Relationships, goal incompatibility, and communal orientation in negotiations

Leigh Thompson*, Terri DeHarpport

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


We examined how relationships' perceived goal incompatibility and communal orientation affected the expectations people bring to negotiation, their actual performance, and retrospective judgments of the situation. Pairs of friends who perceived the task as a problem-solving situation and who were similar in communal orientation were most likely to capitalize on joint interests; however, when friends were dissimilar in communal orientation, their ability to identify compatible issues declined precipitously. Friends who were high in communal orientation were more likely to allocate resources equally among each other than were friends low in communal orientation. When friends negotiated car deals, they judged themselves to be less cooperative and as making fewer concessions when they were high in communal orientation than when they were low in communal orientation. We conclude that the impact of relationships on negotiation performance and judgment depends upon perceived goal incompatibility as well as participants' chronic attitudes toward relationships.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)33-44
Number of pages12
JournalBasic and Applied Social Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Applied Psychology


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