Judgment and decision-making bias in representative negotiation selection and evaluation
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Representatives are frequently sought by groups and individuals to handle their negotiations. While much research has been dedicated to understanding representative negotiation processes and outcomes, to date there exists little research on how constituents choose and appraise their representatives in negotiation. One factor that makes this gap especially alarming is the extant research on other areas of representative negotiation, which regularly demonstrates that both constituents and agents are prone to biases, heuristic overuse, and constituent influence. In our initial work, we found a systematic bias in constituent selection and evaluation processes of their representatives, such that highly optimistic representatives are evaluated better than more realistic ones, even when they fail to come through. Across six studies, this dissertation focuses on testing hypotheses regarding the cognitive mechanism which gives rise to this phenomenon, as well as further understanding downstream implications of the representative offer bias. Study 1 found that constituents are biased by their representatives’ offers even when they did not choose them. Study 2 demonstrated that offers bias constituents when negotiations are framed around losses. Studies 3A & B provided evidence that constituents will be persistent in rejecting offers in multi-shot negotiations. Studies 4 and 5 tested whether offers bias constituent risk perception relative to representative assessments and advice finding mixed evidence. Study 6 combined data from a number of state and individual difference measures collected from Studies 1-5 to test hypotheses related to power, control, bullshit receptivity, and optimism, finding generally weak or no support. Together, these findings demonstrate that when a representative reasonably overpromises, they are given more of a halo than they are horns - not to mention being more likely to receive the job to begin with. Beyond evaluation, representative offers appear to bias constituent behavior within the negotiation, though representatives can reorient their constituents with information potential outcomes.
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