Selling to Strangers, Buying from Friends: Effect of Communal and Exchange Norms on Expectations in Negotiation


This study examines the effect of relationships on negotiators' expectations. The authors derive theory and hypotheses from relational norms that govern relationships (communal and exchange) which impact negotiators' expectations when interacting with close others. The study focuses on the influence of the negotiator's role (buyer or seller) and relational norms on expected offers. The authors tested the hypotheses across three studies. Results consistently show that close relationships influence expectations such that buyers expect more favorable offers from best friends than from friends and acquaintances (Studies 1–3). And this effect is absent for sellers (Study 1). Moreover, the motivation to meet the needs of the other party (communal strength) is higher for close relationships but it does not moderate the effect of relationships on expectations (Study 2). Finally, negotiators high in communal strength and exchange orientation norms expect more generous offers from best friends (Study 3).

Keywords: negotiation, relationships, expectations, offers, communal norms, exchange norms




Published on
10 Nov 2018
Peer Reviewed