Psychology publication features management professor's research

Tal Zarankin

Assistant Professor Tal Zarankin

Online publication Psychology Progress is featuring on its website a research article co-written by a Radford University Management Assistant Professor Tal Zarankin.

Psychology Progress, with a target audience that includes academic and clinical professionals at major academic institutions, identified Zarankin's paper as being "of special interest to the progress of the psychology field."

In the article, "Negotiators' Information Sharing: The Effects of Opponent Behavior and Information about Previous Negotiators' Performance" Zarankin and co-author James A. Wall Jr. investigate the effects of factors upon negotiators' information sharing.

After a laboratory experiment studying 120 subjects negotiating three issues, Zarankin and Wall, a management professor at the University of Missouri, concluded "negotiators share more information when their opponents share information and when their opponents call for the negotiators to share information."

Zarankin explained the study's results further by saying: "The main finding was that, contrary to what people think, if you simply ask people for information, they are more inclined to give it to you expecting that you will reciprocate. People don't think about asking direct questions many times. They try to get to it from difference angles and try to share but not request information."

Zarankin, who dedicates much of his research to business negotiations techniques, said simply asking "what is your absolute bottom line?" or "what other offers do you have?" can lead to a quicker progression in talks.

The professor noted that some people are hesitant to ask these questions, and he believes much their reticence often can be attributed to culture. "People here (in the United States) are not as direct as in other countries," he said. Zarankin explained that people in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cultures have a more direct communication style. "For example, they are less politically correct."

The management professor, who also conducts research on cultural issues, noted people in the United States are "somewhere in the middle" in terms of open communications, noting that Israel, Zarankin's home county, Greece and Spain tend to be more direct, whereas individuals from Asian countries can be less direct for fear of being "hurtful" to others or "stepping outside their rank."

Zarankin, who's Ph.D. in management organizational behavior "is heavily based on social psychology," he said, noted the principals developed from his research findings apply to all types of negotiations, not just business deals. He also noted many types of negotiations, such as discussions involving international relations and even hostage situations, will have their own unique issues.

Zarankin's article originally was published in the May 2012 issue of Negotiation and Conflict Management Research.

Psychology Progress in an online publication designed to provide its readers "the latest and most significant research in all areas of psychology."

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Aug 13, 2013
Chad Osborne
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