Group negotiation : more people more problems? : examining dyadic and group negotiation
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An experimental study of the differences and similarities between dyadic and group negotiation was conducted, comparing the processes and outcomes of dyads and groups on similar negotiation tasks. The group negotiation of interest in this study is one in which 4 parties, with non- identical preferences attempt to reach a joint decision. The increase in the number of parties (dyads to groups of 4) was conceptualised as an increase in objective task complexity. The subjects comprised 178 students, most of whom were undergraduate business students at 4 Norwegian institutions. A direct empirical comparison between dyadic and group negotiation revealed that dyads do reach higher quality outcomes than groups, both on economic and social psychological dimensions. Judgement accuracy was not significantly related to economic or social psychological outcomes, in groups or dyads, when the other intermediate variables were held constant. This finding is contrary to the predictions from the negotiation and decision theory. Our results show that the mechanisms important for reaching integrative agreements differ between dyads and groups. For dyads, procedural structure contributed significantly and positively to high economic outcomes, while problem solving contributed significantly and negatively to economic outcomes, but positively to social psychological outcomes. In groups, however, problem solving led to high economic and social psychological outcomes. These findings suggest that different mechanisms lead to integrative agreements in groups and dyads. The implications of these findings, and the measures used for negotiation research, are discussed further in the text.