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1 #63 A Critique of: Can Nervous Nelly Negotiate? How anxiety causes negotiators to make low first offers, exit early, and earn less profit. By A.Brooks and M.Schweitzer Paper found in a list cited on the webpage: Harriette Gwilt Newcastle University Date: 12 December 2015 I Harriette Gwilt declare that this assignment is my own work and that I have correctly acknowledged the work of others. This assignment is in accordance with University and School guidance on good academic conduct (and how to avoid plagiarism and other assessment irregularities). I give permission to have my work submitted to an electronic plagiarism checker, which will permanently store my work in a central database against which future work can be checked.

2 Overview In this paper, Brooks and Schweitzer [1] explore behaviours triggered by anxiety in financial negotiations and demonstrate the harmful outcome it can cause. To test their hypotheses, the authors induced incidental anxiety (using a video/audio clip) to subjects in 4 studies and compared the effects with neutral participants. Study 1 investigated the effect of anxiety on processes and outcomes in a phone tariff negotiation task. The 2nd investigated the link between anxiety and initial offers in a similar task to study 1. The 3rd study investigated the influence of anxiety in a bargaining situation (shrinking-pie game) and finally, study 4 explored the effect of negotiator self-efficacy as a moderator of anxiety relating to exit decisions in a shrinking-pie task. The results highlight the harmful effects of anxiety on negotiator performance. Financial decisions are often made in negotiations; these may be influenced by psychological factors such as loss aversion [2]. Further understanding of these may help reduce the debilitating effect of anxiety. In this critique I will provide strengths of the study, potential limitations and include some suggestions for future research. Critique Is the study s research question relevant? Negotiating is involved in a range of situations whether it is financial advisory negotiations, such as investment bankers negotiating with clients over merger deals, or personal financial goals such as negotiations between student housemates over which room they will have in their rental property for what price. For most people, high stake negotiations involve an array of intense emotions which can lead to irrational behaviour [3]; it is therefore relevant to conduct research which can lead to ways of controlling these emotions. Does the study add anything new? The influence of emotion on financial negotiation is a fairly neglected area of study. Previous research tends to focus on understanding negotiations [4]. Work that has been

3 written about the effect of emotion on negotiations tends to focus on the influence of anger or happiness [3, 5]. Despite this research being the first to study the effects of anxiety on negotiations, in the introduction, the authors refer to anxiety as one of the most ubiquitous negotiator emotions when actually there is no previous evidence to support this! Strengths of the method 1. Use of Randomized Controlled Trials (RCT s) provided strict control over extraneous variables meaning a causal relationship can be shown. All participants received the same instructions and were asked the same questions which controlled for any framing effects [6]. 2. Use of pilot studies to assess the effectiveness of the anxiety induction stimuli. These showed that as expected, mean ratings of anxiety were higher for anxiety stimuli, but more importantly ratings of other emotions did not differ between anxiety and neutral conditions. 3. Subjects were given a monetary reward for participating and were given the incentive that they could earn more depending on their decisions and the outcome of the negotiations. This increases the participant s motivation and is more like a real life scenario. 4. In study 3, the researchers used a within-subjects design (participants did the anxiety and neutral condition) enabling the researchers to directly measure the effect of anxiety on each individual. Limitations and bias of the method 1. All 4 studies used a computerised negotiation task which raises questions regarding the generalizability of the results to in person negotiations. Mood regulation has been shown to affect judgements [7]. There is evidence to suggest that your opponent s mood can influence the chosen negotiation strategy, likelihood of cooperation and competition [8]. Using a computer task prevents the participant from being aware of their opponent s mood which causes further concern with regards to the validity of the results. 2. The study does not explore the effect of directed anxiety (anxiety stemming from the

4 prospect of a difficult negotiation) which is probably a more common cause of anxiety in real life situations, hence the results are lacking in mundane realism. 3. The results are subject to a representativeness bias of sample size neglect [9]. The researchers presume that their small sample consisting of only students will reflect the parent population. This is also known as the law of small numbers [10] where the researchers over infer from a small set of results that the effect of anxiety is more extreme than it is. Use of statistical analyses Studies 1, 3, and 4 were analysed using ANOVA. This was the appropriate test to use on the data. A limitation in study 2 is that the authors report a significant difference between the initial offers of the anxiety vs. neutral groups but do not explicitly say which statistical test they used to draw this conclusion. Implications of the findings Any financial negotiator wants to make a profit. The psychological concept that losses resonate more than gains [2] may be prominent in financial decisions made during negotiations. Research has shown that aversions to losses can determine a negotiators decision during and afterwards [11]. Anxiety may enhance the tendency to be loss averse which is demonstrated in Brooks s study [1] by the earlier exit of subjects in the anxiety condition during the shrinking pie task. Another interesting point is that some research has shown women tend be more risk averse than men when making financial decisions [12], so future research could study gender differences in negotiations. Reciprocity is also important when negotiating; if others are behaving unfairly we are willing to punish them. This is demonstrated in the ultimatum game [13] which is similar to the shrinking pie task used in the present study [1]: for example, if the first player offers a split of $10 into $9 for himself and $1 for the other player, the other player will usually reject the offer based on fairness even though they would make a profit if they accepted. The

5 concept of fairness may be moderated by anxiety, causing anxious negotiators to agree to unfair decisions in order to gain an early exit. On the other hand, overconfidence coupled with optimism may be useful in reducing the harmful effects of anxiety supported by the results of study 4 in Brooks s paper [1]. There is further evidence that overconfidence may not be an impairing characteristic in a negotiation situation [14] unlike its debilitating effects in situations such as overestimating one s driving ability [15]. Future research could investigate loss aversion, reciprocity and overconfidence in specific relation to negotiations. The results of study 4 [1] suggest that negotiator self-efficacy boosts performance in negotiations. This could be further investigated in a student environment by providing one group with a negotiation training course prior to a negotiation task and compare their performance to a group who are not given training. This may help to reveal the importance of practice and training in negotiations. It may also be worth implementing a personality questionnaire to see if any results could be attributed to personality types. Future research outside the student community needs to incorporate a wider age range of participants and create a scenario where anxiety is a direct result of the negotiation. Conclusions Despite the positive results of this study there still remains a considerable lack of research into the effects of anxiety on negotiation tasks. Wheeler et al. [16] suggest a lack of control, unpredictability and absence of feedback cause negotiation anxiety- they emphasise preparation as the key to controlling anxiety. Overall this article provides a strong basis for further research to be done because the results provide a causal relationship between anxiety and negotiation performance in all four studies. A final point to consider for future research is that anxiety may be useful in negotiations to allow careful planning, but once it passes a certain point it becomes harmful- this is demonstrated by the Yerkes Dodson effect [17].

6 References 1. Brooks, A., & Schweitzer, M. (2011). Can Nervous Nelly negotiate? How anxiety causes negotiators to make low first offers, exit early, and earn less profit. Organizational Behaviour and Human Decision Processes, 115, Cox, M. (2013). Distortions in deriving preferences: Loss Aversion. Lecture#3, slide Adler, R., & Silverstein, E. (1998). Emotions in Negotiation: How to Manage Fear and Anger. Negotiation Journal, 14, 2, Bednar, D., & Curington, W. (1983). Interaction Analysis: A Tool for Understanding Negotiations. Industrial and Labor Relations Review, 36, 3, Sinaceur, M., & Tiedens, L. (2006). Get mad and get more than even: When and why anger expression is effective in negotiations. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 42, 3, Cox, M. (2013). Framing effects: reference point. Lecture#4, slide1. 7. Cox, M. (2013). Mood Regulation. Lecture#2, slide Forgas, J. (1998). On feeling good and getting your own way: mood effects on negotiator cognition and bargaining strategies. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 74, 3, Cox, M. (2013). Beliefs- Sample Size Neglect. Lecture#1, slide Rabin, M. (2002). Inference by believers in the law of small numbers. Quarterly Journal of Economics, 117, 3, Gimpel, H. (2007). Loss Aversion and Reference-Dependent Preferences in Multi- Attribute Negotiations. Group Decision and Negotiation, 16, 4, Donkers, B., & Van Soest, A. (1999). Subjective Measures of Household Preferences and Financial Decisions. Journal of Economic Psychology, 20 6,

7 Cox, M. (2013). Reciprocity and Attribution. Lecture#3, slide Lim, R, G. (1997). Overconfidence in negotiation revisited. International Journal of Conflict Management, 8, 1, Cox, M (2013) Judgement Biases- Optimism. Lecture#2, slide Leary, K., Pillemer J., & Wheeler, M. (2013). Negotiating with Emotion. Harvard Business Review, 91, 1, Broadhurst, P, L. (1957). Emotionality and the Yerkes-Dodson Law. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 54, 5,

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