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Acknowledging the Other Side in Negotiation

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In a negotiation study, we investigated the efficacy of acknowledging an opponent's role in securing a concession made to that opponent. The study featured a face-to-face, one-shot bargaining session between a student favoring marijuana legalization and a confederate playing the role of a legalization opponent. When the confederate acknowledged the student's putative influence in producing a concession by the confederate, the student perceived the magnitude of the concession to be greater and was more likely to accept it. The student negotiators also reported that they liked the other party more following acknowledgement, and our mediational analysis suggested that enhanced interpersonal sentiments played a role in facilitating agreement. In this article, in addition to documenting these findings, we also discuss their implications, both for theoretical analyses of conflict and negotiation and for the practical problem of settling disputes.

Keywords: acknowledgment; conflict resolution; influence; negotiation; perceived control

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2008-07-01

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