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The Relationship between Negotiations Success and Leadership Style


Both leadership and negotiations constitute key success factors for organisations. Previous studies on leadership suggest that leadership effectiveness differentiates successful organisations from others. Equally, negotiations success constitutes a key distinguishing factor separating developed countries from the developing and under-developed ones.

A perusal of available literature and previous research on leadership and negotiations reveals a historical tendency by writers and theoreticians to deal with these topics separately. Thus, while the two topics have each been researched extensively, the number of studies dealing with leadership and negotiations as concomitant variables in the same study is limited.

The current study investigated the relationship between negotiations success and leadership style. The study postulated that there was a positive relationship between negotiations success, which is defined as negotiator satisfaction levels with negotiated outcomes, and leadership style. Specifically, the study postulated that the use of the Blake and Mouton team leader style would account for the parties’ satisfaction levels with negotiated outcomes.

The study involved the application of two questionnaires to 156 negotiators with a history of involvement in annual wage and other negotiations. The first questionnaire tested the respondents’ leadership style in terms of the Blake and Mouton Leadership Grid. The second questionnaire is the Subjective Value Inventory (SVI) questionnaire developed by Curhan and colleagues. The SVI is a self-report questionnaire and measures negotiator satisfaction levels with the negotiated outcomes.

The multiple regression results from the analysis of variance (ANOVA and MANOVA), and other multivariate tests indicated that leadership style was a strong predictor of negotiations success. This research is one of a small number of studies that have investigated and revealed statistically significant relationships between negotiations success and leadership style. Thus, the study has theoretical, practical, and methodological implications.

NB:This is an abstract from a full paper that has been submitted to the 15th World Congress of the International Industrial Relations Association (IIRA) taking place in Australia in August 2009. The full paper will be posted on the IRasa website towards the end of the 2009.
Phatelang William Senoamadi
Tel: +27 11 344-0269
Fax: +27 11 522-5990
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People Management Department
Sasol Technology (Pty) Ltd
Department of Human Resources
University of Johannesburg


Dawie de Villiers
Professor Emeritus
University of Pretoria