Intragroup effects on intergroup negotiation


  • Revised version of a paper delivered at the plenary conference of the European Association of Experimental Social Psychology, Leuven, April 1972. The contributions (see references) of Nathan Kogan, Gisela Trommsdorff, and Margaret C. Hermannwithout whom this paper would not have been possible — are gratefully acknowledged. The author wishes to express his appreciation to Serge Moscovici for his help and encouragement in connection with this work. Acknowledgement is made to the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft who, - through the Sonderforschungsbereich 24 at the University of Mannheim, provided the - means for the writing of this paper.


The article is introduced by an analysis of how the effects of a negotiator's intragroup status (leader versus non-leader) on his negotiation performance (in particular, toughness) may be modified by such factors as the source of the status assignment (e.g., election versus imposition) and the presence and timing of position formation in the group. The accountability experienced by a negotiator vis à-vis his group is proposed as the central intervening variable mediating status effects on negotiation. In a series of (previously published) experiments, all using the same procedural paradigm — a prenegotiation, intragroup phase followed by intergroup negotiation among equal-status group delegates, the issues requiring a choice between higher and lower risk levels — some of the above variables and additional ones, were investigated. Overall, there was evidence of greater toughness among group-elected leaders (relative to non-leaders) and among subordinates (relative to imposed, ‚dictatorial' leaders). The latter effect obtained only when the negotiators were being continuously monitored by, and had to consult, their respective group partners during the negotiations. Results concerning risky shift (enhancement of risk acceptance through the negotiation discussions) are considered in the light of relevant theory.