Gender Differences in Buyer-Seller Negotiations: Emotion Regulation Strategies

Article excerpt

Negotiation between buyer and seller is the most essential element in the marketing process (Graham, 1985). One of the key research factors in the buyer-seller negotiation is if gender makes a difference in bargaining behavior and outcomes. Researchers of gender differences in negotiation behavior have gradually shifted their focus from treating gender as a predictor of behavior towards examining how gender affects the outcome of negotiation through other variables (Craver, 2002; Pradel, Bowles, & McGinn, 2006). Analyses of negations are dominated by the relationship between gender and emotions in power relations (Shields & Warner, 2009). By studying emotions researchers gain important information. Therefore, relationships between emotional regulation, negotiation outcome, and gender were investigated in this study.

Regulation of emotion refers to the process by which individuals influence which emotions they experience, and how they are experienced. At the broadest level, regulation of emotion can be divided into categories of cognitive reappraisal and suppression (Gross, 1998). Cognitive reappraisal is a form of cognitive change that alters the way one thinks about and perceives a situation, and can elicit emotion in a way that changes the emotional effect produced by a situation. Reappraisal is an antecedent-focused strategy (Lazarus & Alfert, 1964) and occurs early in the process of emotion generation. By contrast, suppression is a form of response-focused strategy in which behavioral expression is decreased. As emotions arise continually, one needs to manage effectively and respond appropriately to them, because suppression comes relatively late in the emotion generation process (Gross, 2001). Recent researchers have also paid attention to suppression, which is a response-focused strategy (Gross, 2001; Yurtsever, 2008). This means that those who use suppression as a strategy seek to modify their emotions once they are underway. Using a response-focused strategy decreases behavioral expression as individuals consciously manage their emotional responses as their emotions arise (Gross, 1998). The use of a defense strategy reduces opportunities to exercise expert intuition since such repeated efforts mean that individuals are preoccupied with regulating their emotions (Butler et al., 2003). The use of suppression decreases behavioral expression, meaning that one cannot successfully decrease the experiential and behavioral components of negative emotions (Gross, Richards, & John, 2006). In negotiations involving complex task decisions, negotiators often compete against one another. Therefore, negotiators may have emotional experiences that influence the course of the negotiation(s) and other related interactions.

In most societies, expressing emotion is generally thought to be unmanly (Brody, 2000). On the other hand, in gender studies it has been indicated that men and women report using reappraisal with comparable frequency in everyday life (Gross et al., 2006). McRae, Ochsner, Mauss, Gabrieli, and Gross (2008) noted that women regulate positive emotion to a greater extent than do men when attempting to reduce and regulate negative emotion. The use of cognitive reappraisal helps negotiators to reduce the experimental and behavioral components of negative emotions because it occurs early in the process of generating emotions, and regulates emotional response tendencies that have been fully generated. It does not require the individual to consciously to manage emotion response tendencies as they arise because it occurs before the emotional response tendencies have been fully generated. In contrast, suppression is a response-focused strategy, which means that it comes late in the process of generating emotion. This means that those who use cognitive reappraisal tend not to ruminate on their negative emotions but, rather, focus on, and deal with, disputes and issues (Gross & John, 2003). …