Integrative and distributive negotiation in small groups: Effects of task structure, decision rule, and social motive

Bianca Beersma*, Carsten K W De Dreu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticle


This study examined the interactive effects of task structure, decision rule, and social motive on small-group negotiation processes and outcomes. Three-person groups negotiated either within an asymmetrical task structure (in which a majority of group members have compatible interests) or within a symmetrical task structure (in which no such majority exists). Groups negotiated either under unanimity rule or under majority rule, and group members were either egoistically or prosocially motivated. Results revealed cumulative main effects and the predicted three-way interaction: Groups in an asymmetrical task structure engaged in more distributive and less integrative behavior, reached lower joint outcomes, and experienced a less positive group climate especially when they had an egoistic rather than prosocial motivation and unanimity rather than majority rule applied. Theoretical implications and avenues for future research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)227-252
Number of pages26
JournalOrganizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2002



  • Decision rule
  • Group negotiation
  • Social motive
  • Task structure

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