Conflict Management and Negotiation:
Personality and Individual Differences That Do Matter
by Pon Staff / November 3, 2014
Adapted from “In Negotiation, How Much Do Personality and Other Individual Differences Matters?,” first published in the December 2008 issue of the Negotiation newsletter.
Differences That Matter
Although Elfenbein and her colleagues did find that negotiators performed at a similar level from one negotiation to the next, to their surprise, these scores were only minimally related to specific personality traits. And traits that are basically unchangeable, such as gender, ethnic background, and physical attractiveness, were not closely connected to people’s scores.
A small number of traits did affect negotiators’ performance,however. Let’s look at the qualities that stood out in this study, as well as some that other researchers have identified.
1. Beliefs about negotiation.
Do You view negotiation as an innate skill or one that can be learned?Some of us think that we can improve your negotiating ability, and others believe there’s little hope of improving our skills,researchers Laura Kray of UC Berkeley and Michael Haselhuhn of the University of Pennsylvania have found.These beliefs make a difference. If you think people can improve their negotiation skills, you’re likely to outperform those who believe negotiation prowess is innate, according to their research and the Elfenbein study.
It seems that simply being aware that you can improve your results can have a positive impact on your talks—good news for readers of Negotiation. Research also finds that those who approach negotiations with a positive attitude and high expectations tend to
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