Managing Anxiety in Negotiated Decision-Making
27 Pages Posted: 7 Feb 2002
Date Written: January 2002
In organizations of the new era, managing requires securing commitment to a course of action - i.e., negotiating - rather than using power to force compliance. Factoring in managers' emotional experience produces new insights about effective managerial negotiation. Traditional approaches to studying negotiation have largely overlooked emotion, instead emphasizing tactics and payoffs. Yet clinical psychologists and practicing managers know that anxiety, an emotion strongly shaped by personality and culture, is a major consideration because it affects negotiation success. This article shows that anxiety has different triggers in different people. For example, men tend to be anxious about "losing" in a transaction, women tend to be anxious about relationship damage, and Asians may be most anxious about losing face. The net result is the same: the manager experiences anxiety and reacts in ways that impair her or his effectiveness in the interaction. And, to the extent that the causes of the anxiety differ from case to case, so, too, must the intervention approaches be different. In sum, managers must be able to understand anxiety dynamics if they are to deal with them effectively.
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