Publication Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

11-2016

Abstract

We challenge the assumption that having multiple alternatives is always better than a single alternative by showing that negotiators who have additional alternatives ironically exhibit downward-biased perceptions of their own and their opponent’s reservation price, make lower demands, and achieve worse outcomes in distributive negotiations. Five studies demonstrate that the apparent benefits of multiple alternatives are elusive because multiple alternatives led to less ambitious first offers (Studies 1–2) and less profitable agreements (Study 3). This distributive disadvantage emerged because negotiators’ perception of the bargaining zone was more distorted when they had additional (less attractive) alternatives than when they only had a single alternative (Studies 1–3). We further found that this multiple-alternatives disadvantage only emerges when negotiators used quantitative (versus qualitative) evaluation standards to gauge the extremity of their offers (Study 4), and when they base their offers on their own numerical alternative(s) versus on opponent information (Study 5).

Keywords

Negotiations, Alternatives, Multiple alternatives, BATNA, Bargaining zone, First offer, Power, Anchoring, Scale distortion

Discipline

Organizational Behavior and Theory | Organization Development

Research Areas

Organisational Behaviour and Human Resources

Publication

Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes

Volume

137

First Page

156

Last Page

171

ISSN

0749-5978

Identifier

10.1016/j.obhdp.2016.09.001

Publisher

Elsevier

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Additional URL

http://doi.org/10.1016/j.obhdp.2016.09.001

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