Weep and get more : When and why sadness expression is effective innegotiations

in Journal of Applied Psychology, 100 (6)

ISSN : 0021-9029

Sinaceur, Marwan ; Kopelman, Shirli ; Vasiljevic, Dimitri ; Haag, Christophe (1979-....)

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Although recently some research has been accumulated on emotional expressions in negotiations, there is little research on whether expressing sadness could have any effect in negotiations. We propose that sadness expressions can increase the expressers’ ability to claim value in negotiations because they make recipients experience greater other-concern for the expresser. However, only when the social situation provides recipients with reasons to experience concern for the expresser in the first ... place, will recipients act on their other-concern and, eventually, concede more to a sad expresser. Three experiments tested this proposition by examining face-to-face, actual negotiations (in which participants interacted with each other). In all 3 experiments, recipients conceded more to a sad expresser when, but only when, features of the social situation provided reasons to experience other-concern for the expresser, namely (a) when recipients perceived the expresser as low power (Experiment 1), (b) when recipients anticipated a future interaction (Experiment 1), (c) when recipients construed the relationship as collaborative in nature (Experiment 2), or (d) when recipients believed that it was inappropriate to blame others (Experiment 3). All 3 experiments showed that the positive effect of sadness expression was mediated by the recipients’ greater other-concern. These findings extend previous research on emotional expressions in negotiations by emphasizing a distinct psychological mechanism. Implications for our understanding of sadness, negotiations, and emotions are discussed.

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