Authors: S. S. Komorita and David A. Kravitz

Title: The effects of alternatives in bargaining

Source: Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 15, 147-157. 1979.

Research in bargaining situations has shown that the outcomes obtained by the parties if agreement cannot be reached have significant effects on the nature of the agreement. However, no previous study has attempted to determine the precise nature of the relationship between such alternative outcomes and bargaining agreements. Groups of 2,3, and 4 undergraduate males were asked to negotiate the division of five prizes under two distributions of alternatives, and the predictions of three norms of reward division were compared. The Equal Excess norm specifies that each member receives the value of his alternative and that the excess (prize less sum of alternatives) is equally divided. This norm provided the best description of the data, but systematic errors of prediction were observed. The implications of the results for theories of coalition formation and for equity theory are discussed.

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