THE INFLUENCE OF BARGAINING STRUCTURE AND POSITIVE AFFECT ON DECISION MAKING IN NEGOTIATIONS
The present study examined the moderating role of bargaining structure that is positive and negative bargaining zone, on the impact of positive affect on decision making in negotiation. While prior research on positive affect and negotiation showed that positive affect helped negotiators use more cooperative strategies and reach more integrative outcomes, this study found that there exists a boundary condition for the impact to hold, according to the bargaining structure of the negotiation. Since the time and the energy invested in the negotiation are considered as the cost of negotiation, different structure of bargaining zone introduces different needs to negotiators to balance the benefits and the costs. Positive and neutral affect was manipulated by showing a series of pictures to the participants and making them to write down their associations with the picture. Then participants conducted a two-party negotiation which seemed to be distributive but which had integrative potential. Results showed that negotiators in the positive affect condition reached more integrative solutions than negotiators in the control condition only when they faced a negative bargaining zone, but not when faced a positive bargaining zone. Negotiators with whom positive affect was induced guessed the propriety issues of the other party better in the negative bargaining zone condition as well. Also, they arrived at an agreement significantly faster and perceived the other negotiator as more cooperative than negotiators with neutral affect. Consistent with prior research on the impact of positive affect on cognitive flexibility, negotiators in the positive affect condition were able to distinguish when the efforts to reach an integrative outcome is necessary and worthwhile, thus balance the benefit and the cost of the negotiation.
negotiation; positive affect
dissertation or thesis