How Do Negotiators and Context Interact?
When people need to reach a joint decision but have different preferences,
The cognitive approach represented by Max Bazerman focus on the situational factors that influence negotiation. Bazerman and colleagues' research address a number of deviations from rationality that can be expected in negotiations. For example, they suggest that in two-party negotiations the negotiators tend to be inappropriately affected by the positive or negative frame in which risks are viewed, they tend to over rely on readily available information, and be overconfident about the likelihood of attaining outcomes that favor themselves.
The other approach looks at the stable traits of individuals and groups and argues that individual differences like personality and group variations like cultural orientation make difference in the negotiators' behavior. For example, some researchers found that extravert people tend to give in more in zero sum negotiations. People from collectivist cultures, like Chinese and Japanese, tend to adopt a style that avoids confrontation while individualists like the Americans tend to use a more direct style to communicate during negotiations.
In this dissertation, I propose to study negotiation from a holistic
perspective where the situational factors and stable trait factors influence
each other simultaneously. Theoretical bases for this proposition are
interactionism and Gestalt psychology.
Gestalt psychology emphasizes a holistic approach rather than examining
social situations piece by piece. The following characteristics make negotiators'
psychological processing fits the principles of Gestalt psychology:
Connectionist models offer a computational methodology to empirically test the proposed interactions. Largely used in computer science and artificial intelligence, connectionist models embrace the idea that information processing arises from the interactions of large numbers of simple neuron-like units. More importantly, no single neuron in the human brain does its job alone, and neural networks decide things collectively and simultaneously rather than just in sequence. Connectionist models can approximate the kind of spontaneous, creative, and somewhat unpredictable behavior of human beings.
Social psychologists have used connectionist models to study group impression, person perception, stereotyping, and causal attribution. Here I adopt a connectionist analysis and discuss the application in understanding negotiation. Based on connectionist models, I would use computerized simulations to test the interactions of individual characteristics and contextual factors in negotiation. Further, a negotiation simulation with human subjects will also be used to confirm results from computerized experiments.
From this dissertation, I contribute to the negotiation research in two
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