Negotiation Drama: Strategic Umbrage, Line-Crossing Illusion and Assertiveness Biases

Daniel R Ames

Daniel R Ames

Assertiveness style, and matching assertiveness style to specific situations, can determine success as a leader and negotiator, according to Columbia University’s Daniel Ames and Abbie Wazlawek.

Abbie Wazlawek

Abbie Wazlawek

Earlier, Ames and Stanford’s Frank Flynn reported that moderate levels of assertiveness are associated with career advancement, and with effective negotiation and influence in conflict situations.
In addition, they found that most observers provided consistent ratings of managerial under-assertiveness and over-assertiveness.

Francis Flynn

Francis Flynn

However, most people do not accurately assess others’ evaluation of their assertiveness calibration and alignment to specific situations.
Over-assertive individuals tend to have less-accurate self-perception than less assertive people, and both groups experience “self-awareness blindness.
These inaccurate self-perceptions may develop from polite yet inaccurate feedback from others, which provides faulty information.

A frequently-employed negotiation tactic is overly-dramatic emotional verbalizations during negotiations.
More than 80% of participants reported that they had expressed greater objections than they actually felt to influence the negotiation partner, and a different 80% of volunteers said they observed exaggerated objections by their negotiation partners.

Daniel Ames AssertivenessParticipants in Ames and Watzlawek’s studies reported whether they or their counterpart used these excessive emotional displays in negotiation role-plays.
In addition, they rated their own and their negotiation partner’s assertiveness styles.

Self-awareness resulted in most favorable negotiation results: More than 80% of negotiators rated by others and by themselves as “appropriately assertive in the situation” negotiated a deal that provided greatest value to both parties.

Ames Assertiveness U CurveStrategic umbrage also appeared effective:  People who received strategic umbrage displays by their negotiation partners were more likely to rate themselves as over-assertive in their negotiation position, even though the counterpart rated the assertiveness as appropriate to the situation.
Ames and Watzlawek called this misperception of others’ perceptions the line-crossing illusion.

Just 40% of negotiators rated as appropriately assertive but experienced the line-crossing illusion negotiated the best possible deal for themselves and their counterparts, suggesting that disingenuous emotional displays of strategic umbrage lead negotiators to seek the first acceptable deal, rather than pushing for an optimal deal.

Jeffrey Kern

Jeffrey Kern

To improve accuracy of meta-perception of other people’s perception of assertiveness style, Ames and Wazlawek suggested:

  • Participate in 360 degree feedback
  • Increase skill in listening for content and meaning
  • Consider whether the positions discussed in negotiation are “reasonable” in the situation in light of comparable alternatives and options
  • Request feedback on “strategic umbrage” reactions, to better understand additional factors that modify perceptions of “offer reasonableness
  • Evaluate costs and benefits of specific assertiveness styles
    Gary Yukl

    Gary Yukl

    Over-assertiveness may provide the benefit of “claiming value” in a negotiation or achieving a goal, but the cost may be ruptured interpersonal relationships and a legacy of ill-will, according to Jeffrey M Kern of Texas A&M as well as SUNY’s Cecilia Falbe and Gary Yukl

  • Consider cultural norms for assertiveness regulation In “low context” cultures like Israel, dramatic displays are frequent and expected in negotiations
    In contrast, “high context” cultures like Japan require more nuanced assertiveness, with fewer direct disagreements and “strategic umbrage” displays, according to Edward T. Hall, then of the U.S. Department of State.
Edward T Hall

Edward T Hall

Likewise, under-assertiveness may benefit by minimizing interpersonal conflict, but may lead to poorer negotiation outcomes and undermined credibility when interacting with counterparts in future, according to Ames’ related research.

To augment a less assertiveness style:

  • Set slightly higher goals
  • Reconsider assumptions that greater assertion leads to conflict and interpersonal dislike, and consider that proactivity may lead to increased respect and improved outcomes
  • Collaborate with more others to observe, evaluate the outcomes

To modulate a more assertiveness style:

  • Make slight concessions to increase rapport and trust with others
  • Collaborate with less assertive others to note, assess the impact

The line-crossing illusion is an example of a self-perception bias in which personal ratings of behavior may not match other people’s perceptions, and others’ behaviors can attenuate individual confidence and assertiveness.

