Edited by Mara Olekalns and Wendi L. Adair
The above quote shows how a Chinese diplomat understands Sino–American relationships and hopes for the understanding and metaphors to be shared by both parties. A shared mental model, or a common understanding of some situation or phenomenon among a dyad of individuals, has been an important goal for negotiators to pursue. Negotiation is a social exchange where individuals perceive themselves as having opposing interests regarding scarce resources (Bazerman et al., 2000). To be effective, each negotiation party needs to seek to claim as much of the resources as possible. At the same time, they need to establish agreements on not leaving resources on the bargaining table (Swaab et al., 2007). Thus, a key challenge for most negotiators is to align individual and group interests, which requires individual negotiators to recognize some overarching commonalities leading them to pursue outcomes that benefit themselves as well as others (Swaab et al., 2007). This is precisely what a shared mental model and identity may offer: They positively influence each other and group outcomes because they give rise to an understanding of underlying interests as well as a willingness to make trade-offs. Our purpose in this chapter is to propose an integrative input-output framework that organizes current literature and future directions on the study of shared cognition and identity in negotiation. We maintain that the input factors reflect negotiators’ perceptions of various antecedents to a dynamic process that cultivates shared cognition and identity.
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