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Disparaging Emotions In Negotiation - Emotion & Negotiation Go Hand in Hand


Abstract - We always hear that conflicts arouse between family members, friends, within organizations, within groups within nations… but there is only solution to all these conflicts i.e., negotiation, not only in solving the issue but to solve it in the eyes of the concerned parties too. Negotiations are badly affected by our emotions, mood, temperament & the situations in which the conflicts arise. The main factor that accelerates conflict or differences is our negative emotions regarding the issues or the parties concerned. Disparaging emotions in Negotiation - "Love & Negotiation makes the world go round. At the bottom of a situation, when you break it down, It’s all about love & negotiation.”

Before moving to this article one should know what are emotions and negotiations and how these two are related to each other…

Emotions - achievable - For many of us emotions are very personal states, difficult to define or to identify except in the most obvious instances. Moreover, many aspects of emotions seem unconscious to us. Even simple emotional states appear to be much more complicated than states like hunger and thirst. The word emotion includes a wide range of observable behaviors, expressed feelings, and changes in the body state.

To clarify the concept of emotions, three aspects of emotions can be taken into consideration:

1. Emotion is a feeling that is private and subjective. Humans can report an extraordinary range of states, which they can feel or experience.

2. Emotion is a state of psychological arousal - an expression or display of distinctive somatic and autonomic responses. This emphasis suggests that emotional states can be defined by particular constellations of bodily responses.

3. Emotions are actions commonly "deemed", such as defending or attacking in response to a threat. Thus emotion is a mixture of ones feelings, psychological arousal and actions that one performs in his or her life.

Emotions are an unavoidable part of human beings. And, are a part of every negotiation. When we recognize that someone else is interfering in achieving our goals or preventing us from getting what we want, emotions often spring forth. Conflict becomes an inevitable result. Thus it is perceived by threats or signs of disrespect which cause emotions to blaze. The intensity of the emotion connotes its importance to us. Thus the more important the situation & the stronger we feel about it, the more likely it is that the conflict can turn destructive.

Negotiation- Negotiating is the process of getting the best terms once the other side starts to act on their interest. Mark H. Mc Cormack - Negotiation is a basic means of getting what you want from others.

Getting to say Yes by Robert Fisher & William Ury According to Nierenberg “Negotiation depends on communication… negotiation can be considered an element of human behavior….dealt with by both the traditional and the new behavioral sciences, from history, jurisprudence, economics, sociology and psychology to cybernetics, general semantics, game and decision making theory and general semantics, the full scope of negotiation is to broad to be confined to one or even a group of the existing behavioral sciences” The entire situation in negotiation is bounded with emotions associated with mood, temperament, personality & disposition. The negotiation itself is a careful exploration of your position and the other person’s position, with the goal of finding a mutually acceptable compromise that gives you both as much of what you want as possible.

Emotion & Negotiation go hand in hand - Emotions are often part of the group of intangible needs we have in a negotiation. During negotiations, the decision as to whether or not to settle rests in part on emotional factors. Emotions have the potential to play either a positive or negative role in negotiation. People often behave in certain ways as a direct result of their emotional state, such as crying, fighting or fleeing. When emotions are positive it increases the chances for reaching agreement very soon. Negotiators experiencing positive emotions during the process use less aggressive tactics & more creative, show respect for other’s perspectives & even improved cognitive ability. Those who experience empathy tend to facilitate & improve communication as well. Conversely negative feelings have a damaging impact. And, the process itself can create or increase the bad feelings if rudeness or misrepresentation or challenges to our authority is perceived….resulting in one party becoming antagonistic or wanting revenge for the perceived slights. These feelings can obstruct discussion & make it difficult to proceed in a constructive way. The two most common negative emotions that impact negotiation are anger & fear.


Anger disrupts negotiations in 3 ways. * Causes a loss of trust thus clouding our objectives. * Narrow the focus from broader topics to the anger-producing behaviors & * Misdirects the goal from reaching agreement to getting even. It is important to deal with anger directly & constructively. Fear can come from feeling overwhelmed, unprepared or surprised. * Feeling the fear is one thing, showing it is another. * Recognize that fear is a natural response & use the heightened awareness that it brings. But never show it!! * Practice projecting confidence.

Fake it till you make it…. Our emotions get in our way regularly. Nothing kills creativity quicker than our anger, pride, embarrassment, envy, greed, or other strong negative emotion. Anger is often an expression of fear, or lack of confidence in our ability to get want we think we want. Anger is very much self centered. Emotional outbursts tend to escalate rather than solve a conflict.

As we practice creative negotiation, faith in our ability to turn challenges into opportunities will increase. This self-confidence will help us focus on problem solving and reduce the chances of falling back on contention, negative emotion or competitive negotiation. Your browser may not support display of this image.

Emotion in negotiation - Emotions play an important part in the negotiation process. Emotions have the potential to play either a positive or negative role in negotiation. During negotiations, the decision as to whether or not to settle rests in part on emotional factors. Negative emotions can cause intense and even irrational behavior, and can cause conflicts to escalate and negotiations to break down, but may be instrumental in attaining concessions.

