The influence of peer collaboration of interpersonal negotiation strategies



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Texas Tech University


Although researchers have explored the advantages of collaborative interactions on several tasks, the present study examined the process and utility of peer collaboration in relation to the development of social reasoning skills. The Interpersonal Negotiation Strategies Interview (Schultz, Yeates, & Selman, 1989) was used to examine the effects of peer collaboration on a social reasoning task. Sixty male college undergraduates (mean age =18.9 years, range = 18.1 - 20.8 years) were randomly assigned to either an individual or collaborative condition. Within a pretest-posttest design, the ability to generate Interpersonal Negotiation Strategies (INSs)was measured. Subjects in the individual condition (n = 20) worked independently throughout the study while subjects in the collaborative condition (n = 40) were paired during the second session and encouraged to work with one another. All participants were asked to solve a series of standard questions regarding dilemmas of interpersonal conflict. Results indicated increased social reasoning levels for the collaborative condition but not for the individual condition. Increases were found not only when the collaborative condition worked together but also when they worked individually. Examinations of communication and skill level differences did not differentiate between higher and lower performing pairs. Although dyads with the lowest initial social reasoning levels scored less than the individual condition at the pretest session, they improved significantly during the interaction session to score higher than the participants from the individual condition. Examinations of contextual issues indicated that context significantly effects social reasoning both for individuals and dyads.