The influence of experience on negotiation performance

Leigh Thompson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

88 Scopus citations


The purpose of the study was to explore whether experience improves or possibly debilitates people's ability to reach mutually beneficial negotiation outcomes. The impact of different kinds of experience on performance was examined, including negotiators' experience with the bargaining task, their bargaining opponent, and the type of skill required to reach mutually beneficial outcomes. The major research findings were that negotiators were able to apply the integrative skills learned in one task to different negotiation situations. Whereas this was true for logrolling skills (negotiators' ability to make mutually beneficial tradeoffs between issues), bargainers' ability to use compatible skills (recognize similar interests) was markedly limited. Improvements in performance over time occurred when negotiators had experience with tasks involving integrative potential, specifically, logrolling potential; otherwise, experience did not lead to better performance. Negotiation performance was not affected by the bargainer's familiarity with the other party. Finally, improvements in performance were associated with greater judgment accuracy about the other party and higher bargaining aspirations. The research findings suggest that judgment accuracy and aspirations are key ingredients for successful negotiation outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)528-544
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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