When control does not pay off: The dilemma between trade-off opportunities and budget restrictions in B2B negotiations

Research output: Journal contributionsJournal articlesResearchpeer-review


Practitioners in business-to-business (B2B) organizations often report difficulties to reach mutually beneficial outcomes in their buyer-seller negotiations—a finding that contrasts with researchers’ expectations based on the favorable preconditions B2B negotiations provide. In this conceptual article, we argue that this researcher-practitioner gap is due to a structural dilemma: On the one hand, B2B negotiations offer specific trade-off opportunities across multiple dimensions (i.e., issues, time periods, markets, and business partners). On the other hand, rigid financial budgets resulting from management control systems constrain negotiators’ necessary flexibility to exploit these opportunities. We propose that negotiators translate financial budgets into negotiation limits. Depending on the structure of these budgets, negotiators set one superordinate limit or multiple subordinate limits, which either maximize or restrain their ability to realize tradeoffs. We outline future-research opportunities for extending the negotiation literature by investigating multidimensional tradeoffs and different types of limits. We conclude with recommendations on how B2B negotiators can overcome their dilemma.

Translated title of the contributionWenn sich Kontrolle nicht auszahlt: Das Dilemma zwischen Trade-off Möglichkeiten und Budgetrestriktionen in B2B-Verhandlunegn
Original languageEnglish
JournalNegotiation and Conflict Management Research
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)240-263
Number of pages24
Publication statusPublished - 06.04.2022

Bibliographical note

Special Issue: Lessons for Practice: Extensions to Current Negotiation Theory and Research.
Copyright and Copying© 2022 the International Association for Conflict Management. Rights are held to the Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial International 4.0 (CC BY NC 4.0) license.

    Research areas

  • Management studies - Business planning, Budgeting, Negotiation, B2B
  • Psychology - Integrative negotiation, Limits, Outcome potential, Tradeoffs