It's a bet! A problem-solving approach promotes the construction of contingent agreements

Laura J. Kray*, Leigh Thompson, E. Allan Lind

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Negotiators often have different expectations about the future. A contingent agreement, or a bet that makes the ultimate outcome dependent on some future event, builds on negotiators' differences. The authors argue that a problem-solving approach, in which negotiators thorougly explore options to build on their differences, is most likely to construct contingent agreements. The authors explore two factors expected to influence this problem-solving approach, namely, negotiators' relational and accountability concerns. The authors argue when these considerations are imbalanced, negotiators are less likely to adopt a problem-solving style and construct a contingent agreement. To test this hypothesis, negotiators' relationships and accountability pressures were manipulated in two experiments. In Experiment 1, participants engaged in an integrative negotiation, allowing the authors to examine whether a contingent agreement was constructed and joint gain. Experiment 2 sought to replicate and extend the findings of Experiment 1 using a scenario study. Results across the two experiments support the authors' hypotheses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1039-1051
Number of pages13
JournalPersonality and Social Psychology Bulletin
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2005


  • Accountability
  • Contingent agreements
  • Expectations
  • Integrative negotiations
  • Joint gain
  • Relationships

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology


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