Give and take frames in shared-resource negotiations

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Negotiations that involve contributions or distributions of shared resources are ubiquitous. However, the empirical literature has predominantly focused on how parties negotiate the exchange of exclusive resources in transaction negotiations (e.g., buyer- seller negotiations) and ignored shared-resource negotiations. We develop a novel negotiation task to investigate how parties resolve conflicts over the contribution versus distribution of resources via negotiations. We propose that when parties negotiate the allocations of shared resources, their exclusive ownership becomes the dominant reference point in the negotiation which induces reference-dependent frames throughout the negotiation process. Whereas negotiating contributions should induce give frames that highlight losses, negotiating distributions should induce take frames that highlight gains. These different allocation frames should, therefore, distinctly affect parties’ tradeoff aversion (i.e., willingness to trade off exclusive resources against shared resources), their allocation behaviors, and the quality of the final negotiation agreements. We further predict that these effects of give and take frames should be reversed when negotiating burdens. Across two preliminary and one preregistered, incentivized, and interactive negotiation experiments, we show that parties reach less integrative agreements when they have to contribute their own benefits to the shared ownership (i.e., inducing a give frame that highlights losses) than when they have to distribute benefits into their exclusive ownership (i.e., inducing a take frame that highlights gains). For negotiating the allocations of burdens, this finding reversed and parties reached less integrative agreements when they had to distribute burdens to the exclusive ownership (i.e., inducing a take frame that highlights losses) than when they had to contribute own burdens to shared ownership (i.e., inducing a give frame that highlights gains). Our findings suggest that parties’ aversion against tradeoffs prevents negotiators from reaching integrative agreements. The present studies are among the first to systematically elucidate negotiation processes over the contribution versus distribution of shared resources and point towards future research pathways to overcome reference-dependent biases.
Original languageEnglish
Article number102492
JournalJournal of Economic Psychology
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - 01.06.2022

Bibliographical note

This research was supported by a grant from the German Research Foundation (DFG; TR 565/6-1) awarded to the last author RT.

    Research areas

  • Psychology - conflict management, Negation, Give and take frames, Shared resources, Reference-dependent framing, Tradeoff aversion, Negotiation