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Avoid emotions during negotiations at workplace

Avoid emotions during negotiations at workplace
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Avoid Emotions During Negotiations At Workplace. Researchers have said that a business person in a negotiation should be careful about managing his or...

Researchers have said that a business person in a negotiation should be careful about managing his or her emotions as the person across the table is making inferences based on their facial expressions.

The study—a joint project between Peter Carnevale, professor of management and organization at USC's Marshall School of Business, and Celso M. de Melo, a postdoctoral research associate at Marshall, as well as colleagues at the USC Institute for Creative Technologies (ICT) and the Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences—illustrates the intricate role emotion plays in business interactions.

The study indicates that what you show on your face is as important as what you say in negotiation and what you do with your negotiation offers.

To test the impact that emotional expression can have on negotiations, researchers paired individuals with computer-generated images of an opposing negotiator in five related experiments.

Each featured a two-person task in which the payoffs for each player depended on the simultaneous choice of both players. If both players invested - cooperated - both earned money.

If neither player invested, neither earned money. And, if one player invested and the other player did not, the non-investor outperformed the investor by taking advantage of the investment without putting in any effort or money. This task represents a classic problem in interdependence and economic decision-making.

In one experiment, the image of the other player either smiled, expressing pleasure after cooperation, or frowned, signaling regret after exploitation. In other cases, it expressed pleasure after exploitation and regret after cooperation.

Carnevale and colleagues found that people cooperated significantly more with a computer counterpart that smiled when cooperating and expressing sorrow after exploiting the participant. In other words, the study results indicate that context can determine the meaning ascribed to a counterpart's emotional expression and subsequent reactions.

The study has been published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

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