Eliciting Cooperation with Communication: Negotiating with the Millennial Generation
12 Pages Posted: 26 Jun 2011
Date Written: June 25, 2011
Communication is a critical component for successful negotiations (Balliet, 2010; Bazerman, Curhan, Moore, & Valley, 2000; Valley, Moag, & Bazerman, 1998). Researchers have looked at the effectiveness of communication media in negotiations (Bazerman, Curhan, Moore & Valley, 2000; Thompson & Nadler, 2002; Valley et al. 1998). As individuals change their natural communicating means, the relative effectiveness of different media is also likely to change (Fulk & DeSanctis, 1995; Prensky, 2001; Wellman, 2001). For the Millennial Generation this suggests that short digital messaging is a stronger form of communication than face-to-face discussion (Bryant, Sanders-Jackson and Smallwood, 2006; Godwin-Jones, 2005; Mckenna, Green, & Gleason, 2002; Valkenburg & Peter, 2007). Thus, although the existing literature indicates that in-person communication will elicit more cooperative behavior than written communication (Balliet 2010; Valley et al. 1998), I hypothesize that for younger populations, technological communication is more effective in eliciting cooperation between the negotiating parties than in-person discussions.
I test this hypothesis using results from an in-class negotiation game and conclude that Millennial Generation students who played this game are more likely to cooperate when discussing joint strategy through short computer-based texts than they are to cooperate when they discuss the strategy in-person. This analysis suggests that Millennials who want to encourage cooperation in negotiations should consider online discussions a viable and even preferable mode of communication.
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