This research takes a new perspective on the longstanding mystery of personality in negotiation, which has been met with decades of null and inconsistent findings. Grounded in interactionist theories of personality, the investigation had two complementary phases. In the inductive phase (Study 1), the authors generated a list of fine-grained negotiation behavioral processes that have been explored in past work, and established which ones were consistent at the individual level from one encounter to the next. Examining the consistent behaviors that predicted negotiation performance, a major theme emerged: Asserting the Self. The deductive phase (Study 2) brought the investigation full circle into the realm of personality traits. Grounded in the inductive theme that emerged in Study 1, a cluster of lower-order personality factors was chosen, and these thematically-related traits were unusually strong predictors of negotiation performance. The higher-order big five personality traits were not similarly good predictors. We conclude that there are meaningful associations between personality and negotiation performance, particularly when examining theoretically-derived clusters of traits based on the behaviors that are both effective and consistent across individuals.
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