Whether anger impacts negotiation outcomes depends on ethnicity of negotiator

May 7th, 2013 by Amy Hodges in Other Sciences / Social Sciences

(Phys.org) —It's said you should never go to bed angry, but what about to the negotiation table? Researchers at Rice University and New York University suggest that ethnic backgrounds can influence the effectiveness of expressing anger in negotiations. In a series of studies, the researchers found that angry individuals of East Asian descent are perceived as tougher negotiators than their angry European-American counterparts, and consequently elicit greater cooperation at the negotiation table.

"There's no denying it—emotions play a very important role in negotiations," said Hajo Adam, visiting assistant professor of management at Rice's Jones Graduate School of Business. "However, no prior research has investigated how the cultural background of the emotion expresser impacts the negotiation results."

Results from four studies revealed that angry negotiators are perceived as tougher and more threatening when they are of East Asian rather than European-American descent, despite the fact that both parties are perceived as equally angry. As a result, parties in a negotiation are more likely to make concessions to angry East Asian counterparts than to angry European-American counterparts.

Other findings:

Adam said he hopes the research will add to the body of literature on the interplay of culture and emotions in social interactions, especially as places of employment grow more diverse and rely more on interpersonal communication.

"The workplace is an increasingly diverse place, and it has changed dramatically in recent years," Adam said. "More and more, employees must interact with their fellow workers and other company stakeholders from different cultures, and emotions play a huge role in negotiating this interpersonal dynamic."

Details on the study procedures:

The paper, "Not All Anger is Created Equal: The Impact of the Expresser's Culture on the Social Effects of Anger in Negotiations," was co-authored by Aiwa Shirako, visiting professor of management and organizations at New York University, and is available online at http://bit.ly/101HGTI.

Provided by Rice University

"Whether anger impacts negotiation outcomes depends on ethnicity of negotiator." May 7th, 2013. http://phys.org/news/2013-05-anger-impacts-outcomes-ethnicity.html