothesis 3a: Negotiators who receive a series of clearly cooperative messages

  • will continue to select cooperative messages in
  • response to later, ambiguous messages.
  • Hypothesis 3b: Negotiators who receive a series of clearly competitive messages
  • will continue to select con^)etitive messages in
  • response to later, ambiguous messages.
slide16

negotiators who experience a switch from cooperation to

  • ambiguity will respond with con^etitive messages to protect themselves against
  • potential exploitation; negotiators who experience a switch from competition to
  • ambiguity will respond with cooperative messages in order to reciprocate and preserve
  • the apparently more cooperative approach of the other party and increase the
  • likelihood of settlement.
slide17

Hypothesis 4a: Negotiators who receive a series of clearly cooperative messages will show a negative behavioral shift in response to ambiguous messages.

Hypothesis 4b: Negotiators who receive a series of clearly competitive messages will show a positive behavioral shift in response to ambiguous messages.

slide18

Research has established that emotion plays an important role in shaping negotiators\' behavior.

For example, positive affect reduces the use of contention and increases both cooperation and concession-making negotiators who encounter cooperation will report more positive emotions than those who encounter competition.

slide19

Hypothesis 5a: Negotiators who receive a series of clearly cooperative messages will report positive emotions and continue to report positive emotions in response to ambiguous messages.

Hypothesis 5b: Negotiators who receive a series of clearly competitive messages will report negative emotions and continue to report negative emotions in response to ambiguous messages.

consequences of sustained ambiguity
Consequences of Sustained Ambiguity
  • it is possible that prolonged ambiguity influences negotiators\' impressions of the other party, their emotions, and their behaviors Negotiators who avoid discussion are likely to increase the level of uncertainty in the negotiation. Similarly, the sustained use of ambiguous strategies may be interpreted as an attempt to avoid engaging with the negotiation. sustained use of ambiguous strategies may be interpreted as an attempt to avoid engaging with the negotiation
slide21

Sustained ambiguity will lead to

(a) increasingly negative impressions of the other party,

(b) increasingly competitive responses, and

(c) increasingly negative emotions over time.

slide22

One hundred and two undergraduate psychology students at a large mid western

  • university participated in this experiment. Participants were randomly
  • assigned to one of three experimental conditions (ambiguous, competitive, cooperative)
slide23

Phase 1

Participants receive a series of 3 messages: all either cooperative, competitive, or ambiguous, depending on framing condition

  • Phase 2

All participants receive a series of 3 ambiguous messages

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