Alcohol helps negotiate?

In many countries, including Russia and the countries of East Asia, business negotiations often involve the use of alcohol. Does it help or hinder the business process?

Alcohol helps negotiate?

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To drink or not to drink? To answer this question, the Chinese and Singaporean economists have decided to conduct an experiment 1, for participation in which invited 114 people. The subjects were divided into pairs and offered to play a game that simulates the negotiations. Before each round of participants was granted a certain amount (from $ 1 to $ 10), and only the participant knew how much money he received. In each round, the partners could leave the entire amount themselves or agree to "invest" in its general fund. If both partners agree to it, to the total amount it adds another 20%, and then the money shared equally.

In these circumstances, if one of the participants received in the early rounds of a relatively large amount of it and decided to put her "in a common cause," he ventured finally be in the red if his partner has received and invested much less. Therefore, initially the majority of participants agreed to invest only if they received a small sum - because they are almost no risk, while having the chance to increase their investments. After several rounds of the game, they began to understand how to operate their partner, and could change its strategy.

under the influence of alcohol a person less susceptible to rational arguments and tend to make decisions under the influence of emotions

Before the game, the researchers gave the part of the subjects to drink a small glass of beer (350 ml), and the rest was offered juice instead of beer. It was found when both partners drank alcohol on the game, they were able to negotiate much more likely to lay down their "capital".

As the authors of the study, it is not that alcohol increases the risk appetite, mood changes or increases the desire to do good work, but the fact that it reduces the suspicion, thus helping to negotiate.

However, not all scientists agree that drinking at the table - such a good idea. For example, a study by US psychologists, conducted in 2001, found that although alcohol does help build trust and reduce suspicion in relation to partners, while drunk negotiators are more aggressive, more likely to make mistakes and as a result may enter inefficient agreement 2.

Under the influence of alcohol a person less susceptible to rational argument, and is more inclined to make decisions under the influence of emotions. In addition, the drinking affects different people in different ways and can give preference to those negotiators who are less prone to drunkenness than is sometimes used by unscrupulous businessmen. On the other hand, is not very self-confident people alcohol can make the determination and give the opportunity to confront the psychological pressure from partners. As a result, the possible cons outweigh the pros rather "alcoholic negotiations", and if you do decide to skip the glass for a business lunch, to "break the ice" when we first met, do so in moderation.

1 J. Zhang J. et al. "Deal or no deal? The effect of alcohol drinking on bargaining ", Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, vol. 127, July 2016.

2 M. Schweitzer & L. Gomberg "The Impact of Alcohol on Negotiator Behavior: Experimental Evidence", Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 2001, vol. 31, № 10.