Negotiation Research Group

The Negotiation Research Group (NRG) is affiliated to the Department of Social and Political Psychology and thus part of the Institute of Psychology at the Leuphana University of Lüneburg.

All researchers of the Social- and Political Psychology team are members of the Negotiation Research Group, working together in different constellations on the topic "Psychological Processes in Negotiation aimed at the Transition towards Sustainability". Together with former PhDs and post-doc researchers of the department, other negotiation researchers at Leuphana university, as well as colleagues from outside the Leuphana university, the NRG is particularly interested in the investigation of psychological processes in social-dilemma and transformation negotiations aimed at managing the transition towards sustainability.

In the ongoing research projects of the NRG social-dilemma negotiations are defined as an interactive, communicative, and creative decision-making process in which conflict parties seek to agree on mutually accepted decisions on how to contribute vs. distribute resources to vs. from the collective in order to balance individual parties’ (short-term) self-interests with all parties’ (long-term) collective interest.

Transformation negotiation are defined as interactive, communicative, and creative decision-making processes between conflict parties aimed at initiating, shaping, organizing, or managing the process of change in the context of economic, ecological, societal, or cultural transitions.

In a number of national third-party funded projects and international collaborations (e.g. German Research Foundation, Volkswagen Foundation, European Reginal Development Fund), the research group investigates how parties in negotiations can generate individual benefit, common benefit and societal benefit.

Moreover, we are more than happy to be continuously working with our cooperation partners, Adam Galinskiy, Ilana Ritov, Simon Moran, Hillie Aaldering, Fieke Harrinck, Peter Gollwitzer, Joachim Hüffmeier and Stefan Schulz-Hardt. For further details on the different research topics of each team member please visit their respective homepages.

Current Research

The Negotiation Research Group is currently working on the following basic and application-oriented research projects:

• Mental Accounting in Negotiations (DFG TR-565/6-1) 
In many negotiations, bargaining parties not only have to deal with individual issues, but also find solutions to a large number of contentious issues: For example, collective bargaining parties negotiate not only wage increases, but also holiday and working time regulations, collective agreement duration, one-off payments, retirement provisions and many other aspects of regulated working conditions. The DFG-funded research project (TR-565/6-1) deals with the question of how negotiating parties cope with the cognitive challenges of complex negotiations and what opportunities but also dangers lie in negotiations with a large number of points to be negotiated.

• Mental Accounting in Allocation Negotiations (Volkswagen-Stiftung)
The international project with cooperation partners from Israel explores processes of mental accounting in negotiations over common goods (e.g. fiscal budget, mineral resources, climate change, fishing). The project hypothesises and investigates that individuals in negotiations over common goods tend to transfer profits from common goods into their private property (privatisation of profits). If, on the other hand, losses occur, they are shifted to the community (collectivisation of costs) - even if they are personally responsible. The central question here is what the exact cognitive processes are that take place during such negotiations.

• Process Gains and Process Losses in Negotiations (DFG TR565/5-1)
The DFG-funded research project (TR-565/5-1) investigates whether and under which circumstances classical negotiations are superior or inferior to alternative procedures in which social interaction is dispensed with (e.g. computer-assisted procedures). Thus, the advantages and disadvantages of classical negotiations compared to alternative procedures are explored in the research project by analysing process gains and losses.

• Mindsets in Negotiations (Dispute Resolution Research Center, Noth-Western University, Chicago, US)
In current research, a mindset is a context-specific psychological orientation that determines the selection, processing and retrieval of information and thus influences cognitive evaluations, affective reactions and motivational behavioural tendencies (Rucker & Galinsky, 2016). Mindsets can also play a significant role in negotiations by influencing information processing, triggering emotions and conditioning specific negotiation strategies (cf. Trötschel et al, 2011). In a research project funded by the Kellog Schools of Management (DRRC, North-Western University, Chicago), mind-sets that promote negotiation and lead to an integrative balance of interests are being researched.

Negotiations in the Context of Sustainable Development
When parties in negotiations pursue not only immediate but also future interests, special challenges arise that often lead to suboptimal agreements. For example, climate negotiations on a large political stage rarely lead to favourable agreements for the parties involved. But also in everyday life, we often have great problems "reconciling" our own interests with those of our counterparts without losing sight of our long-term interests. The proposed research project investigates why parties in negotiations with short- and long-term interests so often reach suboptimal agreements and how more sustainable agreements can be reached. At the centre of the research project is the assumption that we must not only assert our own interests against the interests of the other party, but also protect our long-term interests against our short-term interests in order to reach sustainable agreements.