Emotional reactions to variations in contract language
Menches, Cindy L.
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This article introduces a theory of emotion-driven behavior in construction contracting and provides support for this theory by presenting the quantitative results of a study on the emotional reaction of individuals to the language in contract clauses. Four different versions of the standard Delay Clause found in most construction contracts were extracted from four different contracts and were presented to a group of 27 individuals. Participants rank ordered the clause versions from 1 (most negative) to 4 (most positive). Overall, Clause Version 2 was ranked as having the most negative contract language, with nearly 75% of the participants ranking it as most negative. In contrast, Clause Version 4 was ranked as having the most positive contract language, with over 50% of the participants ranking it as most positive. Participants likewise selected negative emotion words to describe their reaction to Clause Version 2 and positive emotion words to describe their reaction to Clause Version 4. The findings suggest that contract clauses that contain negative language do tend to generate negative emotional reactions while positive contract language do tend to generate positive emotional reactions.