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IACM 2023

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Communication Contexts and Metaphors As A Way of Capturing Negotiators’ Cognition

In this study, we propose a metaphor – a mode of thought which helps humans to make sense of abstract concepts – as a new technique to capture negotiation beliefs and cognitive representations (mental models) in a negotiation context. The subjectivity and situational dependence of mental models make it challenging to study them empirically and a metaphor can be used as a proxy for a negotiator’s mental model as a more parsimonious measure. The study bridges several research streams by proposing that the theory of mental models, the theory of metaphors, and the theory of communication context can be used to illuminate the cognitive mechanisms which help achieve negotiations success in intercultural settings and to uncover how these mechanisms are formed. We use methods triangulation to explore if negotiators showing differences on four contextual dimensions – message, relational, temporal, and spatial – use different types of metaphors.

Elena Poliakova
IESEG School of Management

Leigh Anne Liu
Georgia State University
United States

Frieder Lempp
IESEG School of Management


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