*How do you reduce the risk of developing the line-crossing illusion in response to other people’s displays of “strategic umbrage”?

*How do you match your degree of assertiveness to negotiation situations?

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Brief Aerobic Exercise Increases Attention, Reading Performance

Michele Tine

Michele Tine

As little as 12 minutes of aerobic exercise increased selective attention and reading comprehension scores for low-income young adults at a highly selective, ”academically elite” (“Ivy League”) US undergraduate university, reported Dartmouth College’s Michele T. Tine and Allison G. Butler of Bryant University.

Alison Butler

Alison Butler

Even these highly-skilled participants, admitted to one of the US’s top academic institutions, had significantly different scores on Selective Visual Attention (SVA) and reading comprehension pre-test tasks, depending on their socio-economic status.

Courtney Stevens

Courtney Stevens

Selective Visual Attention (SVA) is the ability to focus on visual targets while ignoring irrelevant stimuli, and an Executive Function” (EF) required for academic and on-the-job learning, according to University of Oregon’s Courtney Stevens and Daphne Bavelier of University of Rochester.

Specifically, selective attention predicts skills in:

according to University of Oregon’s Stevens with Brittni Lauinger and Helen Neville.

Daniel Hackman

Daniel Hackman

Executive Functions, like Selective Visual Attention (SVA,) are positively correlated to socioeconomic status, found University of Pennsylvannia’s Daniel A Hackman and Martha J Farah, indicating that people with financial advantages often perform better on Executive Function tasks than people from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Eric Zillmer

Eric Zillmer

One well-validated measure of Selective Visual Attention (SVA) is the d2 Test of Attention, rapid trials of a manual letter cancellation task, developed by Rolf Brickenkamp and Eric Zillmer of Drexel University.
Participants Tine and Butler’s investigation indicated when they observed the target character among visual distractors.

John Best

John Best

One intervention to increase Executive Function skills, including Selective Visual Attention (SVA) is aerobic exercise, according to University of British Columbia’s John Best.

James Williams

James Williams

In addition to increasing Executive Functions, aerobic exercise increases levels of cortisol and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF).
These elements are associated with cognitive performance including Selective Visual Attention (SVA), reported Texas Tech’s Lee T Ferris and Chwan-Li Shen with James S Williams of Texas State University, as well as University of Dublin’s Eadaoin W. Griffin, Sinead Mulally, Carole Foley, Stuart A. Warmington, Shane M. O’Mara, and Aine M. Kelly.

Éadaoin W Griffin

Éadaoin W Griffin

Likewise, stress increases levels of cortisol, and lower-income people tend to experience more chronic stress, leading to higher levels of cortisol, according to Northwestern’s Edith Chen and Gregory E. Miller with Sheldon Cohen of Carnegie, and separately by Cornell University’s Gary Evans and Michelle Schamberg.

Edith Chen

Edith Chen

Tine and Butler investigated these diverse findings by asking volunteers to:

Gary Evans

Gary Evans

Items include:

  • My parent was fired from his/her job
  • I was a victim of a crime
  • A close friend or family member had health problems
  • My parents divorced or separated
  • I had problems being liked by classmates

Participants also completed three reading comprehension tasks from Sharon Weiner Green and Ira K. Wolf’s GRE Preparation items.

Douglas Williamson

Douglas Williamson

After 45 minutes, participants monitored heart rate to ensure that it was within 10 beats per minute of pre-test measures of resting heart rate.
Brief aerobic exercise sessions eliminated the gap between “Executive Function” performance scores for talented volunteers from lower-income and high-income backgrounds.

Lower-income participants who exercised aerobically had reading comprehension scores comparable to their higher-income counterparts, around 90%,
Likewise, people who exercised significantly improved Selective Visual Attention (SVA) scores, but the video-viewers’ scores did not change, suggesting that exercise was the “active ingredient” in these performance improvements.

In addition, volunteers who exercised and reported higher chronic stress level achieved higher SVA scores and greater SVA score improvement than those who reported less chronic stress.
Cognitive performance improvements were maintained 45 minutes after exercise.

