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Signaling Dominance in Online Negotiations: The Role of Affective Tone

Authors

  • Liuba Y. Belkin,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Management, College of Business and Economics, Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA, U.S.A
    • Correspondence

      Liuba Y. Belkin, Department of Management, College of Business and Economics, Lehigh University, 621 Taylor St, Bethlehem, PA 18015, U.S.A.; e-mail: lyb207@lehigh.edu.

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  • Terri R. Kurtzberg,

    1. Department of Management and Global Business, Rutgers Business School, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ, U.S.A
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  • Charles E. Naquin

    1. Department of Management, Kellstadt Graduate School of Business, DePaul University, Chicago, IL, U.S.A
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  • The authors would like to thank the Martindale Center and the College of Business and Economics' Faculty Research Fund at Lehigh University for the financial support provided for this research.

Abstract

The present research looks at how people interpret power in negotiations based not just on control over objective resources but also on behavioral expressions of dominance as signaled through affective language in the limited-cues environment of electronically mediated communication. We further explore whether those interpretations of dominance shape negotiation outcomes. The results of an experiment, along with the linguistic analyses of the e-mail messages themselves, indicate that negative affective expressions (anger) online positively influence perceptions of dominance, while displays of positive affect (happiness) can signal the opposite, especially when coupled with low resource power. Moreover, we find that anger displays in e-mails can influence individual gains positively, while perceptions of dominance mediate the relationship between displays of happiness and individual outcomes. Implications are discussed.

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