On the other hand, positive emotions often facilitate reaching an agreement and helps to maximize joint gains, but can also be instrumental in attaining concessions. Positive and negative discrete emotions can be strategically displayed to influence task and relational outcomes and may play out differently across cultural boundaries. Emotion’s Positive affect in negotiation Even before the negotiation process starts, people in a positive mood have more confidence and higher tendencies to plan to use a cooperative strategy.

During the negotiation, negotiators who are in a positive mood tend to enjoy the interaction more, show less contentious behavior, use less aggressive tactics and more cooperative strategies. This in turn increases the likelihood that parties will reach their instrumental goals, and enhance the ability to find integrative gains. Indeed, compared with negotiators with negative or natural affectivity, negotiators with positive affectivity reached more agreements and tended to honor those agreements more. Those favorable outcomes are due to better decision making processes, such as flexible thinking, creative problem solving, respect for others' perspectives, willingness to take risks and higher confidence. Post negotiation positive affect has beneficial consequences as well. It increases satisfaction with achieved outcome and influences one’s desire for future interactions.

The PA (Positive affectivity) and NA (Negative affectivity) aroused by reaching an agreement facilitates the dyadic relationship, which result in affective commitment that sets the stage for subsequent interactions. PA also has its drawbacks: it distorts perception of self performance, such that performance is judged to be relatively better than it actually is. Thus, studies involving self reports on achieved outcomes might be biased.

Emotion’s Negative affect in negotiation Negative affect has detrimental effects on various stages in the negotiation process. Although various negative emotions affect negotiation outcomes, by far the most researched is anger. Angry negotiators plan to use more competitive strategies and to cooperate less, even before the negotiation starts. These competitive strategies are related to reduce joint outcomes. During negotiations, anger disrupts the process by reducing the level of trust, clouding parties' judgment, narrowing parties' focus of attention and changing their central goal from reaching agreement to retaliating against the other side. Angry negotiators pay less attention to opponent’s interests and are less accurate in judging their interests, thus achieve lower joint gains. Moreover, because anger makes negotiators more self-centered in their preferences, it increases the likelihood that they will reject profitable offers.

Anger doesn’t help in achieving negotiation goals either: it reduces joint gains and does not help to boost personal gains, as angry negotiators don’t succeed in claiming more for them. Moreover, negative emotions leads to acceptance of settlements that are not in the positive utility function but rather have a negative utility.

However, expression of negative emotions during negotiation can sometimes be beneficial: legitimately expressed anger can be an effective way to show one's commitment, sincerity, and needs. Moreover, although NA reduces gains in integrative tasks, it is a better strategy than PA in distributive tasks (such as zero-sum). Conditions for emotional affect Research indicates that negotiator’s emotions do not necessarily affect the negotiation process. Albarracin et al. (2003) suggested that there are two conditions for emotional affect, both related to the ability (presence of environmental or cognitive disturbances) and the motivation:

1. Identification of the affect: requires high motivation, high ability or both.

2. Determination that the affect is relevant and important for the judgment: requires that the motivation, the ability or both are low. According to this model, emotions are expected to affect negotiations only when one is high and the other is low. When both ability and motivation are low the affect will not be identified, and when both are high the affect will be identify but discounted as irrelevant for judgment. The effect of the partner’s emotions Most studies on emotions in negotiation focus on the effect of the negotiator’s own emotions on the process.

However, what the other party feels might be just as important, as group emotions are known to affect processes both at the group and the personal levels. When it comes to negotiations, trust in the other party is a necessary condition for its emotion to affect, and visibility enhances the effect. Emotions contribute to negotiation processes by signaling what one feels and thinks and can thus prevent the other party from engaging in destructive behaviors and to indicate what steps should be taken next. Partner’s emotions can have two basic effects on negotiator’s emotions and behavior: mimetic/ reciprocal or complementary. For example, disappointment or sadness might lead to compassion and more cooperation. In a study by Butt et al. (2005) which simulated real multi-phase negotiation, most people reacted to the partner’s emotions in reciprocal, rather than complementary, manner.

Specific emotions were found to have different effects on the opponent’s feelings and strategies chosen: * Anger caused the opponents to place lower demands and to concede more in a zero-sum negotiation, but also to evaluate the negotiation less favorably. It provoked both dominating and yielding behaviors of the opponent.

* Pride led to more integrative and compromise strategies by the partner.

* Guilt or regret expressed by the negotiator led to better impression of him by the opponent, however it also led the opponent to place higher demands. On the other hand, personal guilt was related to more satisfaction with what one achieved.

* Worry or disappointment left bad impression on the opponent, but led to relatively lower demands by the opponent. Conclusion… Emotions always play an important role in negotiation …. Without emotions we individual couldn’t survive in this rationale world…….. Negotiations reduces our conflict and bring certain positive solutions which is acceptable to everyone & everywhere, it’s just not coming or getting the issue solved but it should be solved in the eyes of the concerned people too………..Emotions are disparaging in negotiation & it would even create war like situation when hasn’t tackled properly at right time and at right place…..We human could not survive without the people surrounding us so why not to handle the situation in a more healthy and good sense through application of positive negotiations in all our dealings and concerns….. He who has learned to disagree without being disagreeable has discovered the most valuable secret of a diplomat- Robert Estabrook

Contributed By: Sonalee Srivastava, Lecturer, School of Management Sciences, Khushipur, PO: Bachhaon (NH-2 Bypass) VARANASI - 221011

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