Cognitive Dissonance in Negotiation: Free Choice or Counter-Attitudinal Justification?
29 Pages Posted: 12 Jul 2006
Previous research suggests that negotiators inflate their valuation for offers they make and devalue offers they choose not to make due to the psychological process of cognitive dissonance reduction. Research outside of the negotiation context suggests that cognitive dissonance is induced either by being forced to choose among relatively equal options or by having to justify a counter-attitudinal position. A negotiation involves both choice and justification, so it is unclear which process is responsible for inducing cognitive dissonance or preference inflation. We present two studies in which the effect of choosing an opening offer is disentangled from the effects of justifying that choice. Findings indicate that choice and justification have an additive effect on negotiator preference change. We discuss implications of these results for cognitive dissonance theory and the practice of negotiation.
Keywords: Cognitive dissonance, reactance, free-choice, counter-attitudinal justification, negotiation, conflict resolution
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