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2019 International Association for Conflict Management Conference

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How- and Why-Mindsets in Negotiations: How Asking “How” Versus Asking “Why” Impacts Negotiators’ Behaviors and Outcomes

The present research investigates negotiators’ how- and why-mindsets as determinants for the achievement of integrative agreements in negotiation with divisible resources. We seek to demonstrate that asking “how” and “why” are both indispensable to discover integrative potential across sub-resources. Specifically, it is predicted that negotiators adopting both how- and why-mindsets will succeed to systematically use the trade-off opportunities among sub-resources, thereby increasing their joint profits. Three experiments were conducted to test these predictions. Parties having both how- and why-mindsets reached higher joint profits than parties only adopting a how-mindset or a why-mindset—both in face-to-face (Experiment 1) and computer-mediated negotiations (Experiment 2). Experiment 3 demonstrates that the beneficial effect of how- and why-mindset were also effective when they were induced by an implicit mindset priming procedure. Mediation analyses reveal that the integrative use of sub-resources accounted for the effect of how- and why-mindsets.

Roman Trötschel
Leuphana University

Hong Zhang
Leuphana University

Benjamin P. Höhne
Beuth University of Applied Sciences Berlin

Jeanne M. Brett
Northwestern University
United States


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