Are you too powerful for your own good?

Author: Mendoza College

Management Professor Ann Tenbrunsel has researched the hidden liabilities of power during negotiations and warns against over-confidence at the bargaining table.

In recent research, Tenbrunsel and a colleague found that negotiators who were perceived as powerful tended to undervalue the relative strength of their counterparts in a bargaining session. They also argue that powerful negotiators have trouble correctly judging the interests of others, receive less accurate information than low-power negotiators and tend to analyze the information they do receive less thoroughly.

In another study, negotiators who were perceived as powerful were held to higher ethical and moral standards than others. Yet, at the same time, their position of strength often encouraged untrustworthy behavior, harsh judgments and competitive moves from their weaker adversaries.

To avoid having your power work against you in negotiations, Tenbrunsel suggest that you take a broad view of power, thoroughly prepare for negotiations and refrain from forcing an outcome by letting objective data speak for themselves for finding a neutral party to deliver proposed solutions.

To learn more about Professor Ann Tenbrunsel’s research, visit