Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Distance may be key in successful negotiations, new study shows

Date:
January 21, 2011
Source:
University of Texas at Austin
Summary:
Adding physical distance between people during negotiations may lead to more mutually beneficial outcomes, according to new research,

Adding physical distance between people during negotiations may lead to more mutually beneficial outcomes, according to new research from The University of Texas at Austin.

Psychologist Marlone Henderson examined how negotiations that don't take place in person may be affected by distance. He compared distant negotiators (several thousand feet away) with those who are nearby (a few feet away) in three separate studies. While much work has examined the consequences of different forms of non-face-to-face communication, previous research has not examined the effects of physical distance between negotiators independent of other factors. Henderson's findings will be published in the January issue of Journal of Experimental Social Psychology.

"People tend to concentrate on higher priority items when there is more distance between them by looking at issues in a more abstract way," says Henderson. "They go beyond just thinking about their pursuit of the options presented to them and consider higher-level motives driving their priorities."

For example, when a person is negotiating a new job, he or she might focus his or her behavior on securing health coverage, salary or more vacation time. If he or she sees the connection between behavior and overarching motives -- which might be supporting a family -- this will help determine priorities on the various issues.

In the first study, 52 University of Chicago undergraduate students engaged in a negotiation via text-exchange with another person who was described as being physically nearby or faraway. They were given the task of buying and selling a customized motorcycle and assigned preferences and priorities. Using an efficiency rating with a maximum score of 1,000, negotiators who thought they were far from each other earned 955 points compared to those nearby counterparts who scored 825. Points earned were based on levels of compromise on both high- and low-level priorities.

In the second study, 76 University of Texas at Austin undergraduate students were told to imagine that they and a stranger walk into a shopping mall at the same time, and a bell sounds just as a giant banner drops down that reads "One-Millionth Customer." Both would share gift sets from four different stores offering five different prizes, but they first must agree on what prize to select from each store. With a maximum score of 1,000, negotiators who thought they were far from each other scored 961 compared to the nearby negotiators who scored 895.

The same task was given to 114 University of Texas at Austin undergraduate students in a third study with slight modifications. Half the group was interrupted with an exercise designed to focus them on their high-level motives by asking them to think about why they wanted particular gift sets from each store. Among the control group, the distant group scored 922 and the nearby group scored 756. But for participants who were asked about their motives, the results were comparable, with the nearby group scoring 946 and the distant group scoring 887.

"When you guarantee that everybody is focused on their higher level motives, distance doesn't really matter as much," says Henderson. "However, when that doesn't happen, distance does matter because the nearby negotiators aren't naturally focusing on their higher level motives as much as the distant negotiators."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Texas at Austin. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Marlone D. Henderson. Mere physical distance and integrative agreements: When more space improves negotiation outcomes. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 2011; 47 (1): 7 DOI: 10.1016/j.jesp.2010.07.011

Cite This Page:

University of Texas at Austin. "Distance may be key in successful negotiations, new study shows." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 January 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110118122746.htm>.
University of Texas at Austin. (2011, January 21). Distance may be key in successful negotiations, new study shows. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110118122746.htm
University of Texas at Austin. "Distance may be key in successful negotiations, new study shows." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110118122746.htm (accessed July 24, 2014).

Share This




More Science & Society News

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Condemned Man's US Execution Takes Nearly Two Hours

Condemned Man's US Execution Takes Nearly Two Hours

AFP (July 24, 2014) America's death penalty debate raged Thursday after it took nearly two hours for Arizona to execute a prisoner who lost a Supreme Court battle challenging the experimental lethal drug cocktail. Duration: 00:55 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Bill Gates: Health, Agriculture Key to Africa's Development

Bill Gates: Health, Agriculture Key to Africa's Development

AFP (July 24, 2014) Health and agriculture development are key if African countries are to overcome poverty and grow, US software billionaire Bill Gates said Thursday, as he received an honourary degree in Ethiopia. Duration: 00:36 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
China's Ageing Millions Look Forward to Bleak Future

China's Ageing Millions Look Forward to Bleak Future

AFP (July 24, 2014) China's elderly population is expanding so quickly that children struggle to look after them, pushing them to do something unexpected in Chinese society- move their parents into a nursing home. Duration: 02:07 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

    Health News

      Environment News

        Technology News



          Save/Print:
          Share:

          Free Subscriptions


          Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

          Get Social & Mobile


          Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

          Have Feedback?


          Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
          Mobile: iPhone Android Web
          Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
          Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
          Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins