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Promoting integrative bargaining: mental contrasting with implementation intentions

Dan Kirk (Psychology Department, New York University, New York, New York, USA)
Gabriele Oettingen (Psychology Department, New York University, New York, New York, USA, and University of Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany)
Peter M. Gollwitzer (Psychology Department, New York University, New York, New York, USA, and University of Konstanz, Konstanz, Germany)

International Journal of Conflict Management

ISSN: 1044-4068

Article publication date: 19 April 2013

Abstract

Purpose

The present experiment aimed to test the impact of a self‐regulatory strategy of goal pursuit – called mental contrasting with implementation intentions (MCII) – on an integrative bargaining task.

Design/methodology/approach

Participants were randomly assigned to dyads and negotiated over the sale of a car. Before negotiating, participants were prompted to engage in MCII, or one or the other of its two component strategies: to contrast mentally achieving success in the integrative bargaining task with the reality standing in the way of this success (MC), to form implementation intentions on how to bargain (i.e. if‐then plans) (II), or both to contrast mentally and form implementation intentions (MCII).

Findings

The strategy of mental contrasting with implementation intentions led dyads to reach the largest joint agreements, compared to dyads that only used mental contrasting or if‐then plans. Moreover, participants who mentally contrasted formed more cooperative implementation intentions than participants who did not mentally contrast, mediating the effect of condition on joint gain.

Research limitations/implications

The findings suggest that the self‐regulatory strategy of mental contrasting with implementation intentions (MCII) leads to higher joint gain, and that this effect is mediated by mental contrasting's promotion of cooperative planning. More research should be done to understand the specific negotiation behaviors engendered by MCII, as well as its applicability to other negotiation scenarios.

Originality/value

These findings have implications for both self‐regulation and negotiation research. The result that MCII fosters integrative solutions reflects its potential to help people form cooperative plans and reach high joint‐value agreements in integrative scenarios. For negotiation research, the paper identifies an effective self‐regulatory strategy for producing high‐quality agreements.

Keywords

Citation

Kirk, D., Oettingen, G. and Gollwitzer, P.M. (2013), "Promoting integrative bargaining: mental contrasting with implementation intentions", International Journal of Conflict Management, Vol. 24 No. 2, pp. 148-165. https://doi.org/10.1108/10444061311316771

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited