When representatives sacrifice themselves: The effects of social value orientation and interest alignment on representative negotiation

When representatives sacrifice themselves: The effects of social value orientation and interest alignment on representative negotiation

By
Hillie Aaldering, Lindred Leura Greer, Gerben Van Kleef, Carsten De Dreu
Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes.
2013, Vol. 120, Pages 240-250

In representative negotiations, interests of the representative and the represented constituency are not always aligned. We investigated how interest (mis)alignment and representative’s social value orientation influence representative negotiations. Past theory and research on the principal–agent problem, social value orientation, and cooperation in social dilemmas offer different perspectives, which we examined in two experiments. Experiment 1 revealed that both representatives with a pro-social and a pro-self value orientation were reluctant to accommodate the negotiation adversary at a cost to themselves and their constituency, while pro-social representatives were more willing to sacrifice self-interest to benefit constituency and adversary combined. Experiment 2 replicated this finding, and clarified that pro-social representatives were more willing to self-sacrifice when this served their constituency only than when it indirectly served the adversary too. Such parochial altruism demonstrates the discriminatory nature of pro-socials’ cooperation and reveals the potential dark side of a pro-social orientation in constructive intergroup negotiations.