Conflict Templates in Negotiations, Disputes, Joint Decisions, and Tournaments

Conflict Templates in Negotiations, Disputes, Joint Decisions, and Tournaments

By
Nir Halevy, L. Taylor Phillips
Social Psychological and Personality Science. January
2015, Vol. 6, Issue 22, Pages 13-22

Conflict situations present interaction partners with opportunities to behave cooperatively or competitively. Conflict templates (CTs) capture interaction partners’ perceptions of the relationships between their actions and outcomes. Study 1 investigated situational influences on CTs as well as the cross-situational consistency of CTs using a longitudinal diary design. Deal-making negotiation produced more competitive perceptions than dispute resolution, joint decision making, or naturally occurring social interactions. Study 2 investigated downstream consequences of CTs by having participants submit strategies for a tournament involving four types of situations. Each strategy was matched with all other submitted strategies in a series of repeated games for a total of over 12 million rounds. Cooperative perceptions significantly predicted economic performance in the tournament. We highlight the implications of the current findings for conflict management and resolution.