The influence of third party power and suggestions on negotiation:  The surface value of a compromise.

by Donald E. Conlon, Peter J.Carnevale, & William Ross (1994).  Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 24, 1084-1113.

A simulated organizational dispute tested the influence of third party power and settlement suggestions on negotiation.  Six different types of third party suggestions were tested:  (1) Integrative (highest possible value to both parties), (2) compromise (the prominent solution that was equally favorable to both parties), (3) unintegrative (lowest possible value to bothe parties), (4) favorable (more value to the subject than to the opponent, (5) unfavorable (more value to opponent than to subject), and (6) no offers.  Additional subjects in a control group bargained with no third party.

The results suggest that the potential of a third party to impose a settlement influenced disputant perceptions of power and desire for third party involvement, but had only weak effects on communication processes and little effect on offer proposals.

While integrative suggestions led to greater acceptability of the third party, compromise suggestions positively influenced the appearance of fairness and the use of rationality and exchange messages.  Receipt of an unfavorable suggestion resulted in less favorable ratings of third party acceptability, greater perceptions of bias, and the use of more assertive messages and fewer upward appeals aimed at the third party than did receipt of a favorable suggestion.

Implications for managerial dispute resolution behavior and subsequent perceptions of satisfaction and justice are discussed.

This is an extended version of the abstract that was published in the journal.
Abstract Copyright (C) 1994 by V. H. Winston & Son, Inc.  All rights reserved.