The advantages of being unpredictable: How emotional inconsistency extracts concessions in negotiation

Marwan Sinaceur, Hajo Adam, Gerben Van Kleef, Adam D. Galinsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

29 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Integrating recent work on emotional communication with social science theories on unpredictability, we investigated whether communicating emotional inconsistency and unpredictability would affect recipients' concession-making in negotiation. We hypothesized that emotional inconsistency and unpredictability would increase recipients' concessions by making recipients feel less control over the outcome. In Experiment 1, dyads negotiated face-to-face after one negotiator within each dyad expressed either anger or emotional inconsistency by alternating between anger and happiness. In Experiment 2, participants received angry and/or happy messages from a simulated negotiation opponent. In Experiment 3, participants read a scenario about a negotiator who expressed either anger or emotional inconsistency by alternating between anger and disappointment. In all three experiments, emotional inconsistency induced recipients to make greater concessions compared to expressing a consistent emotion. Further, in all three experiments, the effect of emotional inconsistency was mediated by recipients' feeling less control. These findings qualify previous research on anger in negotiation and demonstrate the importance of feelings of control for negotiation outcomes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)498-508
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
Volume49
Issue number3
Early online date23 Jan 2013
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2013

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