The Role of Regulatory Focus in Negotiation Outcomes


Regulatory focus distinguishes between individuals with a promotion focus or a prevention focus. Those with a promotion focus concentrate on pleasure and getting the best out of a situation, while those with a prevention focus are concerned with pain and avoiding doing something wrong. This has been shown to affect the outcomes of negotiations, and that promotion focused individuals come to better outcomes than prevention focused individuals. The first study used a hypothetical real-estate negotiation to test whether or not promotion focus leads to superior outcomes and whether prevention focus leads to more incidences of impasse. Results indicated that promotion focus had no effect on the agreements, but prevention focus did increase the likelihood of an impasse. The second study placed participants in a negotiation over the price of an object to determine how their roles as buyer or seller affected if they viewed the negotiation as a chance to maximize gains or minimize losses, and if they viewed it as an opportunity to attain or maintain their resources. We also investigated how regulatory fit influenced subjects’ views of their roles within the negotiation dyad. Results indicated that designated role and regulatory fit both influence the ways in which participants view a negotiation.