Group Negotiation: Effects of Decision Rule, Agenda, and Aspiration

Leigh L. Thompson*, Elizabeth A. Mannix, Max H. Bazerman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

86 Scopus citations


In this study we characterized small group negotiation as a mixed motive task that involved both cooperation and competition. We examined the impact of two group decision-making processes (decision rule and agenda) and one cognitive-motivational frame (aspiration level) on the quality of negotiated outcomes in small groups. Negotiation groups that used a unanimous decision rule were more likely to integrate their interests to achieve higher group outcomes than were groups that used a majority rule. Negotiation groups that followed an explicit agenda and used a majority decision rule distributed resources more unequally, and were more likely to form coalitions against a remaining party than were groups with no agenda/majority rule, explicit agenda/unanimity rule, and no agenda/unanimity rule. There was no support for the hypotheses that group members who held high aspirations and followed a majority decision rule would distribute resources more unequally than would groups with high aspirations/unanimity rule, low aspirations/majority rule, and low aspirations/unanimity rule; that adherence to explicit agendas would lead to lower group profits; and that the absence of high aspirations would lead to lower group profit. We discuss the results in terms of a mixed motive analysis of group decision making. We examine the implications of methods designed to increase the effectiveness of small group decision making.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)86-95
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of personality and social psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1988

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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