Characteristics of Skilled Negotiators: An Empirical Study

Filipe Azevedo Sobral
University of Coimbra – Faculty of Economics

Fernando Manuel Pereira de Oliveira Carvalho
Universidade de Coimbra – Faculty of Economics

IACM 15th Annual Conference


Negotiation is an activity with a critical importance in the competitive performance of companies. As consequence, managers need to possess and to continuously improve its negotiation skills and for that investigation should contribute with the identification of the variables that more decisively explain its performance. Our study tries to identify which of the individual characteristics of the negotiators have a more preponderant role in the negotiator performance in the business environment. We directed our study to the executives of the 500 larger Portuguese companies with two main objectives: first, to guarantee that the answers would belong to individuals with experience and knowledge in managerial and negotiation environment; and second, to frame the study in the managerial environment, with special emphasis in the negotiations that happen at the level of the administration of companies.

We received 231 valid answers that allowed us to identify, from a group of 52 characteristics, those distinguished as more important. Afterwards, we conducted a factor analysis to the results, which allowed us to identify fifteen dimensions of the negotiator profile: (1) preparation; (2) performance; (3) image; (4) demography; (5) cognitive complexity; (6) aggressiveness; (7) collaboration; (8) verbal communication; (9) perseverance; (10) expertise; (11) perspective taking; (12) non verbal communication; (13) defensiveness; (14) emotiveness; (15) competitiveness.

Characteristics of Skilled Negotiators- An Empirical Study

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