The Virtually Intelligent Negotiator: Building Trust and Maximizing Economic Gain in E-Negotiations

Leigh Thompson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Virtual intelligence is “the ability to communicate and navigate relationships and achieve business goals when engaging with others who are not physically co-present.” Virtual intelligence is particularly critical in e-negotiations because negotiators compete to achieve economic goals but must cooperate to reach mutual agreement and maintain social relationships. I review key research findings on the advantages and disadvantages of virtual and in vivo negotiations. I make the point that in vivo negotiation does not always result in more trust and mutually beneficial outcomes than virtual negotiations. I use insights from research on e-negotiations and virtual communication to identify skills that facilitate trust and information sharing and lead to more desirable negotiation outcomes. I organize my discussion of virtual intelligence in terms of four key challenges that confront negotiators: relational concerns (building trust), conveyance (transmitting and receiving information), convergence (reaching a shared understanding of the situation), and achieving instrumental goals (negotiating a favorable outcome).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)347-354
Number of pages8
JournalCurrent Directions in Psychological Science
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2023


  • communication orientation model
  • e-negotiation
  • media naturalness
  • media richness
  • media synchronicity
  • psychological distance
  • virtual intelligence
  • virtual negotiation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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