It is not always cool to stay cool for negotiators during a heated meeting, since they lose the focus of discussions, suggests a new study.
Researchers of the University of New South Wales in Australia examined how and when anger suppression affects negotiators' mental states and indirectly also their performance. The study is also one of the first to consider the role that the source of anger plays in negotiations.
It was found that negotiators did not necessarily become mentally exhausted when they tried to suppress their anger. Instead, they lost focus on the matters at hand if they tried to quash their feelings about issues that were integral to the discussions.
The same did not happen if the negotiators bottled up their infuriation about an incidental matter. This shows that the source of emotions can play an important role in regulating feelings.
Researcher Bo Shao said that these findings cast doubts on the belief that negotiators should always suppress their anger and to be effective, negotiators should be aware when it is detrimental or not to do so, and adopt strategies that help them maintain their focus.
The study is published in Springer's Journal of Business and Psychology.