Bridging psychological distance of negotiation failure in construction dispute negotiation

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Original languageEnglish
Article number052027
Journal / PublicationIOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science
Issue number5
Online published7 Dec 2022
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022


TitleWorld Building Congress (WBC) 2022
Period27 - 30 June 2022



Negotiators are not always rational. Prior studies have found that negotiators tend to be overconfident about their ability to win and underestimate the possibility of negotiation failure. This biased judgment may lead to irrational evaluation and miss the chance to settle. It is argued that negotiators handle a negotiation respective to their perception of the risk of failing. The perception of failure therefore has a pivotal influence on the negotiation outcome and warrant deeper conceptual treatments. In this regard, this study aims to conceptualize construction dispute negotiators' perception of negotiation failure. Applying the construal-level theory (CLT) and the concept of psychological distance (PD), a psychological distance of negotiation failure (PDNF) framework was developed. With data collected from construction negotiators, the PDNF framework was statistically supported. Four types of psychological distance of negotiation failure were identified, which are uncertainty, temporal distance, social distance, and frequency. The empirical findings provide a psychological perspective of how negotiators perceive the potential failure. Management can adopt the PDNF framework to gauge negotiators' perceptions of failure. Timely interventions, such as conducting internal reviews with detailed information, taking periodic negotiation training, as well as assistance by third-party neutrals, are suggested to offset negotiators' biased judgment.

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