Publication Type

Magazine Article

Publication Date



The conventional wisdom about negotiating — whether for a job salary or the price of a house — is that you’re better positioned to get what you want when you have more offers to leverage. For example, the more job offers an MBA graduate has, the better positioned they are to get a good deal with a recruiter. If you’re considering multiple options, your counterpart may feel pressured to make a better offer to keep you at the negotiation table. As our research shows, however, having alternative offers does not always help you. In a series of experiments, we found that walking into a negotiation with multiple offers, rather than a single one, can bias your decisions and lead you to make a lower first offer, hurting your ability to negotiate for the outcome you want. We conducted five studies, involving 1,527 MBA students, undergraduates, and online participants, all with different levels of negotiating experience, in a variety of negotiation settings. Our paper was recently published in Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes.


Negotiations, alternatives, options, outcomes


Organizational Behavior and Theory

Research Areas

Organisational Behaviour and Human Resources


Harvard Business Review




Harvard Business Review

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.