Is There a Place for Sympathy in Negotiation? Finding Strength in Weakness

61 Pages Posted: 14 Aug 2016

See all articles by Aiwa Shirako

Aiwa Shirako

New York University (NYU)

Gavin Kilduff

New York University (NYU) - Department of Management and Organizational Behavior

Laura Kray

Berkeley-Haas Management of Organizations; UC Berkeley Haas School of Business

Date Written: August 12, 2016

Abstract

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

Shirako, Aiwa and Kilduff, Gavin and Kray, Laura, Is There a Place for Sympathy in Negotiation? Finding Strength in Weakness (August 12, 2016). Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2822510

Aiwa Shirako

New York University (NYU) ( email )

Bobst Library, E-resource Acquisitions
20 Cooper Square 3rd Floor
New York, NY 10003-711
United States

Gavin Kilduff (Contact Author)

New York University (NYU) - Department of Management and Organizational Behavior ( email )

44 West 4th Street
New York, NY 10012
United States

Laura Kray

Berkeley-Haas Management of Organizations ( email )

545 Student Services Building
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States

HOME PAGE: http://facultybio.haas.berkeley.edu/faculty-list/kray-laura

UC Berkeley Haas School of Business ( email )

545 Student Services Building, #1900
2220 Piedmont Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States

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