Theses Doctoral

Rationales in Social Exchange: The Impact of Rationales and the Role of Attachment in Negotiations and Markets

Lee, Alice

Negotiations are not solely an exchange of numbers. Rather, negotiators often surround their offers with explanations, accounts, and rationales that seek to justify, explain, and legitimize whatever terms they are proposing. However, surprisingly little scholarship has studied the role of these stories and the evidence that does exist seems inconclusive. In this dissertation, I examine how, why, and when the words we use in trying to explain and justify our positions work but also often fail to work in negotiations. In Chapter 2, I distinguish between two kinds of rationales buyers commonly employ—constraint rationales (referring to one’s own limited resources) and critique rationales (involving critiques of the negotiated object)—and demonstrate their divergent effects (Studies 1-4). In Chapter 3, I examine why buyers so often embrace the seemingly-flawed strategy of critique and seek evidence of whether perspective-taking might improve buyers’ ability to effectively offer critiques (Studies 5-7). In Chapter 4, I explore the role of attachment and its interaction with rationales, shedding light on previously unstudied dynamics between attachment and buyer accounts (Studies 8-10). I conclude by discussing the broader implications of these findings for understanding the dynamics of social exchange. Taken together, this research suggests that accounts and rationales matter, sometimes profoundly, and part of that is because of how they interact with a listener’s identity and attachment.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Thesis Advisors
Ames, Daniel R.
Galinsky, Adam D.
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
May 1, 2019