These findings suggest aerobic exercise as an effective, low-cost intervention to reduce achievement differences between people from lower-income and more affluent backgrounds, and this could contribute to increasing the number of diverse applicants in selective higher education settings and skilled employment – as well as increasing endurance, cardiac health, and reducing stress.

-*How have you seen workplaces encourage participation in aerobic exercise for the next generation of potential employees as well as current employees?

-*Do organizations receive more benefit from reducing health care costs and health-related absences or from increasing attention, innovation, and productivity?

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Musical Training Enhances “Executive Functions” of Planned Behavior, Cognitive Performance

Jennifer Zuk

Jennifer Zuk

Christopher Benjamin

Christopher Benjamin

Musical training is associated with well-developed “executive functions (EF)” – the cognitive capacities that enable intentional, controlled behavior and strong academic performance, according to Harvard University’s Jennifer Zuk, Christopher Benjamin, Arnold Kenyon, and Nadine Gaab.

“Executive functions (EF)” include:

John Best

John Best

Executive functions are required for academic readiness and long-term achievement, according to University of British Columbia’s John R Best, Patricia H Miller of San Francisco State University, and University of Virginia’s Jack A Naglieri.

Specific activities improve EF skills, even among children:

  • Kimberley Lakes

    Kimberley Lakes

    Martial arts, found University of California, Irvine’s Kimberly D. Lakes and William Hoyt

  • Lisa Flook

    Lisa Flook

    Mindfulness training, shown in research by UCLA’s Lisa Flook, Susan L. Smalley, M. Jennifer Kitil, Brian M. Galla, Susan Kaiser-Greenland, Jill Locke, Eric Ishijima, and Connie Kasari

  • Laura Chaddock-Heyman

    Laura Chaddock-Heyman

    Physical exercise, noted by University of Illinois’s Laura Chaddock, Michelle W Voss, Matt VanPatter, Matthew B. Pontifex, Charles H. Hillman, Arthur Kramer with Kirk I Erickson of University of Pennsylvania and Ohio State’s Ruchika S Prakash.

Individuals with musical training demonstrate enhanced:

  • Lisianne Hoch

    Lisianne Hoch

    Mathematical achievement, found Auckland University of Technology’s Lisianne Hoch and Barbara Tillmann University of Lyon.

Zuk and team compared adult working musicians and non-musicians, as well as children with at least two years of musical training and those with no previous musical training on cognitive ability tests of verbal fluency, mental processing speed, and working memory.

Nadine Gaab

Nadine Gaab

Adult musicians showed enhanced performance on measures of cognitive flexibility, working memory, and verbal fluency, compared to non-musicians.

Children performed a separate mental task while their brains were scanned using fMRI technology, and musically-trained children showed enhanced performance on measures of verbal fluency and cognitive processing speed.

They also showed significantly greater activation in supplementary motor area (SMA), pre-supplementary area (pre-SMA), and ventrolateral prefrontal cortex (VLPFC) during rule representation and task-switching tasks, compared to musically-untrained children.

This research suggests that current trends to eliminate arts programs in public schools could have a negative impact on development of academic achievement and job-related cognitive skills.

By implication, musical training may correlate with strong performance in pre-professional intern experiences and long term job performance, and remains to be verified by researchers and job recruiters.

-*Have you observed a relationship between musical training and on-the-job performance?

-*To what extent do physical exercise, martial arts, and mindfulness training increase cognitive task performance?

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Premium Pay to Attract Diverse Women Candidates?

Companies must pay more to attract and hire women from diverse backgrounds because there are few qualified female and nonwhite candidates – and because these candidates are highly sought by employers.

Deborah Ashton

Deborah Ashton

Myth or reality?, asks Deborah Ashton of Novant Health.

Myth: American women earned significantly less than men, so it is unlikely that diverse women enjoy a salary advantage over men.

In fact, women in the U.S. earned $0.82 for every $1.00 earned by American men in 2013, up from $0.79 the year before, according to the 2012 Bureau of Labor Statistics earnings survey.

Daryl G. Smith

Daryl G. Smith

Nana Osei-Kofi

Nana Osei-Kofi

More education may not result in higher or even equitable salaries for African-American, white, and Hispanic women: The gender pay gap actually increases as when these women complete higher education levels.
In fact, workers with the least education actually experienced the least pay gap, but they are rewarded with “equal opportunity poverty.”

