Promoting prevention success at the bargaining table: Regulatory focus in distributive negotiations
While promotion-focused individuals conceptualize goals as ideals and opportunities, prevention-focused individuals conceptualize goals as obligations and necessities. Due to these different goal conceptualizations, prevention-focused parties are expected to set the framework for agreements in distributive business-negotiations among parties with different regulatory foci: Specifically, we predict that prevention-focused negotiators reveal a high resistance to concede until their goals are met, but are willing to concede once their goals are fulfilled. In contrast, promotion-focused parties should adjust their concession making to the best attainable outcomes, irrespective of their negotiation goals. Two studies supported these theoretical assumptions: Prevention-focused parties with goals located in the upper range (i.e., high goals) of the ‘zone of possible agreements’ (ZOPA; e.g., Sebenius, 1992) revealed a high resistance to concede. Hence, they outperformed promotion-focused counterparts—irrespective of whether the latter held low (Study 1) or equally high (Study 2) goals. Conversely, prevention-focused parties with goals located in the lower range of the ZOPA (i.e., low goals) revealed a lower resistance to concede. Hence, they were outperformed by their promotion-focused counterparts—irrespective of whether the latter held equally low (Study 1) or high (Study 2) goals. The findings are discussed with respect to the role of self-regulation and goal conceptualization in the context of negotiations.
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- Bazerman, Max H. & Magliozzi, Thomas & Neale, Margaret A., 1985. "Integrative bargaining in a competitive market," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 294-313, June.
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- Bottom, William P., 1998. "Negotiator Risk: Sources of Uncertainty and the Impact of Reference Points on Negotiated Agreements," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 76(2), pages 89-112, November.
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