Article | Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes | May 2011

Can Nervous Nelly Negotiate? How Anxiety Causes Negotiators to Make Low First Offers, Exit Early, and Earn Less Profit

by Alison Wood Brooks and Maurice E. Schweitzer

Abstract

Negotiations trigger anxiety. Across four studies, we demonstrate that anxiety is harmful to negotiator performance. In our experiments, we induced either anxiety or neutral feelings and studied behavior in negotiation and continuous shrinking-pie tasks. Compared to negotiators experiencing neutral feelings, negotiators who feel anxious expect lower outcomes, make lower first offers, respond more quickly to offers, exit bargaining situations earlier, and ultimately obtain worse outcomes. The relationship between anxiety and negotiator behavior is moderated by negotiator self-efficacy; high self-efficacy mitigates the harmful effects of anxiety.

Keywords: Behavior; Negotiation Participants; Outcome or Result; Emotions;

Citation:

Brooks, Alison Wood, and Maurice E. Schweitzer. "Can Nervous Nelly Negotiate? How Anxiety Causes Negotiators to Make Low First Offers, Exit Early, and Earn Less Profit." Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes 115, no. 1 (May 2011): 43–54. (Awarded Best Paper with a Student as First Author by the International Association for Conflict Management, 2010.)