Sandra Richard Mayo

Sandra Richard Mayo

Men, regardless of race or ethnicity, earn more than women of any race when education level is held constant, except for Asian women with at least a Bachelor’s degree, who earned more than African-American men – the lowest-earning group of men.

Caroline Turner

Caroline Turner

These data and related studies reviewed by Claremont Graduate University’s Daryl G. Smith, Nana Osei-Kofi of Oregon State University, Azusa Pacific University’s Sandra Richards Mayo,  and Caroline S. Turner of Arizona State University, do not support claims that most diverse female candidates are paid more than men.

Patricia White

Patricia White

Likewise, Patricia E. White of the U.S. National Science Foundation, found no evidence for “bidding wars” to attract, hire and retain diverse women job candidates.

The gap in pay equity continues, and affects women across all ethnic and racial categories, with particularly adverse impact on Hispanic and African-American women. Deborah Ashton Table 1

-*How frequently have you encountered the myth of salary premiums to attract qualified diverse women and men job candidates?

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“Emotional Contagion” in the Workplace through Social Observation, Social Media

Many people have observed that emotions can be “contagious” between individuals, and can affect work group dynamics.

Douglas Pugh

Douglas Pugh

Emotional contagion is characterized by replicating and matching emotions displayed by others, and differs from empathy, which enables understanding another’s emotional experience without actually experiencing it, according to Virginia Commonwealth University’s S. Douglas Pugh.

Adam D I Kramer

Adam D I Kramer

In addition to direct interpersonal contact, “viral emotions” can be transmitted through social media platforms without observing nonverbal cues, according to Facebook’s Adam D. I. Kramer, Jamie E. Guillory of University of California, San Francisco and Cornell University’s Jeffrey T. Hancock, suggesting further impact of social media on workplace interpersonal relations and productivity.

Jeffrey Hancock

Jeffrey Hancock

They found that when positive emotional expressions in Facebook News Feeds were reduced, people produced fewer positive posts and more negative posts.
In contrast, when negative emotional expressions were reduced, the people reduced negative posts, indicating that people’s emotional expressions on a massive social media platform like Facebook influences others’ emotions and behaviors.

Sigal Barsade

Sigal Barsade

Much empirical evidence shows that people in task performance situations are influenced by observing others’ emotions.
One example is performance in a decision-making task changed after people observed a trained confederate enacting mood conditions, according to Wharton’s Sigal Barsade.
When participants observed positive emotions, they were more likely to cooperate and perform better on group decision-making tasks.

People who tend to be more influenced by others’ emotions on R. William Doherty’s Emotional Contagion Scale also reported greater:

  • Reactivity
  • Emotionality
  • Sensitivity to others
  • Social functioning
  • Self-esteem
  • Emotional empathy

They also reported lower:

  • Alienation
  • Self-assertiveness
  • Emotional stability
Stanley Schachter

Stanley Schachter

Likelihood of being influenced by others emotions increases when individuals feel threated, which increases affiliation with others, according to Stanley Schachter‘s emotional similarity hypothesis.

Brooks B Gump

Brooks B Gump

This link between mimicking others’ emotions and perceived threat increases when people believe that others are also threatened, found Syracuse University’s Brooks B. Gump and James A. Kulik of University of California, San Diego.

Elaine Hatfield

Elaine Hatfield

Women in diverse roles (physicians, Marines, and students) reported greater emotional contagion of both positive and negative emotions on Doherty’s Emotional Contagion Scale.
Observers also rated these women as experiencing greater emotional contagion than men in research by Doherty with University of Hawaii colleagues Lisa Orimoto, Elaine Hatfield, Janine Hebb, and Theodore M. Singelis of California State University-Chico.

James Laird

James Laird

Further, people who are more likely to “catch” emotions from other are also more likely to actually feel emotions associated with facial expressions they adopt, reported Clark University’s James D. Laird, Tammy Alibozak, Dava Davainis, Katherine Deignan, Katherine Fontanella, Jennifer Hong, Brett Levy, and Christine Pacheco.
This finding suggests that those with greater susceptibility to emotional contagion are convincing actors – to themselves, and maybe others.

