The framing of negotiations: Contextual versus task frames

Margaret A. Neale, Vandra L. Huber, Gregory B. Northcraft

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The purpose of this paper was to examine sources of the framing bias. While previous research has focused on task-responsive (experimentally manipulated) frames, it was argued that the context of the task may also frame the decision. Citing previous empirical studies which illustrated that buyers systematically outperformed sellers in symmetrical, negotiation simulations, it was suggested that the role of a participant may influence performance, independent of the task-characteristic demands. A study was conducted using an economically symmetrical negotiation simulation. Results indicated that negotiators positively framed by task characteristics completed more transactions, independent of the presence or absence of role-relevant information. When role-relevant information was absent, negotiators negatively framed by task characteristics completed transactions of greater mean value. When role-relevant information was present, buyers completed transactions of greater mean value than sellers, while task characteristics had no effect on mean transaction value. Implications of these results and directions for continued study were discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)228-241
Number of pages14
JournalOrganizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1987

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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