Understanding The Role Emotions Play In Negotiation

4288 words - 17 pages

Understanding the Role Emotions Play in NegotiationFisher and Ury (1991) state that in negotiation "feelings may be more important than talk." The authors go on to describe how in the Middle East emotions of both the Israelis and Palestinians are intense, because of how one perceives the other as a threat to their existence. These powerful emotions make even what seem to be a simple issue, like negotiating the distribution of water along the West Bank, "almost impossible to discuss and resolve". Both the emotional style and emotional intelligence of a negotiator have the potential to greatly affect the outcome of the negotiation itself. Emotional style is described by how a negotiator delivers the packages, or deals, he/she creates (Thompson, 2001). Emotional intelligence is defined as:the capacity for recognizing our own feelings and those of others, for motivating ourselves, and for managing emotions well in ourselves and in our relationships (Goleman, 1998).In this paper, I will outline the three basic emotional styles used in negotiations, along with the pros and cons of each. Then, I will expand on the relationship between emotions and negotiation by discussing the five dimensions of emotional intelligence and how they relate to the "art" of negotiation.Thompson (2001) outlines three distinct emotional styles of negotiation. The first style to discuss is the negative style. The focus of this style is to use "irrational-appearing emotions to intimidate or control the other party." The goal of a negotiator employing this style is to bully the other side into meeting their demands. A successful negative style negotiator is able to "induce fear in their opponent" that he/she would rather walk away empty handed, "than settle for anything less than desired" (Thompson, 2001). This style is most applicable to distributive negotiations that have little or no concern for maintaining the relationship.There are four main principles of psychology that explain why this style can be effective. The principle of "perceptual contrast" is the first reason why the negative style works (Thompson, 2001). For example, if someone places their hand in the snow, takes it out, and then places it under cold running tap water, they perceive the tap water to be much warmer than it actually is. Likewise, if a person makes an extreme initial offer, they are more likely to gain agreement to a smaller offer made later, because it seems much smaller to the other party. The next principle is called "escape behavior" (Thompson, 2001). An example of this principle is seen in the pressure that some parents feel to stop their child from crying. The parent is willing to do anything to pacify the child and escape the unpleasant sound. Similarly, many people dislike being around an negotiator they perceive to be a "loose cannon", and will be willing to agree to more of the negotiator's terms just to escape the uncomfortable situation. The escape behavior principle goes hand-in-hand...

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