University of Cincinnati Lindner College of Business

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Round Off the Bargaining: The Effects of Offer Roundness on Willingness to Accept

Author(s): Yan Dengfeng, Jorge Pena Marin

Status: Published
Year: 2017
Publication Name: Journal of Consumer Research
Volume: 44, Issue: 2, Page Number(s): 381–395


Abstract

This research shows that making a precise (vs. round) offer in a negotiation may lead to diverging outcomes. On the one hand, past literature has demonstrated a precision advantage wherein offer precision reduces the amount by which offer recipients counter. On the other hand, building on the notion that round numbers symbolize completion and previous findings that individuals tend to set goals at round numbers, we hypothesize a roundness advantage wherein offer roundness increases the bargainer’s willingness to accept an offer. Five studies provide convergent evidence for our proposition and reconcile the present results with previous findings. We found that participants receiving a round offer are more (less) likely to accept (counter) than those who receive comparable precise offers. However, if they counter, participants in the precise condition counter by a smaller amount than those in the round condition. Furthermore, in agreement with our explanation, we find that the roundness advantage is more likely to manifest when participants subscribe to the association between round numbers and the feeling of completion.


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