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Effects of Mood and Emotion in Negotiation

7. What is the effect of mood and emotion in negotiations?

Negotiations create and are affected by positive and negative emotions. For example, a cognitive assessment of a “good outcome” leads parties to feel happy and satisfied. Negative emotions, on the other hand, can result from being turned off by the other party, feeling bad about the development of the negotiation process and the progress being made, or disliking the results.

Positive emotions generally have positive consequences for negotiations. They are more likely to lead the parties toward more integrative processes; to create a positive attitude toward the other side; to promote persistence in addressing issues and concerns in the negotiation; and to set the stage for successful subsequent negotiations. Positive emotions frequently result from procedural aspects of the negotiation process, such as fair procedures during negotiation or favorable social comparisons.

Negative emotions generally have negative consequences for negotiations. They may lead parties to define the situation as competitive or distributive; undermine a negotiator’s ability to analyze the situation accurately, which adversely affects individual outcomes; lead parties to escalate the conflict; or lead parties to retaliate and may thwart integrative outcomes. Procedural aspects of the negotiation (such as running into an impasse, or the anxiety of beginning a negotiation) can give rise to negative emotions, such as a competitive mind-set.

The above statements regarding emotion in negotiation are certainly not always true. Positive feelings may have negative consequences and negative feelings may create positive outcomes. A negotiator must be able to recognize and evaluate the effect of emotions on herself and the other party. Emotions can be used strategically as negotiation gambits. Given the power that emotions may have in swaying the other side toward one’s own point of view, emotions may also be used strategically and manipulatively as influence tactics within a negotiation. Negotiators may also engage in the regulation or management of the emotions of the other party.

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