- A social functional approach to emotions in bargaining: When communicating anger pays and when it backfires
- Journal of Personality and Social Psychology
- Volume | Issue number
- 94 | 4
- Number of pages
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Psychology Research Institute (PsyRes)
Previous research on the communication of emotions has suggested that bargainers obtain higher outcomes if they communicate anger than if they communicate happiness because anger signals higher limits, which in turn leads opponents to give in. Building on a social functional account of communicated emotions, the authors demonstrate that the behavioral consequences of communicated anger strongly depend on structural characteristics of the bargaining situation. The results of 3 experimental studies on ultimatum bargaining corroborate the notion that communicated anger signals higher limits and that emotion effects are contingent on bargainers' expectation that low offers will be rejected. The data also indicate, however, that communicating anger in bargaining may backfire. The findings suggest that bargainers who communicate anger may obtain lower outcomes (a) when their opponent has a possibility to deceive them during bargaining and (b) when the consequences of rejecting their opponent's offer are low. Taken together, the current article reveals the boundary conditions of successful communication of anger in bargaining.
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