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  • Writer's pictureAlan Jacobs

Your Attitude Makes a Difference!

Many people consider negotiations to be stressful and threatening. Others view them as challenges to be overcome. Do these different attitudes in negotiation influence the outcomes that people reach?


In this blog post by the staff at Harvard’s Program on Negotiation discusses research by professors Kathleen M. O’Connor of Cornell University and Josh A. Arnold of California State University that showed that your attitude towards and in a negotiation does make a difference. It turns out that having a positive attitude (along with high expectations) towards and in a negotiation will indeed affect the results, leading to a better result.


"The researchers examined the outcomes achieved by the study of participants who placed themselves in one of the two categories. When talks had integrative potential (also called a win-win situation), participants who viewed negotiation as a challenge were better at identifying and capturing opportunities to expand the pie than were those who viewed it as a threat. But in purely distributive (win-lose) negotiations, no significant difference in outcomes existed between the ‘threat’ and ‘challenge’ groups.


So, there are two points to be gleaned here: engage in interest based, or win-win negotiations, whenever possible, and be optimistic viewing the negotiation as a challenge (and not as a threat). You will end up with a much better result!

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