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Regulatory Focus and Negotiation Initiation

Initiating the negotiation – making the first offer – is a powerful anchor in negotiations, but often overlooked by negotiators, who see putting forth selfish offers as potentially alienating to their counterpart. The present study sought to investigate the motivational antecedents of going first, using regulatory focus theory (Higgins, 1997) as a framework. We hypothesized individuals in a promotion focus are more likely to initiate the negotiation compared to those in a prevention focus because they are more tolerant of uncertainty and risk. In a study with 200 participants, experimentally induced with a promotion or prevention focus, regulatory focus did not predict their decision to go first in a negotiation scenario. However, tests of tolerance for uncertainty and risk propensity revealed some evidence indicating that people with a promotion focus were more tolerant of uncertainty and risk, and evidence replicated the finding that a promotion focus leads to more extreme opening offers.

Aqsa Dutli
University of Toronto - Scarborough Campus

Geoffrey Leonardelli
University of Toronto - St. George Campus


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