Who Makes an Effective Negotiator? A Personality-Theoretic Approach to a Longstanding Question

64 Pages Posted: 10 Oct 2017

See all articles by Hillary Anger Elfenbein

Hillary Anger Elfenbein

Washington University in St. Louis, Olin School of Business

Jared R. Curhan

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management

Noah Eisenkraft

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill - Management-Organizational Behavior Area

Ashley D. Brown

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Date Written: October 9, 2017

Abstract

This research takes a new perspective on the longstanding mystery of personality in negotiation, which has been met with decades of null and inconsistent findings. Grounded in interactionist theories of personality, the investigation had two complementary phases. In the inductive phase (Study 1), the authors generated a list of fine-grained negotiation behavioral processes that have been explored in past work, and established which ones were consistent at the individual level from one encounter to the next. Examining the consistent behaviors that predicted negotiation performance, a major theme emerged: Asserting the Self. The deductive phase (Study 2) brought the investigation full circle into the realm of personality traits. Grounded in the inductive theme that emerged in Study 1, a cluster of lower-order personality factors was chosen, and these thematically-related traits were unusually strong predictors of negotiation performance. The higher-order big five personality traits were not similarly good predictors. We conclude that there are meaningful associations between personality and negotiation performance, particularly when examining theoretically-derived clusters of traits based on the behaviors that are both effective and consistent across individuals.

Keywords: Personality, Traits, Negotiation, Bargaining, Assertiveness

Suggested Citation

Elfenbein, Hillary Anger and Curhan, Jared R. and Eisenkraft, Noah and Brown, Ashley D., Who Makes an Effective Negotiator? A Personality-Theoretic Approach to a Longstanding Question (October 9, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3050185 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3050185

Hillary Anger Elfenbein (Contact Author)

Washington University in St. Louis, Olin School of Business ( email )

One Brookings Drive
Campus Box 1133
St. Louis, MO 63130-4899
United States

Jared R. Curhan

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management ( email )

50 Memorial Drive, E52-554
Cambridge, MA 02142
United States
617-253-5219 (Phone)
617-253-2660 (Fax)

Noah Eisenkraft

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill - Management-Organizational Behavior Area ( email )

United States

Ashley D. Brown

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) ( email )

77 Massachusetts Avenue
50 Memorial Drive
Cambridge, MA 02139-4307
United States

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