Negotiation Behavior by Elected and Appointed Representatives Serving as Group Leaders or Spokesmen under Different Cooperative Group Expectations
Boyd, Norman Kent
Anderson, Nancy S.
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A common assumption is that the group representative is under pressure to remain loyal to his constituency while bargaining for its interests. The present investigation tested 3 factors thought to determine the extent of the representative's group loyalty for their effects upon his negotiation behavior. Two of these factors were associated with a component of representation called the representative's group leadership status. Predictions regarding these factors were based upon the notion that a group may not be inclined to sanction the behavior of all individuals who might serve as representative to the same degree. It was suggested that group members variously allow their representative to compromise the group's established position and yet consider him a loyal member of the group as a positive function of the status they accord him as a leader. It follows that the higher the representative perceives his leadership status the more willing he should be to yield from the group's position without fear of censure. The first factor thought to affect the representative’s group loyalty by influencing his perceived leadership status was his source of authority in becoming group representative. It was predicted that the process of election would elicit greater perceived status and thus greater yielding behavior than would the procedure of appointment. The second factor was whether the representative served as group leader or spokesman. The group leader was viewed as an individual who performs all group leadership functions, including that of negotiating for the group, while the spokesman was described as a person who acts only as the group's representative, It was predicted that group leaders serving as representatives would yield more than spokesmen due to their perceptions of relatively high leadership status. The third factor tested was the cooperative expectations of group members. Group expectations for the representative to cooperate with opposing negotiators were assumed inversely related to the group's announced positional commitment. Accordingly, it was predicted that evidence of weak, as opposed to strong, group commitment would result in more compromising behavior by decreasing the pressure upon the representative to demonstrate his loyalty to the group. The experimental simulation initially required each of 80 Ss to participate with 4 confederates in a prenegotiation discussion of a human relations issue. Following the establishment of a group position, half of the Ss were selected to be group leaders for the purpose of guiding the group's formulation of supporting arguments. A confederate was chosen as group leader in the other groups. After the argument formulation equal numbers of Ss were elected and appointed as representatives and informed of either high or low group commitment. Willingness to compromise the group position was measured following negotiations with a confederate representative. The results supported the prediction that elected representatives would yield more than those who had been appointed. The effect of the representative's source of authority was attributed to variable perceptions of leadership status. Conclusive findings regarding the effects of the other two factors were not obtained. The results were discussed as demonstrating the importance of isolating the representational components responsible for differential loyalty behavior by negotiating representatives.