IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Dancing on the Slippery Slope: The Effects of Appropriate Versus Inappropriate Competitive Tactics on Negotiation Process and Outcome


  • Denise Fleck

    () (Federal University of Rio de Janeiro – UFRJ)

  • Roger J. Volkema

    () (IAG/PUC-Rio)

  • Sergio Pereira

    () (IAG/PUC-Rio)


Abstract As negotiation is critical to all forms of organizational decision-making, researchers have shown an interest in understanding how the flow of information (valid and otherwise) influences this process. Often, competitive, questionable, and unethical tactics have been treated as interchangeable in these studies, despite presumed differences in appropriateness. The purpose of this study was to examine the similarities and differences in negotiators’ use and efficacy of appropriate competitive tactics (e.g., exaggerated offers) versus inappropriate competitive tactics (e.g., factual misrepresentations), primarily through a negotiation simulation. The study found that although these two categories of tactics were correlated in terms of overall use, appropriate competitive behaviors were used more frequently, especially early in negotiations, and these behaviors often resulted in comparable responses from counterparts. While ultimately increasing the likelihood of a negotiation impasse, the use of appropriate competitive tactics improved an individual’s substantive outcome where agreements could be reached. Inappropriate competitive tactics were likely to increase in number the sooner they were first employed in negotiations, with a response of inappropriate competitive tactics to the first use of competitive tactics increasing the likelihood of subsequent use of inappropriate tactics. The implications of these and other findings for both practitioners and future research are discussed.

Suggested Citation

  • Denise Fleck & Roger J. Volkema & Sergio Pereira, 2016. "Dancing on the Slippery Slope: The Effects of Appropriate Versus Inappropriate Competitive Tactics on Negotiation Process and Outcome," Group Decision and Negotiation, Springer, vol. 25(5), pages 873-899, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:grdene:v:25:y:2016:i:5:d:10.1007_s10726-016-9469-7
    DOI: 10.1007/s10726-016-9469-7

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: Abstract
    Download Restriction: Access to the full text of the articles in this series is restricted.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Gregory Dees, J. & Cramton, Peter C., 1991. "Shrewd Bargaining on the Moral Frontier: Toward a Theory of Morality In Practice," Business Ethics Quarterly, Cambridge University Press, vol. 1(02), pages 135-167, April.
    2. Stelios Zyglidopoulos & Peter Fleming & Sandra Rothenberg, 2009. "Rationalization, Overcompensation and the Escalation of Corruption in Organizations," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 84(1), pages 65-73, January.
    3. Li Ma & Judi McLean Parks, 2012. "Your Good Name: The Relationship Between Perceived Reputational Risk and Acceptability of Negotiation Tactics," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 106(2), pages 161-175, March.
    4. Filipe Sobral & Gazi Islam, 2013. "Ethically Questionable Negotiating: The Interactive Effects of Trust, Competitiveness, and Situation Favorability on Ethical Decision Making," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 117(2), pages 281-296, October.
    5. Carson, Thomas, 1993. "Second Thoughts About Bluffing," Business Ethics Quarterly, Cambridge University Press, vol. 3(04), pages 317-342, October.
    6. Mara Olekalns & Philip Smith, 2007. "Loose with the Truth: Predicting Deception in Negotiation," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 76(2), pages 225-238, December.
    7. Wendi L. Adair & Jeanne M. Brett, 2005. "The Negotiation Dance: Time, Culture, and Behavioral Sequences in Negotiation," Organization Science, INFORMS, vol. 16(1), pages 33-51, February.
    8. Cheryl Rivers & Roger Volkema, 2013. "East–West Differences in “Tricky” Tactics: A Comparison of the Tactical Preferences of Chinese and Australian Negotiators," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 115(1), pages 17-31, June.
    9. Zhenzhong Ma, 2010. "The SINS in Business Negotiations: Explore the Cross-Cultural Differences in Business Ethics Between Canada and China," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 91(1), pages 123-135, February.
    10. Volkema, Roger J., 2004. "Demographic, cultural, and economic predictors of perceived ethicality of negotiation behavior: A nine-country analysis," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 57(1), pages 69-78, January.
    11. Brian Kulik & Michael O’Fallon & Manjula Salimath, 2008. "Do Competitive Environments Lead to the Rise and Spread of Unethical Behavior? Parallels from Enron," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 83(4), pages 703-723, December.
    12. Rebecca Guidice & G. Alder & Steven Phelan, 2009. "Competitive Bluffing: An Examination of a Common Practice and its Relationship with Performance," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 87(4), pages 535-553, July.
    13. Pamela Murphy & M. Dacin, 2011. "Psychological Pathways to Fraud: Understanding and Preventing Fraud in Organizations," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 101(4), pages 601-618, July.
    14. Hélène Vidot, 2006. "Opportunism and unilateral commitment: The moderating effect of relational capital," Post-Print hal-00155627, HAL.
    15. Catherine H Tinsley & Madan M Pillutla, 1998. "Negotiating in the United States and Hong Kong," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Academy of International Business, vol. 29(4), pages 711-727, December.
    16. Mara Olekalns & Carol Kulik & Lin Chew, 2014. "Sweet Little Lies: Social Context and the Use of Deception in Negotiation," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 120(1), pages 13-26, March.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    Competition; Ethics; Negotiation; Outcome; Process; Tactics;


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:spr:grdene:v:25:y:2016:i:5:d:10.1007_s10726-016-9469-7. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Sonal Shukla) or (Rebekah McClure). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.