The present research investigated the effects of social identification and interpersonal accountability on negotiator judgment and decision making. Using arguments derived from social identity theory, the authors hypothesized that salience of a common or shared social identity will heighten negotiators’ concern about the other party’s outcomes, resulting in a preference for greater equality. Extrapolating from recent research on the effects of accountability on judgment and decision making, they also argued that preference for equality of outcomes will be stronger when interpersonal accountability between negotiators is high. To investigate these hypotheses, the authors conducted a laboratory study. The study employed a 2 × 2 design, in which the salience of individuals’ level of social identification (low versus high) and degree of interpersonal accountability (low versus high) was varied. The results supported both of the major hypotheses. The findings are discussed in terms of their implications for a social contextualist account of negotiator cognition and behavior. The authors argue that a social contextualist account sheds light on why negotiators’ outcomes often deviate from those predicted by normative or rational models of bargaining.
*Reprinted in Max H. Bazerman (2005). Negotiation, decision making, and conflict management (Volume III), pp. 39-68. Northampton, MA: Elgar.