Head, not heart helps clinch negotiations

April 24th, 2008 - 2:13 pm ICT by admin  

Washington, April 24 (IANS) Success in negotiations depends on focussing on the head, not the heart. From the war room to the boardroom, negotiations are a part and parcel of life. Successful negotiations demand a clear understanding of one’s opponent.

What approach should one take to understanding one’s opponent in everyday negotiations?

Adam Galinsky from Northwestern University and colleagues William Maddux, Debra Gilin and Judith White of Dartmouth asked a similar question and concluded that success in negotiations depended on focusing on the head and not the heart.

In other words, it is better to take the perspective of opponents rather than empathize with them.

Perspective taking, according to the study published in the April issue of Psychological Science, involves understanding and anticipating an opponent’s interests, thoughts and likely behaviours, whereas empathy focuses mostly on sympathy and compassion for another.

“Perspective takers are able to step outside the constraints of their own immediate, biased frames of reference,” wrote the authors.

“Empathy, however, leads individuals to violate norms of equity and equality and to provide preferential treatments.”

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