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Distributive Bargaining.doc

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Amanda Shantz

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Distributive Bargaining
There are at least two reasons that an ambitious opening offer anchoring effect
the observation that people who make decisions under uncertain conditions are influ-
enced by initial starting numbersis advantageous.
First, it gives the negotiator room for movement and therefore allows him or her time to
learn about the other party’s priorities. Second, an ambitious opening offer acts as a
metamessage and may create, in the other party’s mind, the impression that (1) there is
a long way to go before a reasonable settlement will be achieved, (2) more concessions
than originally intended may have to be made to bridge the difference between the two
opening positions, and (3) the other may have incorrectly estimated his or her own resis-
tance point.
Two disadvantages of an ambitious opening offer are that (1) it may be summarily re-
jected by the other party, and (2) it communicates an attitude of toughness that may be
harmful to long-term relationships.
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