Psychological barriers to negotiation

Published on October 27, 2011 Reviewed on July 31, 2019   22 min

A selection of talks on Management, Leadership & Organisation

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My name is Andrea Schneider and I'm been a law professor at Marquette University for the last 15 years where I teach dispute resolution and negotiation. I'm going to be speaking today about psychological barriers to negotiation. These psychological barriers are also known as common mistakes or heuristics and biases. They are the things that we do wrong in negotiation that keep us from being as effective as possible. Many of these have been popularized in recent years from the field of cognitive psychology. They're now written about in the field of behavioral economics so that negotiators will see these either in law or in business or in a variety of economics and psychology textbooks as well.
We're going to be discussing six different barriers that often occur in negotiation. For each of the barriers, I'll explain what they mean. I'll then give some examples in everyday life or from studies that talk about these barriers and then finally, I'll explain how these affect negotiations and what negotiators can do in particular in overcoming these particular barriers.
The first barrier we will be discussing is the endowment effect in negotiation. The endowment effect is the idea that whatever we have is worth more because we own it. It is something that because it is in our possession, we've decided it is worth a lot and it's a subjective valuation. So it's not based on objective reality or looking at how somebody else would value it. This endowment effect, it tends to validate our choices in what we own or what we value, and it would appear that the endowment effect should be justified if we have put time and effort into acquiring the various and sundry items of our life. But in fact, when we look at endowment effect examples and how this was proven, the fact of the matter is that even something given to you moments ago can have an endowment effect.