Tamar Admati Kreps

Tamar Admati Kreps
PhD Student, Organizational Behavior
PhD Program Office Graduate School of Business Stanford University 655 Knight Way Stanford, CA 94305

Tamar Admati Kreps

Faculty Advisors

Job Market Paper

Core Values vs. Common Sense: Consequentialist Views Appear Less Rooted in Morality

Working Papers

Explaining subjective value in negotiation with a theory of situations. (Under review at Management Science)

This research elucidates predictors of subjective value in negotiation by introducing and empirically testing a novel theory of situations. We analyzed 510 stories about a range of negotiations to investigate personal and situational antecedents of subjective value in negotiation: namely, negotiators’ feelings about their outcomes, the self, the process, and the relationship they established during the negotiation. Personality variation explained little variance in subjective value, with Emotionality and Agreeableness negatively predicting negotiator feelings. Adding variation in situational Control, Uncertainty, Relatedness, Valence, and Engagement—the CURVE dimensions—allowed us to explain over 60% of the variance in some aspects of subjective value in negotiation. Control and Valence positively predicted different aspects of subjective value; Uncertainty negatively predicted, whereas Engagement positively predicted, feelings about the outcomes; and Relatedness positively predicted feelings about the negotiation process and the relationship. These findings advance research on subjective value in negotiation and empirically illustrate the usefulness of the CURVE framework for conceptualizing and comparing situations.

Which losses do we impose on some to benefit others?

Those who have studied the moral intuitions displayed in responding to Trolley Problems have focused on subjects’ willingness to cause the death of one party to avert multiple deaths. Here, we explore whether it matters what is being traded off: lives, injuries, or property, for a larger number of lives or injuries, or more valuable property. We find that aggregation – the willingness to sacrifice some party’s interests when others will gain more if one does so – is most plainly impermissible when the party is considering trading a smaller for a larger number of deaths, and it is least impermissible when the harmed party is merely injured or loses property to save others’ lives. Cases in which the harmed party is injured to save others from injury, or loses property to save more valuable property, are intermediate, closer to the death/death cases. If subjects simply followed either a simple rule that it is impermissible to sacrifice the interests or violate the rights of an individual for the sake of others or a simple rule that they should always seek to maximize aggregate utility, responses to these cases would not be expected to differ; however, responses do differ, which suggests that subjects’ judgments are complex and multi-faceted.

Motivated Meanings: An Organizing Framework for Psychological Situations.

Though psychological situations shape human affect, cognition, and behavior, there still exists no clear conceptualization of psychological situations. The current paper offers a novel organizing framework for psychological situations. We posit that goal processes and goal contents influence how individuals engage with situations; that the fundamental dimensions of Engagement, Control, Relatedness, Valence, and Uncertainty (summarized using the acronym CURVE) result from perceptions of goal relevance, affordance, compatibility, progress, and ambiguity, respectively; and that individuals construe situations, choose situations, and change situations in manners consistent with their strivings to fulfill fundamental needs, including the needs for meaning, control, affiliation, self-esteem, and verification. We derive thirteen novel theoretical propositions, review supporting empirical evidence, and illustrate how this motivational perspective builds on, complements, and advances accumulated knowledge about psychological situations.

Work in Progress

When an issue becomes a lens: People who moralize an issue view their social world in terms of that issue.

In my dissertation research (with Benoît Monin), I demonstrate that people who moralize an issue use that issue as a lens through which they judge others and make social decisions, which makes it difficult for them to relate to and work with those who disagree with them. While individuals who disagree about non-moral issues can put aside their differences and work together, moral disagreements (even controlling for attitude extremity) create global negative perceptions, hostility and a desire for greater social distance. Even disagreements on novel issues, experimentally framed in moral or non-moral terms, can produce these effects. In one study, participants read about an organization that had decided not to pay for a franchisee’s new parking lot, which either had moral implications (because the parking lot emitted a harmful chemical) or was simply a poor business decision (because the parking lot’s bad smell was repelling customers and employees); then they read about a coworker (with no influence on the organization’s decision) who expressed approval for the decision. Even in this novel context, participants judged this coworker more harshly when the parking lot issue had moral implications than when it only had business implications.

Believing that one’s moral standards are personal and individual increases ambivalence about punishment.

The way moralizing affects behavior may depend on how people understand moral standards: specifically, whether they believe moral behavior ought to be a result of actors’ own individual moral compass, or whether they recognize the role of shared social and cultural norms in shaping morality. In ongoing work (with Kristin Laurin), I have explored how variation in beliefs about the locus of morality affects, in particular, feelings about punishment and punitive behavior. While punishment can be a constructive enforcement mechanism, it can also be angry and aggressive, and I argue that the potentially aggressive nature of punishment produces strong ambivalence in people who believe morality ought to come from within: these individuals are especially concerned about appearing aggressive themselves, but at the same time they hold norm violators personally responsible and thus feel the strongest disapproval and anger. People who endorse a personal view of morality should therefore show less punishment when they are able to restrain themselves, but more punishment when their anger takes over. Indeed, I show that endorsing a personal view of morality is associated with harsher judgments of both hypothetical norm violators (e.g., a hypothetical coworker who failed to own up to a mistake) and real-life norm violators (real participants acting selfishly in dictator games) and with higher punishment of real violators, but with lower intentions to punish hypothetical violators, who presumably elicit less vivid feelings of disapproval. This work sheds light on the contradictory norms surrounding punishment, and it suggests that individuals’ conceptions of the locus of moral motivation may be an overlooked factor in predicting punitive behavior, and perhaps other types of morally motivated behavior as well.

Hypocrites are judged more harshly if their initial statement was morally framed.

Previous research (e.g. Kreps & Monin, under review) suggests that people who make a moral statement are seen as more committed to their stance. In this project, we explore whether these perceptions of increased commitment make it more difficult for people who have made a moralized statement to reverse course, because third parties judge such targets as more hypocritical compared to those who have similarly changed their attitudes but whose initial statement was not morally framed.

Missing the point: People who moralize an issue react negatively to those who do not share their moral basis.

Previous research suggests that people for whom a given domain is sacred not only want others to share their overall position in that domain but also to recognize its sacredness. In this project, we explore whether audiences who moralize a given issue react negatively to speakers who express a position on the same side of the issue that is not morally framed. Despite coming to the correct conclusion, such speakers may be perceived negatively simply for not having the correct basis for their views.