Christopher K. Hsee

Christopher K. Hsee

Contrary to expectation, people with greater power tend to pay more attention to and adopt emotions of people with less power, found University of Hawaii’s Christopher K. Hsee, Hatfield, and John G. Carlson with Claude Chemtob of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Participants adopted the role of “teacher” or “learner” to simulate role-based power differential, then were videotaped as they observed a videotape of a fictitious participant discussing an emotional experience.
Volunteers described emotions they experienced as they watched the confederate describe a “happiest” and “saddest” life event.
This finding indicates that leaders are more attuned to followers’ emotions than previously anticipated.

The service industry capitalizes on emotional contagion by training staff members to model positive emotions based on the assumption that positive emotions increase customer satisfaction and continued business.

James Kulik

James Kulik

In fact, customers were more influence by  service quality than employees’ positive emotion in determining customers’ satisfaction, according to Bowling Green State’s Patricia B. Barger and Alicia A. Grandey of Pennsylvania State University.

Positive emotional contagion has been used to advantage in sales, services, and health care settings, and can positively or negatively resonate through work organizations with impact on employee attitude, morale, engagement, and even customer service, safety, and innovation.

-*How do you intentionally model and convey emotions to individuals and group members?
-*What strategies do you use to manage susceptibility to “emotional contagion”?

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What Evidence Supports Coaching to Increase Goal Achievement, Performance?

Life coaching services are increasingly offered by people with various credentials and experience.
-*How effective are life coaching services in helping participants achieve goals and improve performance?

Anthony Grant

Anthony Grant

Coaching is a collaborative, solution-focused, result-oriented systematic process during which coaches facilitate coachees’ self-directed learning, personal growth, and goal attainment, according to University of Sydney’s Anthony Grant, who has conducted empirical research on coaching’s impact on goal achievement.

Anthony Grant modelHe integrated practices from solution-focused and cognitive-behavioral interventions into Solution-Focused Cognitive-Behavioral (SF-CB) Coaching and a “Coach Yourself” program with Jane Greene, then evaluated these programs using his Self-Reflection and Insight Scale.

Developed with Macquarie University colleagues John Franklin and Peter Langford, they found that participants in the Solution-Focused Cognitive-Behavioral (SF-CB) coaching reported increased:

John Franklin

John Franklin

Other research-based evidence of coaching’s impact on goal attainment comes from two types of studies:

  • Randomized Controlled Trials (RCT), in which participants are assigned at random to receive one of several interventions compared with no intervention, a comparison intervention, or an unrelated intervention
  • Peter Langford

    Peter Langford

    Quasi-Experimental Field Studies (QEFS), which uses “time series analysis” but not random participants assignment when measuring outcomes.

Evidence from Randomized Controlled Trials (RCT) are considered most credible, particularly when findings are replicated by other researchers.

Linley Curtayne

Linley Curtayne

Evidence of coaching’s impact among executives who received 360-degree feedback and four coaching sessions for over ten weeks, from Randomized Controlled Trials (RCT) includes:

C. RIck Snyder

C. RIck Snyder

Hope is considered crucial to pursue goals, according to University of Kansas’s C.R. Snyder, Scott T. Michael of University of Washington, and Ohio State’s Jennifer Cheavens, because individuals seeking change must be able to:

  • Develop one or more ways to achieve a goals (“pathways”)
  • Use these routes to reach the goal (“agency”)
Edward Deci - Richard Ryan

Edward Deci – Richard Ryan

Three additional elements are also crucial to goal pursuit and achievement, suggested University of Rochester’s Edward L. Deci and Richard M. Ryan:

  • Competence
  • Autonomy
  • Relatedness.

According to their Self-Determination Theory (SDT), these characteristics are associated with increased:

  • Goal motivation
  • Enhanced performance
  • Persistence
  • Mental health
Kristina Gyllensten

Kristina Gyllensten

The other category of research, Quasi-Experimental Field Studies (QEFS), reported that coaching for managers of a federal government increased:

  • Stephen Palmer

    Stephen Palmer

    • Decreased anxiety and stress among UK finance organization participants, in findings by Kristina Gyllensten and Stephen Palmer of City University London.

