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Unpublished Paper
Contextual Primes, Trust and Negotiators’ Reactions to a Crisis
  • Daniel Druckman, George Mason University
  • Mara Olekalns, Melbourne Business School
Using a simulated bilateral negotiation over several security issues, we test the relationship between crises and turning points in negotiation. We explore how variations in the negotiation context influence negotiators’ reactions to an identical event – a crisis – during the negotiation. Negotiators were primed to focus on one of three features of the negotiating context (transaction costs, mutual dependence, shared identity) which we hypothesized would influence crisis-turning point relationship. In their roles as national representatives, negotiators in each condition were presented with a crisis and asked to decide whether to reach an immediate agreement, continue negotiating, or re-frame the issues. The results showed that high mutual dependence (unattractive alternatives) led to re-framing the negotiation (turning points) whereas high transaction costs led to a preference for continuing the negotiation. Shared identity did not affect negotiators preferences across alternative courses of action. Further analyses revealed that affective trust amplified the impact of dependence and transaction costs: the decision to re-frame was made more often by negotiators who reported low affective trust, whereas the decision to reach immediate agreement was made more often by negotiators who reported high affective trust. Finally, high cognitive trust encouraged negotiators to continue the negotiation if they had a shared identity or if transaction costs were high. These findings shed light on the conditions that shape interpretations of crises and the processes that lead to decisions. Implications are developed for analyses of real-world cases and suggestions are made for further research.
  • negotiation; re-framing; trust; turning points; transaction costs; power
Publication Date
Citation Information
Daniel Druckman and Mara Olekalns. "Contextual Primes, Trust and Negotiators’ Reactions to a Crisis" (2011)
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