Silence is Golden: Extended Silence, Deliberative Mindset, and Value Creation in Negotiation

Curhan, J. R., Overbeck, J. R., Cho, Y., Zhang, T., Yang, Y. (2020). Silence is golden: Extended silence, deliberative mindset, and value creation in negotiation. Journal of Applied Psychology, Forthcoming

54 Pages Posted: 3 Feb 2021

See all articles by Jared R. Curhan

Jared R. Curhan

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

Jen Overbeck

University of Melbourne - Melbourne Business School

Yeri Cho

University of La Verne

Teng Zhang

Penn State Harrisburg

Yu Yang

ShanghaiTech University - School of Entrepreneurship and Management

Date Written: November 30, 2020

Abstract

We examine the previously unstudied effects of silent pauses in bilateral negotiations. Two theoretical perspectives are tested—(1) an internal reflection perspective, whereby silence leads to a deliberative mindset, which in turn prompts value creation, and (2) a social perception perspective, whereby silence leads to intimidation and value claiming. Study 1 reveals a direct correlation between naturally-occurring silent pauses lasting at least 3 seconds (extended silence) and value creation behaviors and outcomes. Study 2 shows that instructing one or both parties to use extended silence leads to value creation. Additional studies establish a mechanism for this effect, whereby negotiators who use extended silence show evidence of greater deliberative mindset (Study 3) and a reduction in fixed-pie perceptions (Study 4), both of which are associated with value creation. Taken together, our findings are consistent with the internal reflection perspective, whereby extended silence increases value creation by interrupting default, fixed-pie thinking and fostering a more deliberative mindset. Findings of Study 3 also suggest a boundary condition whereby when status differences are salient, the use of silence by higher-status parties leads to value creation, whereas the use of silence by lower-status parties does not. Finally, Study 4 shows that instructing negotiators to use silence is more effective for value creation than instructing them to problem-solve. Challenging the social perception perspective that silence is a form of intimidation, we find no evidence for any associations between extended silence and the proportion of value claimed or subjective value of the counterpart.

Keywords: silence, integrative negotiation, bargaining, value creation, deliberative mindset, negotiation, nonverbal behavior, communication, system 1, system 2

Suggested Citation

Curhan, Jared R. and Overbeck, Jen and Cho, Yeri and Zhang, Teng and Yang, Yu, Silence is Golden: Extended Silence, Deliberative Mindset, and Value Creation in Negotiation (November 30, 2020). Curhan, J. R., Overbeck, J. R., Cho, Y., Zhang, T., Yang, Y. (2020). Silence is golden: Extended silence, deliberative mindset, and value creation in negotiation. Journal of Applied Psychology, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3740110

Jared R. Curhan (Contact Author)

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)

Jen Overbeck

University of Melbourne - Melbourne Business School ( email )

200 Leicester Street
Carlton, Victoria 3053 3186
Australia

Yeri Cho

University of La Verne ( email )

1950 Third Street
La Verne, CA 91750
United States

Teng Zhang

Penn State Harrisburg ( email )

Yu Yang

ShanghaiTech University - School of Entrepreneurship and Management ( email )

100 Haike Rd
Pudong Xinqu, Shanghai
China

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
48
Abstract Views
985
PlumX Metrics