Negotiating a deal or negotiating our conversation?: A dyadic, experimental approach to the impact of suspicion upon changes in conversational goals
AuthorKwiatkowski, Michael Joseph
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The purpose of the study is to investigate suspicion as a predictor in changing conversational goals during a negotiation. To test this theorized relationship, dyads (n = 78) simulated a negotiation with one person taking the role of hirer and the other taking the role of employee. Suspicion was manipulated in the negotiation, with one, both, or neither roles receiving the manipulation. Relationships between suspicion and conversational goals, as well as how conversational goals evolve during a negotiation were examined. Research questions addressed (a) differences in conversational goals according to role, gender, and manipulation/condition, (b) how suspicion, uncertainty, and conversational goals were related, and (c) the impact of the interaction on conversational goals. One hypothesis predicted that suspicion predicted conversational goal change. The other hypothesis predicted the suspicion manipulation would result in differences in measured suspicion. Partial support for the first hypothesis was found, depending on the conversational goal, but the manipulation was unsuccessful. Overall, findings indicated that as concerns about malicious intent increased, conversational goal importance decreased, and as concerns about motives increased, conversational goal importance increased. There also were differences between the roles, with hirers and employees valuing different conversational goals and suspicion impacting those goals differently. The findings indicated that interpretation of information alters the interaction. If people become suspicious, they likely view different goals as more important than other goals, depending on what information they are focusing on. The focus also depends on how suspicious people are, as high and low suspicion may have different cognitive consequences for the negotiation. Future studies should expand upon the relationship between suspicion and conversational goals within a negotiation, testing if the relationship changes with different situations or if the outcome of a negotiation is influenced by the conversational goals.