Author Archives: jingjingyao

Mission impossible: How to reach a creative agreement in tough negotiations?

Imagine that in a deal-making negotiation, the seller’s presumed bottom line is 30 million, which still outweigh the buyers’ best offer, say 28 million. This may lead to three potential outcomes. First, some people accept a no-deal, which is economically wise yet psychologically bothersome. Second, some people ignore their bottom lines and reach an otherwise economically worse off agreement. Third, some people reach a creative agreement, which is a solution compromises their presumed bottom lines but fulfills their underlying interests with additional terms.

Dr. Yao and his team found that one important factor to influence negotiators’ performance in such a seemingly impossible negotiation is people’ mental fatigue, i.e., how tired they feel after a long day office work. They found that mentally fatigued negotiators would tend to choose the first or the second options, which is either leaving the negotiation table or simply saying “OK, enough is enough, let’s sign the contract, even if I’m losing money.” Instead, mentally energetic negotiators tend to choose the third option, which is thinking out of the box and identifying a solution that makes both parties finally happy.

The underlying reasons that mental fatigue, but not physical fatigue, would compromise people’s negotiation performance are two-fold. First, mental fatigue would impair people’s cognitive capacity such as attention, action monitoring, and systematic strategy development when facing a complex problem. Second, mental fatigue would reduce people’s motivation to invest more cognitive energy, so that’s why we see people are more likely to give up.

So, how do mentally energetic negotiators come up with creative agreements? They found that negotiators in such condition would look into the issue with different perspectives or unpack the issue into different dimensions and then pack those dimensions or perspective back together. This thinking style is called integrative complexity, which encourages people to first think divergently and then think convergently, not the other way around.

The next time when you are stuck in a heated discussion or tough bargaining, you could consider applying this unpacking-and-then-packing-back style of thinking or simply ask for a break to refresh your mind. Keep negotiating after a long day may not get you an attractive deal, so why not go get some sleep and continue on this the next morning when you are mentally ready? Perhaps the solution is just around the corner.

To read the original article:

Yao, J., Zhang, Z.-X., Liu, L. A., (2020), When There is No ZOPA: Mental Fatigue, Integrative Complexity, and Creative Agreement in Negotiations, Negotiation and Conflict Management Research, in press.

Professor Jingjing Yao is one member of ICoN. You can find more information about ICoN team members here:

What organizations and leaders can do towards language diversity

According to United Nations and OECD, language diversity is still increasing. What organizations and leaders can actually do to reap the benefits of language diversity, mitigate discrimination based on accent, offer guidance to both native and nonnative speakers on how to facilitate interactions with one another, and create an environment that allows both native and nonnative speakers to showcase their potential and ultimately thrive?

In this research paper, professor Kim’s research team examined the cognitive and affective experiences of both native and nonnative English speakers when they interact with one another and illustrate how language diversity can affect intergroup dynamics in organizations. They also provided recommendations and interventions to global leaders and managers on how to create a productive and inclusive environment for both native and nonnative language-speaking employees at the individual, team, and organizational level. Below are some insightful recommendations:

– Perform role-taking simulations for native speakers

– Encourage nonnative employees to have positive attitudes toward their own accents to enhance their authenticity

– Encourage both native and no-native speakers to use implementation intentions

– Offer a space to explicitly talk about their experiences interacting with one another for native and nonnative speakers to enhance empathy

– Setting norms regarding what to do when native or nonnative speakers have difficulty understanding one another can alleviate negative emotions experienced by both groups.

– Organizational culture sets the tone: Promote and endorse language diversity publicly

– Hire and place competent, nonnative speakers in positions of power

– Team longevity, or structure teams so that the members of a team can stay as a team for a long time


To read the original article:

Kim, R., Roberson, L., Russo, M., & Briganti, P. (2019). Language Diversity, Nonnative Accents, and Their Consequences at the Workplace: Recommendations for Individuals, Teams, and Organizations. The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science55(1), 73-95.


Professor Regina Kim is one member of ICoN. You can find more information about ICoN team members here:


Simulating negotiations by a computer program

In his recent article “A new agent-based model of bilateral negotiation” (published in the International Journal of Conflict Management), Prof. Frieder Lempp presented a new simulation model for bilateral negotiations and demonstrated in an example simulation how the model can be used as a research platform for the simulation of experiments. In particular, the simulation study demonstrated how researcher can use the model to study the effects of different variables, such as time and BATNA, in a negotiation. The model was designed on the basis of key empirical findings of negotiation research. Further, it was designed as a general-purpose model that can simulate a wide range of different negotiation scenarios and encompasses many factors impacting on the process and outcomes of negotiations. At its core, the model consists of negotiators who pursue goals, have attributes, and take turns at selecting and performing actions within dyads until either a settlement is reached or the negotiation is abandoned without a settlement. The article makes a contribution to the theory and practice of negotiation by introducing, discussing, and applying a new, comprehensive agent-based simulation model of negotiation that is freely accessible for users to simulate experiments, generate hypotheses and estimates for the likelihood of negotiation outcomes, and learn about the interplay of a wide range of negotiation variables.

To read the original article:

Lempp, F. (2019). A new agent-based simulation model of bilateral negotiation. International Journal of Conflict Management.

Professor Frieder Lempp is one member of ICoN. You can find more information about ICoN team members here:


Full member list

  1. Cohort negotiation track members:


Chavi (Chi Yun) CHEN

Ann-Sophie DE PAUW

Regina KIM




Jingjing YAO






2. Dear members from other tracks

Maria Rita Micheli


Think about « doing better » and « not doing worse » at the same time

Professor Regina Kim and her colleague recently published a research paper that examines the role of regulatory focus in conflict management domains from a new perspective. Regulatory focus describes people’s two distinct goals: promotion focus that focuses on hopes and accomplishments (i.e., gains) and prevention focus that focuses on safety and responsibilities (i.e., non-losses). The research group suggests that a combination of the two, “doing better” and “not doing worse,” is a a more optimal regulatory focus in conflict. This combination reflects a mix of promotion and prevention considerations because conflict often elicits needs for promoting well-being as well as needs for preventing threats to security and interests.

They found that the combined focus resulted in greater satisfaction with expected conflict outcomes and goal attainment than did either prevention or promotion framing alone. However, a promotion frame alone was associated with greater process and relationship satisfaction. Prior research on regulatory focus has emphasized the benefits of a promotion focus over prevention when managing conflict. Professor Regina Kim and her colleagues offer new insight into how these seemingly opposing motives can operate in tandem to increase conflict satisfaction. Thus, this research illustrates the value of moving beyond dichotomized motivational distinctions in conflict research, to understand the dynamic interplay of how these distinctions may be navigated in concert for more effective conflict engagement. One take-away, the next when you are confronting conflicts, maybe you can try to synthesize your thoughts to think about how to “do better” and how to “not do worse” at the same time.

To read the original article:

Coleman, P., Kugler, K., Vallacher, R. and Kim, R. (2019), « Hoping for the best, preparing for the worst « , International Journal of Conflict Management, 30(1), 45-64.

Professor Regina Kim is one member of ICoN. You can find more information about ICoN team members here: