Team Alignment in Negotiation: The Impact of Intra- and Inter-Team Discussions

53 Pages Posted: 27 Jun 2011

See all articles by Roderick I. Swaab

Roderick I. Swaab


Tom Postmes

University of Exeter; Universiteit van Amsterdam (UVA)

Rachael Eggins

The Australian National University

Date Written: June 27, 2011


The present research examined how intra- and inter-team discussions prior to negotiations affect negotiation processes and outcomes. A Pilot Study showed that intra-team discussions motivate negotiators to understand the underlying interests more deeply (i.e. epistemic motivation), whereas inter-team discussions foster a greater concern for the counterpart (i.e. prosocial motivation). Experiment 1 showed that teams, independent of their power, achieved greater economic and social outcomes when they engaged in intra- and inter-team discussions instead of just one discussion format or none at all. In a multiparty setting, Experiment 2 showed why: intra-team discussions resulted in greater economic outcomes because they increased negotiators' understanding of the underlying interests, whereas inter-team discussions improved social outcomes because they encouraged cooperative behaviour. Experiment 3 examined the order in which both discussion formats are administered and found that an intra-team discussion, followed by an inter-team discussion resulted in better economic and social outcomes than a reverse order because it established greater alignment between negotiating teams.

Keywords: Team Negotiation, Alignment, Motivated Information Processing

Suggested Citation

Swaab, Roderick I. and Postmes, Tom and Eggins, Rachael, Team Alignment in Negotiation: The Impact of Intra- and Inter-Team Discussions (June 27, 2011). IACM 24TH Annual Conference Paper. Available at SSRN: or

Roderick I. Swaab (Contact Author)

INSEAD ( email )

Boulevard de Constance
77305 Fontainebleau Cedex

Tom Postmes

University of Exeter ( email )

Exeter EX4 4QX, Devon
United Kingdom

Universiteit van Amsterdam (UVA)

Spui 21
Amsterdam, 1018 WB

Rachael Eggins

The Australian National University ( email )

Canberra, Australian Capital Territory

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