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Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 39, 6 (2013) 814-825
Although previous research has shown that making the first offer leads to a distributive advantage in negotiations, the current research explored how the timing of first offers affects the creativity of negotiation agreements. We hypothesized that making the first offer later rather than earlier in the negotiation would facilitate the discovery of creative agreements that better meet the parties’ underlying interests. Experiment 1 demonstrated that compared with early first offers, late first offers facilitated creative agreements that better met the parties’ underlying interests. Experiments 2a and 2b controlled for the duration of the negotiation and conceptually replicated this effect. The last two studies also demonstrated that the beneficial effect of late first offers was mediated by greater information exchange. Thus, negotiators need to consider the timing of first offers to fully capitalize on the first offer advantage. Implications for our understanding of creativity, motivated information exchange, and timing in negotiations are discussed.