Relational Accommodation in Negotiation: Effects of Egalitarianism and Gender on Economic Efficiency and Relational Capital

Jared R. Curhan

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) – Sloan School of Management

Margaret Neale

Stanford Graduate School of Business

Lee D. Ross

Stanford University – Psychology

Jesse Rosencranz-Engelmann

Stanford University
Harvard PON Working Paper No. 04-122; MIT Sloan Working Paper No. 4509-04; AoM Conflict Management Division 2002 Mtgs. No. 14092
Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Forthcoming


Highly relational contexts can have costs as well as benefits. Researchers theorize that negotiating dyads in which both parties hold highly relational goals or views of themselves are prone to relational accommodation, a dynamic resulting in inefficient economic outcomes yet high levels of relational capital. Previous research has provided only indirect empirical support for this theory. The present study fills this gap by demonstrating the divergent effects of egalitarianism on economic efficiency and relational capital in negotiation.

Dyads engaged in a simulated employment negotiation among strangers within a company that was described as either egalitarian or hierarchical. As hypothesized, dyads assigned to the egalitarian condition reached less efficient economic outcomes yet had higher relational capital than dyads assigned to the hierarchical condition. Negotiations occurring between females resulted in lower joint economic outcomes than negotiations occurring between males. Results are consistent with the theory of relational self construal in negotiation.

Relational Accommodation in Negotiation

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