This study investigated the effects of different mediator behavioral styles and disputant knowledge regarding negotiation deadline on bargaining behavior. A 2 x 2 factorial design varied mediator behavioral style (task-oriented versus person-oriented) and deadline certainty (certain versus uncertain) in a simulated laboratory dispute. Disputants with task-oriented mediators made larger initial offers and reached settlement more rapidly under uncertain-deadline rather than certain-deadline conditions. Subjects with person-oriented mediators did not differ significantly in the size of their initial offers or speed of settlement across deadline condition. Similar interactions emerged for a number of attitudinal measures. The results suggest that person-oriented mediators are effective regardless of deadline uncertainty, while the effectiveness of task-oriented mediators is contingent on the ambiguity inherent in the dispute. Implications of the results for procedural and distributive justice theory and research are also discussed.
Note: At the time of publication, this journal was called Group & Organization Studies; it has since changed its name to Group & Organization Management.
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