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2019 International Association for Conflict Management Conference

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Ethical Decision-Making in Phantom BATNA Situations

We study the ethicality of decisions by negotiators in situations where they have to make a decision to accept or reject an offer in hand before hearing back about one or more other opportunities (i.e., a potential but uncertain best alternative to a negotiated agreement or “phantom BATNA”). It is unethical to frame a phantom BATNA as a certain BATNA, but doing so enhances negotiator power perceptions and generates better negotiation outcomes. The present two studies examine whether decisions to misrepresent phantom BATNA information are influenced by the negotiator’s likelihood of obtaining their alternative offer (Studies 1 & 2) and by the negotiator’s dispositional promotion versus prevention orientation (i.e., regulatory focus; Study 2). Study 1 involves qualitative coding of negotiation messages from an archival dataset. Study 2 is an experimental study that includes a job offer negotiation simulation.

Shuqi Li
Michigan State University
United States

Donald Conlon
Michigan State University
United States

 


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