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Who Says What to Whom? The Impact of Communication Setting and Channel on Exclusion from Multiparty Negotiation Agreements, Social Cognition


Previous research has argued that people exclude others in multiparty negotiations when their inclusion does not increase their payoffs. However, the majority of this research has been conducted in settings where participants do not interact person-to-person or where they communicate through highly restricted means. We argue that this view on exclusion needs to be modified and propose that communication can induce cooperation and thereby decrease exclusion from coalition agreements in multiparty negotiations. Data from two experiments examine how an opportunity to detect others' emotions, words, and behavior affects cooperation and exclusion in multiparty negotiations. Study 1 found that negotiators who communicate face-to-face or in the same (chat) room are less likely to exclude others from coalition agreements than negotiators who communicate in private and with computer mediated technology. Study 2 replicated this effect and also demonstrated that these effects are due to greater cooperation displayed in negotiators' language and behavior. Both studies consistently found that communication setting and channel were particularly impactful for the weakest party in the negotiation, suggesting that low power negotiators can decrease exclusion by altering the communication parameters.




Roderick I. Swaab, Mary C. Kern, Daniel Diermeier, Victoria Medvec

Date Published



Swaab, Roderick I., Mary C. Kern, Daniel Diermeier, and Victoria Medvec. 2009. Who Says What to Whom? The Impact of Communication Setting and Channel on Exclusion from Multiparty Negotiation Agreements. Social Cognition.(3): 385-401.


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