The Emotional Advantage: The Added Value of the Emotionally Intelligent Negotiator

Date01 September 2015
Published date01 September 2015
C R Q, vol. 33, no. 1, Fall 2015 57
© 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. and the Association for Confl ict Resolution
Published online in Wiley Online Library ( • DOI: 10.1002/crq.21127
The Emotional Advantage: The Added Value of the
Emotionally Intelligent Negotiator
Neil H. Katz
Adriana Sosa
In surveying past negotiation literature, successful negotiators were often
portrayed as calculating and factual with a stress on keeping a poker
face throughout negotiations.  is article summarizes key features in
the literature on emotional intelligence (EI), refutes the notion that
the suppression of emotion in negotiation is desirable, and recognizes
the value that EI can contribute to the repertoire of eff ective negotia-
tors.  e article describes key competencies associated with EI and how
these skills help negotiators work with confl ict if it emerges, develop
creative options for potential agreements, facilitate trust, and contribute
to aff ective and substantive satisfaction.
In surveying numerous publications and training materials over the past
three decades on the art of negotiation, one is impressed by the prev-
alence in both scholarly and popular literature of the supposed need to
“keep one’s cool” in negotiations.  e best negotiators are often described
as those in whom only calculated factual analysis prevails; by contrast,
emotions are depicted as at best “impediments to reaching constructive
agreements” (Leary, Pillemer, and Wheeler 2013, 172) and at worst “to be
avoided at all costs” (Shapiro 2006, 164). Keeping a “poker face” and “self-
control, especially of emotions and their visibility,” seems to be one of the
essential elements of a successful negotiator (Raiff a 1982, 120). Although
more recent literature challenges this notion and addresses the role of emo-
tion in a positive manner, this article addresses the value of the emotionally
intelligent negotiator to negotiation eff ectiveness and suggests how train-
ing and skill enhancement can assist in mediation.
C R Q • DOI: 10.1002/crq
Many negotiations involve elements of interpersonal or group confl ict,
“defi ned as an expressed struggle in which two or more parties are expe-
riencing strong emotion resulting from a perceived diff erence in needs or
values” (Katz, Lawyer, and Sweedler 2011, 81). Even if the heightened
emotion is limited to only one of the parties, strong emotions are pres-
ent in many negotiations. Given this fact, negotiators need a skill set for
addressing emotions beyond conventional wisdom, which encourages the
elimination or minimization of emotions. A growing body of research in
the area of emotional intelligence now off ers a more realistic perspective
on the integral role of emotions in successful negotiation (Lewicki, Bruce,
and Saunders 2015).
Negotiation involves both defi ning the process and exploring key ele-
ments of desired outcomes. When two or more parties discuss how to share
or distribute a limited resource, they negotiate to create an innovative alter-
native that none of the parties could obtain otherwise (Lewicki, Saunders,
and Barry 2011;  ompson, Neale, and Sinaceur 2004).  e behavior of
all parties to a negotiation is part of an attempt to agree “on the distribu-
tion or exchange of benefi ts or costs” (Pulido-Martos, Lopez-Zafra, and
Augusto-Landa 2013, 408). In general, though, two or more parties might
seek to achieve contradictory objectives (Pulido-Martos, Lopez-Zafra, and
Augusto-Landa 2013). Not surprisingly, negotiators are stereotypically
portrayed as “calculating, calm, and in control” individuals who behave
rationally and intelligently in order to mitigate any emotional interfer-
ence with the process of negotiation (Lewicki, Saunders, and Barry 2011;
Ogilvie and Carsky 2002). However, most negotiations tend to involve
multiple motives (including elements of both integrative and distribu-
tive bargaining) where the process of confl ict resolution “cannot be free
of emotion or anxiety” (Ogilvie and Carsky 2002, 382). As such, parties
to a negotiation may experience positive or negative emotions depending
on whether they anticipate an outcome that would serve their interests. As
Ogilvie and Carsky (2002) point out, “Where goals are blocked, negative
emotions result; where goals are attained, positive emotions result” (382).
To ignore the role of emotions is to overlook fundamental conditions
of mental ability and the negotiation process (Fulmer and Barry 2004).
A negotiator must be emotionally intelligent in order to acquire informa-
tion, make decisions, and deploy eff ective tactics throughout (Fulmer and
Barry 2004). In this article, we examine how the burgeoning research and
literature on emotional intelligence (EI) can lend valuable insights that can
add value and enhance the negotiation process. It is fundamental to realize

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