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Negotiating with the Enemy: Team Negotiation, Mixed Trust, and Finding a Way Forward
Keywords: team negotiation, trust, intergroup conflict, group heterogeneity
Abstract: Intergroup negotiations in the context of conflict present an interesting paradox. On the one hand, intergroup conflict tends to be marked by low trust in the outgroup. On the other hand, negotiating only makes sense if there is some reasonable level of trust that the other side will uphold their end of the agreement. We propose that this paradox can be addressed via mixed trust – negotiators may be able to build partnerships across the table when they send groups of negotiators, rather than solo negotiators, and if individuals differentiate between trusted and distrusted outgroup members. Across three studies, we demonstrate that people are responsive to heterogeneity within the outgroup and are sensitive both to numerical composition as well as intragroup hierarchy. Our results suggest that one need not trust all members of the opposing group in order to view negotiation with the group as potentially worthwhile.