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Tough guys finish last: the perils of a distributive reputation


Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes


Organisational Behaviour

Publishing details

Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes 2002 Vol 88:2 p 621-642

Authors / Editors

Tinsley C H;O'Connor K M;Sullivan B A

Publication Year



Reputations are socially constructed labels that provide representations (or schema), which organize our images of another person. We look at how reputations influence negotiations by examining their impact on negotiator cognitions, behaviors, and subsequent outcomes. We randomly paired relative novices with relative experts to negotiate over email, telling half the novices that their counterparts were experts in distributive negotiation (i.e., the art of claiming value). Findings supported our predictions that novices whose counterparts had a distributive reputation judged these counterparts' intentions in a more negative light and used more distributive and fewer integrative tactics than the control group novices. This resulted in lower joint gains in the distributive reputation condition than in the control condition. Notably, the more experienced negotiators were able to extract more individual value from the deal, but not when they had a reputation for being distributive. In other words, the fictitious distributive reputation prevented participants from capitalizing on their real negotiation expertise advantage.

Available on ECCH


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