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Frame Use Between Motivational Conditions

Sarah Ogilvie

Frame use generally did not differ significantly between same and mixed motivational conditions. Many findings were nonetheless in the predicted direction with large effect sizes suggesting that statistical power was deficient.

Cooperatively and competitively motivated negotiators were predicted to show increased frequency in the use of cooperatively- and competitively-oriented frames respectively, but no strong evidence was found to support this hypothesis. An analysis of each frame separately, showed that competitors used competitive aspiration frames significantly more often than did their cooperatively motivated counterparts. Moreover, there was a trend to suggest that competitors used power/rights-based justification frames to a greater extent than did their cooperatively-motivated counterparts. These findings were consistent with research that suggests that more self-interested behaviours are typically demonstrated by competitively motivated negotiators (Olekalns et al., 1996). Greater use of the power/rights-based justification frame by the competitively-motivated negotiators is also consistent with previous research whereby these negotiators have been found to use their perceived authority or privilege to pursue their objectives in negotiation (Carnevale & Pruit, 1992). These findings support the idea that the types of behaviours likely to be observed between two competitors, that is, competitive behaviours, may be the manifestation of more competitively-oriented framing of information.

Interestingly, the current research found that the three frames classified as being more cooperative in orientation were not used to differing degrees by negotiators in the cooperative and competitive conditions. The current finding does not align with past research that suggests that competitors are less inclined to frame information in a cooperative manner (Olekalns, 1996) and perpetuate a cycle of disagreement and rejection of offers (Carnevale & Pruitt, 1992; Deutsch, 2000). Because the manipulation of social motivation was effective in that negotiators in the cooperative condition reported behaving significantly more cooperatively than negotiators in the competitive condition, this finding raises the possibility that the characterisation of frames did not adequately capture the differences between cooperator framing and competitor framing. This possibility will be discussed further when the theoretical limitations of the study are examined.

One notable finding emerged for the comparison of same and mixed motivation dyads: namely, mixed motivation negotiators used significantly more non-inclusive process frames than did other negotiators. Research suggests that process-related frames are used when negotiators are struggling to progress on an issue (Carroll & Payne, 1991). These conditions may be intensified when negotiators adopt opposing motivational orientations. In the current study, the difference in motivational orientation, wherein one party was motivated to act in a more cooperative fashion and the other in a more self-interested way, may have promoted differences in the tendency to discuss and explore the issues involved (Olekalns, 1996). This difference may have frustrated the negotiation and created a situation where disputants ceased negotiating and explicitly discussed the negotiation process itself, thus employing non-inclusive process frames. The use of non-inclusive process frames in this negotiation break is akin to the concept of a temporary impasse (Harinck & de Dreu, 2004). A temporary impasse can ensue when both parties realise that their behaviour is not bringing them closer to reaching an agreement. During this temporary break from the negotiation, negotiators can reflect on their behaviour and, consequently, may return to negotiating using more of a cooperative, problem-solving approach. The potential use of non-inclusive process frames in the negotiation process will be examined more closely when use of certain frames across the negotiation is discussed in following sections.

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