Emotion in NegotiationConduct a light research on the role of emotion in negotiation process, and the effect it has on the outcome of the negotiation. In your essay, try to answer the following the questions:Does emotion delay the negotiation process, or prevents parties from reaching an agreement? Why or why not?As a negotiator, what are the benefits of emotion in negotiation?Evaluate some of the strategies for dealing with emotion in negotiation.
Emotion in Negotiation: Its Impact on the Process and Agreement
Negotiation is an integral part of both personal and professional life. It involves parties coming together to discuss issues, find common ground, and ideally reach an agreement. However, negotiation is also an emotional process that elicits feelings in participants. Emotions like anger, frustration, and anxiety are common. This paper examines the role of emotion in negotiation and its effect on the process and outcomes. Specifically, it addresses whether emotion delays or prevents agreement, the benefits of emotion, and strategies for managing emotions.
Does Emotion Delay Agreement or Prevent Reaching a Deal?
There is an ongoing debate around whether emotion helps or hinders the negotiation process. On the one hand, strong negative emotions like anger are thought to delay or derail negotiations (Kopelman et al., 2006). When parties become angry or upset, it shifts the focus away from problem-solving toward personal attacks. This damages rapport and trust between negotiators. It activates the brain’s fight-or-flight response, impairing logical and analytical thinking needed to find mutually agreeable solutions (Van Kleef, 2016). As a result, negotiations may get prolonged or break down entirely without an agreement.
However, some research challenges the notion that emotion necessarily prevents agreement. Studies have found anger does not always undermine negotiation outcomes and can even promote concessions under certain conditions (Van Kleef et al., 2004). Moderate levels of negative emotion may also signal resolve and commitment to one’s position, providing useful information to the other party (Van Kleef, 2016). Furthermore, positive emotions like empathy have been shown to facilitate cooperation and creative problem-solving (Lelieveld et al., 2012). They signal openness and willingness to understand other perspectives.
Overall, the impact of emotion depends on its intensity, appropriateness to the situation, and how well negotiators regulate and constructively express their feelings. Well-managed negative emotions convey resolve without damaging the relationship, allowing parties to focus on interests rather than positions (Fisher et al., 2011). Thus, emotion does not inevitably delay or derail the negotiation process when expressed and addressed constructively.
Benefits of Emotion in Negotiation
While strong negative emotions present challenges, emotion can also benefit the negotiation process when leveraged strategically. First, sharing emotions in a regulated way provides useful information. Expressing disappointment over an offer, for example, signals room for improvement without accusations (Van Kleef, 2016). It conveys priorities and boundaries in a way facts alone cannot.
Second, matching the other party’s emotional tone, or mirroring, has been shown to build rapport and cooperation (Niedenthal et al., 2005). By expressing empathy through body language or words, negotiators make the other feel heard and understood. This increases trust and willingness to compromise.
Third, selective use of anger or frustration can promote concessions under the right conditions (Van Kleef et al., 2004). Moderate negative emotion signals resolve over key issues without damaging the relationship. It provides information to help the other party make a more informed decision.
Finally, positive emotions foster creativity. When negotiators feel respected and understood, their prefrontal cortex is free to consider novel solutions rather than become defensive (Lelieveld et al., 2012). Empathy allows parties to see issues from new perspectives, expanding the range of potential agreements. In summary, emotion has informational and social benefits when constructively expressed and addressed in negotiation.
Strategies for Managing Emotions in Negotiation
Given the complex role of emotion, negotiators must develop strategies for constructively addressing feelings. First, parties should self-monitor how their emotions are affecting their thinking and behavior (Fisher et al., 2011). Taking a break when becoming too angry or frustrated allows cooling off before damage occurs.
Second, active listening conveys understanding of the other side’s perspective, even if one disagrees (Niedenthal et al., 2005). Asking respectful questions and paraphrasing what they said signals care for their priorities. This mitigates negative emotions.
Third, focusing on interests rather than positions keeps discussions interest-based and cooperative (Fisher et al., 2011). By inquiring into needs and concerns, parties can jointly brainstorm new options.
Fourth, using “I” statements to express feelings takes responsibility and avoids blaming the other side (Niedenthal et al., 2005). For example, “I feel frustrated when deadlines are missed” versus “You always miss deadlines.” The former preserves the relationship.
Finally, reframing issues in positive rather than negative terms shifts discussions to joint problem-solving (Lelieveld et al., 2012). For instance, emphasizing shared goals like a strong business relationship rather than conflicting demands. This constructive emotional approach facilitates agreement.
In conclusion, emotion plays a complex but important role in negotiation processes and outcomes. While strong negative emotions may delay or damage discussions, well-regulated feelings provide useful information and can even promote concessions. With strategies like self-monitoring, active listening, interest-based problem-solving, and reframing discussions positively, negotiators can leverage emotion’s benefits and minimize its hindrances to reach mutually agreeable solutions.
Fisher, R., Ury, W., & Patton, B. (2011). Getting to yes: Negotiating agreement without giving in (3rd ed.). Penguin Books.
Kopelman, S., Rosette, A. S., & Thompson, L. (2006). The three faces of Eve: Strategic displays of positive, negative, and neutral emotions in negotiations. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 99(1), 81–101. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.obhdp.2005.08.003
Lelieveld, G.-J., Van Dijk, E., Van Beest, I., & Van Kleef, G. A. (2012). Why anger and disappointment affect other’s bargaining behavior differently: The moderating role of power and the mediating role research paper writing service of reciprocal and complementary emotions. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 38(9), 1209–1221. https://doi.org/10.1177/0146167212449554
Niedenthal, P. M., Krauth-Gruber, S., & Ric, F. (2005). Psychology of emotion: Interpersonal, experiential, and cognitive approaches. Psychology Press.
Van Kleef, G. A. (2016). The interpersonal dynamics of emotion: Toward an integrative theory of emotions as social information. Cambridge University Press.
Van Kleef, G. A., De Dreu, C. K. W., & Manstead, A. S. R. (2004). The interpersonal effects of emotions in negotiations: A motivated information processing approach. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 87(4), 510–528. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-3518.104.22.1680