Despite the low “barriers to entry” for offering life coaching services, empirical evidence appears to validate coaching’s contribution to participants’ increased goal attainment along with additional subjective measures of satisfaction, well-being, and hope.

-*How do you “coach yourself” and others toward increased goal attainment and performance?

-*What are the “active ingredients” of effective coaching practices?

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Mindfulness Meditation Improves Decisions, Reduces Sunk-Cost Bias

Sigal Barsade

Sigal Barsade

Brief meditation sessions can reduce the tendency to base current decisions on past “sunk costs,” which are not relevant to the present choice, reported Wharton’s Sigal Barsade, with Andrew C. Hafenbrack and Zoe Kinias both of INSEAD.

Andrew Hafenbrack

Andrew Hafenbrack

Sunk-cost bias” is the prevalent tendency to continue unsuccessful actions after time and money have been invested.
Frequent examples include:

  • Holding poorly-performing stock market investments
  • Staying in abusive interpersonal relationships
  • Continuing failing military engagements.
Zoe Kinias

Zoe Kinias

In these cases, people tend to focus on past behaviors rather than current circumstances, leading to emotion-driven decision biases.

Meditation practices can:

  • Enable increased focus on the present moment
  • Shift attention away from past and future actions
  • Reduce negative emotions.
Kirk Brown

Kirk Brown

Barsade, Hafenbrack, and Kinias asked volunteers to complete Mindful Attention Awareness Scale, a widely used trait-mindfulness scale developed by Virginia Commonwealth University’s Kirk Brown and Richard Ryan of University of Rochester.

Richard Ryan

Richard Ryan

In addition, they measured participants’ ability to resist “sunk cost” bias using Adult Decision-Making Competence Inventory, developed by Leeds University’s Wändi Bruine de Bruin with Baruch Fischhoff of Carnegie Mellon and Andrew M. Parker of RAND Corporation.

Wändi Bruine de Bruin

Wändi Bruine de Bruin

In a decision task, participants could choose to take an action or to do nothing, as a measure of vulnerability to sunk-cost bias.
Propensity to take action indicated resistance to the sunk-cost bias, whereas those who took no action were seen as influenced by the sunk-cost bias.

Baruch Fischhoff

Baruch Fischhoff

Volunteers who listened to a 15-minute focused-breathing guided meditation were more likely to choose action and resist the sunk-cost bias than those who had not heard the meditation instruction.

Andrew M Parker

Andrew M Parker

Barsade’s team controlled for participants’ age and trait self-esteem, noting that, “People who mediated focused less on the past and future, which led to them experiencing less negative emotion. That helped them reduce the sunk-cost bias.

Jochen Reb

Jochen Reb

Mindful attention also enables negotiators to craft better deals by “claiming a larger share of the bargaining zone” in distributive (“fixed pie”) negotiations, found Singapore Management University’s Jochen Reb and Jayanth Narayanan affiliated with National University of Singapore as well as University of California, Hastings College of the Law’s Darshan Brach.
These effective negotiators also expressed greater satisfaction with the     negotiation process and outcome. 

JAYANTH NARAYANAN

JAYANTH NARAYANAN

Mindful attention also leads to a lower negativity bias, the tendency to weigh negative information more heavily than positive, reported Virginia Commonwealth University’s Laura G. Kiken and Natalie J. Shook of West Virginia University.

They assessed negativity bias with BeanFest, developed by Shook, with Ohio State’s Russell Fazio and J. Richard Eiser of University of Sheffield.

Natalie Shook

Natalie Shook

This computer game asks participants to associate novel stimuli with positive or negative outcomes during attitude formation exercises.

Russell Fazio

Russell Fazio

Volunteers who listened to a mindfulness induction correctly classified positive and negative stimuli more equally, expressed greater optimism, and demonstrated less negativity bias in attitude formation than those in the control condition.

J Richard Eiser

J Richard Eiser

Mindful attention improves decision-making and enhances negotiation outcomes by reducing biases linked to negative emotions.
As a result, taking a brief mental break (“time-out”) during decision-making can improve choices and reduce the likelihood that “let the wrong emotions cloud the decision-making process.”

-*How do you evoke reduce bias in making decisions and crafting negotiation proposals?

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