Being Tough or Being Nice?

Joachim Hüffmeier, University of Münster, Philipp Alexander Freund, Leuphana University Lüneburg, Alfred Zerres, Klaus Backhaus and Guido Hertel, all of University of Münster, published “Being Tough or Being Nice? A Meta-Analysis on the Impact of Hard- and Softline Strategies in Distributive Negotiations” on December 12th, 2011 in the Journal of Management. To view other OnlineFirst articles, please click here.

The abstract:

A meta-analysis (34 studies) is reported on the impact of hard- and softline bargaining strategies on economic (135 effect sizes) and socioemotional negotiation outcomes (30 effect sizes) in distributive negotiations. As expected, hardline strategies lead to higher economic outcomes, whereas softline strategies lead to higher socioemotional outcomes. Moreover, moderator variables are derived from the graduated reciprocation in tension-reduction model and the level of aspiration theory that are expected to qualify the relation of bargaining strategies and achieved economic outcomes. In accordance with this theoretical background, moderator analyses reveal that hardline negotiators gain the highest economic outcomes when visual contact is possible, when the opposing party is male, when negotiators are instructed to maximize individual outcomes, and when they know the bargaining zone. Also in line with the theoretical assumptions, softline negotiators gain the highest economic outcomes when they accurately reciprocate the opposing party’s concessionary behavior. Contrary to the predictions, softline bargaining does, however, not prevail when the risk and cost of impasses are high. Based on the reported findings, needs for future research and theory building are identified and discussed.

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