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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THE IMPACT OF MESSAGE FRAME ON
EMOTIONS, AND BEHAVIORS
University of Melbourne
University of Missouri-Columbia
^ , TahiraProbst
Washington State University
Philip L Smith
University of Melbourne
New York University
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
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?
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.
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.
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 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.
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
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.
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.
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
Negotiation tiieory identifies two approaches to negotiation, cooperative and
Hypothesis 3a: Negotiators who receive a series of clearly cooperative messages
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.
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.
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.
(a) increasingly negative impressions of the other party,
(b) increasingly competitive responses, and
(c) increasingly negative emotions over time.
One hundred and two undergraduate psychology students at a large mid western
Participants receive a series of 3 messages: all either cooperative, competitive, or ambiguous, depending on framing condition
All participants receive a series of 3 ambiguous messages