Edited by Mara Olekalns and Wendi L. Adair
Over the last decade there has been a growing literature on the effects of email on negotiation (e.g., Belkin et al., in press; Johnson and Cooper, 2009a; 2009b; Morris et al., 2002; Moore et al., 1999; Kurtzberg et al., 2009; Naquin et al., 2008; 2010; Rosette et al., 2012; Stuhlmacher and Citera, 2005). This research followed, and was inspired by, a generation of work on computer mediated communication (e.g., Daft and Lengel, 1986; Sproull and Keisler, 1986; Short et al., 1976; Walther, 1992). While there is now a sizeable body of knowledge on the topic of electronically mediated negotiation, competing findings and theories are emerging as well, resulting in confusion about implications of electronic communication on negotiation processes and outcomes, as well as in a lack of clear answers about the most efficient way to conduct negotiations through electronic media. This chapter reviews the existing research on communications, psychology, and negotiation, including both the traditional theoretical frameworks and a new conceptual approach, called Construal Level Theory of Psychological Distance (Trope and Liberman, 2010), while synthesizing available empirical data in terms of its implications for email negotiations. We conclude by considering several strategies for managing these contradictory recommendations, including a “contingency” approach that identifies when it is best to use face-to-face or online communications for negotiation, as well as a process of tacking back and forth – to use a sailing metaphor – between psychological distance and psychological closeness, which we label an “into the wind” strategy for managing electronically mediated negotiations.
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