Psychological Influence in Negotiation: An Introduction Long Overdue

Deepak K. MalhotraDeepak K. Malhotra

Harvard Business School – Negotiation, Organizations & Markets Unit

Max H. Bazerman
Harvard Business School – Negotiations, Organizations and Markets Unit

January 28, 2008

Harvard Business School NOM Working Paper No. 08-058

This paper discusses the causes and consequences of the (surprisingly) limited extent to which social influence research has penetrated the field of negotiation, and then presents a framework for bridging the gap between these two literatures. The paper notes that one of the reasons for its limited impact on negotiation research is that extant research on social influence focuses almost exclusively on economic or structural levers of influence. With this in mind, the paper seeks to achieve five objectives: Define the domain of psychological influence as consisting of those tactics which do not require the influencer to change the economic or structural aspects of the bargaining situation in order to persuade the target; Review prior research on behavioral decision making to identify ideas that may be relevant to the domain of psychological influence; Provide a series of examples of how behavioral decision research can be leveraged to create psychological influence tactics for use in negotiation; Consider the other side of influence, i.e., how targets of influence might defend against the tactics herein considered; and Consider some of the ethical issues surrounding the use of psychological influence in negotiation.

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