Cognitive Dissonance in Negotiation: Free Choice or Counter-Attitudinal Justification?

29 Pages Posted: 12 Jul 2006

See all articles by Corinne Bendersky

Corinne Bendersky

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Human Resources & Organizational Behavior (HROB) Area

Jared R. Curhan

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management

Abstract

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

Suggested Citation

Bendersky, Corinne and Curhan, Jared R., Cognitive Dissonance in Negotiation: Free Choice or Counter-Attitudinal Justification?. IACM 2006 Meetings Paper. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=913655 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.913655

Corinne Bendersky (Contact Author)

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Human Resources & Organizational Behavior (HROB) Area ( email )

Los Angeles, CA 90095-1481
United States

Jared R. Curhan

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management ( email )

50 Memorial Drive, E52-554
Cambridge, MA 02142
United States
617-253-5219 (Phone)
617-253-2660 (Fax)

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