Is There a Place for Sympathy in Negotiation? Finding Strength in Weakness
61 Pages Posted: 14 Aug 2016
Date Written: August 12, 2016
Across five studies, we investigate the use of appeals to the moral emotion of sympathy in negotiations. We find that negotiators who actively appeal to the sympathy of their counterparts achieve improved outcomes, both in terms of distributive value claiming as well as integrative value creation. We also compare the effects of sympathy appeals to appeals based on rationality and fairness, and find that sympathy appeals are generally the most effective. These results, then, suggest that negotiators with certain sources of weakness may actually benefit from revealing their weakness, if doing so elicits sympathy in their counterparts. We also explore negotiator power as a possible boundary condition to sympathy appeals. Relative to low power negotiators, we find that high power negotiators’ sympathy appeals are seen as more inappropriate and manipulative, and may damage the negotiators’ relationship going forward.
Keywords: Sympathy, Negotiation, Emotions, Power
JEL Classification: A00
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation