Journal Article

Precise offers as barriers to entry in negotiations

Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes
Alice J. Lee, David D. Loschelder, Martin Schweinsberg, Malia F. Mason, Adam D. Galinsky
Subject(s): Human resources management/organizational behavior
Keyword(s): Anchor precision, negotiation entry, barriers-to-entry, first offers, social attribution, decision making

Precise first offers strongly anchor negotiation outcomes. This precision advantage has been previously documented only when the parties were already engaged in a negotiation. We introduce the concept of negotiation entry, i.e., the decision to enter a negotiation with a particular party. We predict that precise prices create barriers-to-entry, reducing a counterpart’s likelihood of entering a negotiation. Six studies (N=1,580) and one archival analysis of real estate sector data (N=11,214) support our barrier-to-entry prediction: Potential negotiators were less likely to enter a negotiation with precise versus round first offers. Using both statistical mediation and experimental-causal-chain analyses, we establish that perceptions of offer maker inflexibility underlie the precision barrier. Furthermore, we demonstrate that this inflexibility mechanism of precision is distinct from the mechanism (being offended) that creates barriers-to-entry for extreme first offers. The discussion theoretically integrates research on first-offer precision and extremity by offering the Precision-Extremity Model of First Offers.

With permission of Elsevier