Role Effects in Negotiation: The One-Down Phenomenon

Authors

  • William A. Donohue,

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    1. Michigan State University
      William A. Donohue is distinguished professor of communication at Michigan State University. His e-mail address is donohue@msu.edu.
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  • Paul J. Taylor

    Corresponding author
    1. The University of Liverpool
      Paul J. Taylor is lecturer in psychology at The University of Liverpool. His e-mail address is pjtaylor@liv.ac.uk.
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William A. Donohue is distinguished professor of communication at Michigan State University. His e-mail address is donohue@msu.edu.

Paul J. Taylor is lecturer in psychology at The University of Liverpool. His e-mail address is pjtaylor@liv.ac.uk.

Abstract

Role is a concept that underlies most studies of human behavior in negotiation as subjects take on the roles of buyers and sellers or labor and management contract bargainers, for example Naturalistic studies also focus on such roles as teacher and administrator contract bargainers, hostage takers and hostage negotiators, Palestinian and Israeli peace negotiators, and husbands and wives in divorce mediations. This article examines these role effects and finds consistent patterns across both experimental and naturalistic contexts. Specifically, a “one-down effect” emerges when individuals in lower power roles assume more aggressive negotiation strategies that are significantly less effective in achieving desired outcomes. The article concludes by identifying the theoretical frameworks that might explain these role differences.

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