Too Good to Be True - Suspicion-Based Rejections of Ultimatum Offers

19 Pages Posted: 25 Jan 2008

See all articles by Wolfgang Steinel

Wolfgang Steinel

Leiden University - Social and Organizational Psychology

Ilja van Beest

University of Amsterdam (UVA), Faculty of Social and Behavioral Sciences - Communication Science Department

Eric van Dijk

Leiden University

Date Written: 2007

Abstract

Prior research on negotiation and especially ultimatum bargaining has shown that fear of rejection may induce bargainers make high offers. In the current study we show that there is a limit to the beneficial effects of making high offers and that becoming to generous may backfire. participants were recipients in a variant of the Ultimatum Bargaining Game (UBG) in which only the allocator knew the amount of money that had to be distributed. The allocator then informed the participant that the pot contained 12 euros and offered the recipient either 5 euros (self-serving offer), 6 euros (equal offer), or 7 euros (altruistic offer). Results showed that altruistic offers roused more suspicion about the ommunicated pot size than self-serving and equal offers. Moreover, participants rejected self-serving and altruistic offers more often than equal offers. Subsequent analyses showed that these effects were explained by raised suspicion. Taken together, these results show that recipients in an UBG reject offers when they feel exploited and support our reasoning that bargainers may become suspicious that they are exploited when an altruistic offer appears too good to be true.

Suggested Citation

Steinel, Wolfgang and van Beest, Ilja and van Dijk, Eric, Too Good to Be True - Suspicion-Based Rejections of Ultimatum Offers (2007). IACM 2007 Meetings Paper. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1087336 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1087336

Wolfgang Steinel (Contact Author)

Leiden University - Social and Organizational Psychology ( email )

Leiden, 2300 RA
Netherlands

Ilja Van Beest

University of Amsterdam (UVA), Faculty of Social and Behavioral Sciences - Communication Science Department ( email )

Kloveniersburgwal 48
Amsterdam, 1012 CX
Netherlands
+31(0)20 525 2110 (Phone)

Eric van Dijk

Leiden University ( email )

Postbus 9500
Leiden, 2300 RA
Netherlands

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