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Having no negotiation power does not matter as long as you can think creatively: the moderating role of age

Kyriaki Fousiani (Department of Psychology, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands)
Kiki Margaretha Maria De Jonge (Department of Psychology, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands)
Georgios Michelakis (Department of Psychology, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands)

International Journal of Conflict Management

ISSN: 1044-4068

Article publication date: 26 July 2022

Issue publication date: 26 September 2022

455

Abstract

Purpose

The literature regarding the effect of power on negotiation strategies remains scattered and inconsistent. This study aims to propose that the effect of power on negotiation strategies is contingent on contextual variables but also on individual differences among negotiators. Specifically, the authors hypothesize that creativity moderates the effect of power such that low-power, as compared to high-power negotiators, use more collaborative and less competitive strategies and further report lower fixed-pie perception (i.e. perception of a counterpart’s goals and interests as diametrically opposite to one’s own goals and interests) when they can be creative. Moreover, the authors hypothesize that negotiators’ age buffers the moderated effect of power.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors conducted two experiments and a cross-sectional field study. Participants in Studies 1 and 2 played a negotiation game in dyads. Study 1 manipulated power as status (manager vs employee), whereas Study 2 manipulated power as Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement (i.e. power to exit the negotiation without a deal). Accordingly, participants in Study 2 had strong vs weak Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement. In both studies, power was manipulated within dyads. Moreover, in both studies, the authors manipulated creativity (high vs low) between dyads. The chronological age of negotiators was measured in both studies and served as an additional moderator. Study 3 (preregistered) aimed to replicate the experiment results in the field.

Findings

Study 1 provided partial support for the hypothesis about collaborative strategies. Study 2 fully supported the hypothesis about the role of power and creativity on FPP and on collaboration (but not on competition). Study 3 did not support the power by creativity hypothesis. Interestingly, Studies 1 and 2 supported the power × creativity × age interaction hypothesis when predicting collaboration, while Study 3 supported the three-way interaction when predicting competition. Furthermore, Study 2 provided full support for the three-way interaction hypothesis when predicting FPP, while Study 3 provided partial support for this hypothesis. Altogether, the three studies largely replicated and complemented each other and revealed the robustness of the examined effects.

Research limitations/implications

The findings of this research extend the literature on power on the one hand and negotiation and conflict management on the other and shed light on the inconsistent results regarding the role of power in collaboration and competition (De Dreu, 1995; De Dreu and Van Kleef, 2004; Overbeck and Park, 2001; Overbeck et al., 2006). Additionally, this research reconciles the inconsistent literature on creativity, conflict management and prosocial behavior (Gino and Ariely, 2012; Gino and Wiltermuth, 2014; Wilson and Thompson, 2014). Finally, the findings touch upon the aging literature as well and shed light on the role of age on conflict management (for a review, see Beitler et al., 2018) and on the interconnection between age, power and creativity.

Practical implications

The findings are relevant to organizations characterized by power asymmetries (e.g. employee/manager) and inform practitioners about the main determinants of collaboration-based negotiations at work.

Social implications

The findings extend the literature on power on the one hand and negotiation and conflict management on the other and shed light on the inconsistent results regarding the role of power in collaboration and competition.

Originality/value

To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this is the first study investigating the moderating role of creativity in the relationship between negotiation power and negotiation strategies. Moreover, the moderating role of participant age in such relationships has been, to date, largely uninvestigated.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

Conflict of Interest: Authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Compliance with ethical standards: This research involves human participants. All procedures performed in this study were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. For the current research, we got approval from the Ethics Committee of the University of Groningen.

Open science practices: data and online supplemental materials are available from the open science framework at: https://osf.io/p6kd2/?view_only=b181d50323d341778df18d38b00ae32e

Study 3 was preregistered in open science framework: https://osf.io/uwb8a/?view_only=bc9ec8d0b61a4cc38abc5efbe8ef2da1

Citation

Fousiani, K., De Jonge, K.M.M. and Michelakis, G. (2022), "Having no negotiation power does not matter as long as you can think creatively: the moderating role of age", International Journal of Conflict Management, Vol. 33 No. 5, pp. 956-990. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJCMA-05-2022-0086

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

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