The Effect of the Negotiator's Social Power as a Function of the Counterpart's Emotional Reactions in a Computer Mediated Negotiation
A negotiator’s own power and their counterpart’s emotional reaction to the negotiation both influence the outcome of negotiations. The present research addressed the question of their relative importance. On one hand, social power should be potent regardless of the other’s emotions. On the other hand, the counterpart’s emotional reactions inform about the ongoing state of the negotiation, and as such are more diagnostic than the more distal power cue. In a simulated computer mediated negotiation, 248 participants assumed the role of a vendor of computerized avionics test equipment and their objective was to negotiate the price, the warranty period, and the number of software updates that the buyer will receive free of charge. Participants negotiated the sale after being primed with either high or low power or not primed at all (control condition). They received information that their counterpart was either happy or angry or emotionally neutral. The findings showed that even though power was an important factor at the start of negotiations, the informative value of emotion information took precedence over time. This implies that emotional information may erase any advantage that counterparts have in a negotiation thanks to their higher social power.