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Published by: Harvard Business Publishing
Published in: 1997

Abstract

For the past quarter-century, the field of social cognition has documented a number of ways in which individuals and groups are prone to make characteristic errors when judging others. This note examines the ways in which these tendencies pose difficulties for negotiation and conflict resolution, by exaggerating differences between people, and by exacerbating the conflict escalation cycle. This part emphasizes the problem of partisan perceptions. In addition to reviewing basic research in these areas, including a discussion of "naive realism," a number of organizational examples are used to illustrate the various phenomena. Finally, prescriptions on how to avoid these problems are offered.

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Abstract

For the past quarter-century, the field of social cognition has documented a number of ways in which individuals and groups are prone to make characteristic errors when judging others. This note examines the ways in which these tendencies pose difficulties for negotiation and conflict resolution, by exaggerating differences between people, and by exacerbating the conflict escalation cycle. This part emphasizes the problem of partisan perceptions. In addition to reviewing basic research in these areas, including a discussion of "naive realism," a number of organizational examples are used to illustrate the various phenomena. Finally, prescriptions on how to avoid these problems are offered.

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