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Moral obstinacy makes compromising difficult

Liberals in political negotiations more generous than Conservatives





If morality is key political negotiations tend to be more aggressive and less open for compromise – regardless if the negotiators represent extreme positions or belong to the moderates. And it is worth to state that morality does not bear any ideological mark: neither the left nor the right political spectrum have taken a lease on moral alone. Liberal voters are apparently more generous in their offers to negotiate than conservatives, though. These are the results of three consecutive US-studies where insights of behavioral economics and moral psychology are combined for the first time. The researchers do point out explicitly that according to these findings high morale paradoxically might impede a core principle of representative democracies – the negotiation of opposing political claims.

Moral obstinacy in Political Negotiations, Delton/DeScioli/Ryan, In: Political Psychology, July 28th, 2019.




From the practice:

Pragmatism versus morality? Ist his the game? No. I do believe, everybody needs both. If people with high moral standards and strong ethical claims actually forgo all compromises possible and obstinately keep maintaining their ground, they would be isolated very quickly and would not be closer to their aims in any way. The Brexit chaos can be mentioned as a very realistic example here.

In my coachings with clients from the political area we elaborate on the highly individualized boundaryline between compromise and self-denial. Frankly speaking, this is not always an easy task, and in my opinion there is never a general solution for all. But I´ve got one key learning out of these types of cooperation: If you have to compromise please communicate your deal transparently and tell why it was your preferred choice. This is in any case more credible than hushing up the background and to pretend there have never been ethical values of yours ever since.

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