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Multiple Equivalent Simultaneous Offers Reduce the Negotiator Dilemma: How a Choice of First Offers Increases Individual and Joint Outcomes
Keywords: negotiation, choice, anchoring, first offers, agreement sincerity, initial recipient-value
Abstract: The tension that negotiators face between claiming and creating value is particularly apparent when exchanging offers. We tested whether presenting a choice among first offers (Multiple Equivalent Simultaneous Offers; MESOs) reduces this negotiator dilemma and increases individual and joint economic outcomes by shaping the kinds of counteroffers recipients generate. Two experiments comparing MESOs to a single package-offer revealed two effects. First, MESOs produced stronger anchors: recipients generated counteroffers closer in position to the first offer, producing better proposals for the offerer, because recipients perceived MESOs as a more sincere attempt at reaching an agreement (agreement sincerity). Second, recipients generated more integrative counteroffers because MESOs exposed them to an economically more attractive starting point for themselves (initial recipient-value). Evidence also indicated some suppression between the two effects. Overall, MESOs reduced the negotiator dilemma for offerers, allowing them to claim and create, by also reducing the perception of dilemma for recipients.