Author Archives: camillejallais

The Influence of Close Relationships and Perspective Taking in Negotiation: an interview with Professor Jimena Ramirez

Professor Jimena Ramirez-Marin

Professor Jimena Ramirez-Marin

Jimena Ramirez, a professor in International Negotiation at IÉSEG, and a member of the School’s center of excellence on negotiation, recently published a research paper* looking at how interpersonal relations can influence the dynamics of negotiation processes. We spoke to her about the outcomes of this work and the importance of perspective taking in business negotiations.


1. In this research, you find that interpersonal relationships influence the expectations of negotiators. How does this manifest itself at the negotiation table?

Expectations in negotiation can be expressed as offers. For example, if you are selling a car, how much do you expect the other party to offer? In this research*, we explored the influence of close relationships on the expected offers. Our paper shows that negotiators expect more from those that are close to them. Furthermore, we found that when these higher expectations are not met, negative emotions can arise, which can result in negative (negotiation) outcomes for both sides. For example, our data shows that if I am buying a car from a close friend, my expectations are that he/she will make an offer that is beneficial for me. However, if both parties expect to receive beneficial offers for themselves, both parties’ expectations will be violated, which results in anger and disappointment, subsequently preventing them from reaching an agreement.

2. You explain that perspective taking is therefore an important element for negotiators facing this kind of situation. Can you explain why?

Perspective taking has been shown to have a positive effect in reaching mutually beneficial agreements in negotiation. As opposed to empathy, which is emotional, perspective taking is a cognitive process that allows negotiators to understand the priorities and interests of the counterpart better. This understanding leads to mutually beneficial agreements. In our study, we demonstrated that perspective taking allowed the participants to expect less from those who were close to them.

3. What would your recommendations be, therefore, for managers in this situation?

Managers focus on building relationships with their teammates, across departments, with their suppliers and so on. For some managers, like Key Account Managers this is at the core of their job. They should be aware that the closer those relationships are, the more they will expect from others. And when expectations are high, expectancy violation is likely and it can in turn hurt the relationship they worked so hard to build. When negotiating with people who are close to them, we recommend managers to put themselves in the other party’s shoes (take perspective), specifically to think about how the other party has contributed to the relationship, to prevent themselves from expecting too much from their counterparts.

* “I Expected More from You: The Influence of Close Relationships and Perspective Taking on Negotiation Offers”, Group Decision and Negotiation (2018), co-authored with Jaime Ramirez-Fernandez and Lourdes Munduate.

More about the School’s MSc in International Business Negotiation is available on the program website


ICON Reseach Seminar – By Peter Coleman

During this ICON Research Seminar, Peter Coleman (Columbia University (USA) ) will present his work entitled « Cross Cultural Adaptivity and Conflict Resolution: Three Questions and One Big Idea ».

Dr. Martin Storme

Martin Storme’s research interests include creativity, emotions, and negotiation. He conducts empirical research to investigate how emotions are used as social information when forming impressions, and how conflict can contribute to creative thinking. Martin Storme has experience in teaching principles of negotiation and negotiation research methods.

Negotiation and mediation: IÉSEG uses innovative online simulator & serious game to develop key competencies

mediator-3 Negotiation, conflict management & mediation are key skills for managers and leaders of companies and organizations everywhere. Over the last three years, more than 300 students/participants from the School’s Grande Ecole Master’s in Management, International & Executive MBA programs have used an online mediation simulator to learn about and cultivate these key skills.

Developed by CEDR, Europe’s largest independent ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution) organization, the simulator uses a ‘serious game’ to train participants. Each player takes the role of the mediator and must work with the different parties, from the initial phone call with the lawyers until the signing of the settlement agreement at the end of a successful mediation.

During this interactive game, each of the choices made impact the direction and outcome of the dispute. Mediator players receive feedback showing how the parties have reacted to each of their proposals, and on their performance through a scoring system with a summary of learning points achieved.

Ann-Sophie De Pauw, Professor of International Negotiation at IÉSEG, explains: “I have introduced the CEDR Simulator to my courses on the MBA programs and the Master in Management because it is an extremely interactive and innovative tool. All students use the simulator at the very beginning of the course so they are introduced, through a serious game, to the key elements of negotiation and mediation in very practical manner. I then get them to use the simulator again at the end of the course to test what they have learned, and how they have progressed and developed key competencies for negotiation and mediation practice. “

IÉSEG was the first business school internationally to start using this simulator. This pedagogical innovation is in line with IÉSEG’s Teaching and Learning strategy, which seeks to develop students’ personal and professional competencies via active and interdisciplinary learning.