Two experiments investigated the hypothesis that strategic behavioral mimicry can facilitate negotiation outcomes. Study 1 used an employment negotiation with multiple issues, and demonstrated that strategic behavioral mimicry facilitated outcomes at both the individual and dyadic levels: Negotiators who mimicked the mannerisms of their opponents both secured better individual outcomes, and their dyads as a whole also performed better when mimicking occurred compared to when it did not. Thus, mimickers created more value and then claimed most of that additional value for themselves, though not at the expense of their opponents. In Study 2, mimicry facilitated negotiators' ability to uncover underlying compatible interests and increased the likelihood of obtaining a deal in a negotiation where a prima facie solution was not possible. Results from Study 2 also demonstrated that interpersonal trust mediated the relationship between mimicry and deal-making. Implications for our understanding of negotiation dynamics and interpersonal coordination are discussed.
Maddux, W., E. Mullen, and Adam Galinsky. "Chameleons bake bigger pies and take bigger pieces: Strategic behavioral mimicry facilitates negotiation outcomes." Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 40, no. 2 (2008): 461-468.
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