A reasonable price to pay for the house or politely

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a reasonable price to pay for the house (or, politely, that her chosen course of action was nutty). Botts might attempt to persuade the client to repudiate his bet with Cadwalader for the health of the law firm and because it inappropri- ately alters the attorney-client relationship. In general, making com- mitments stick requires ingenuity and, often, a substantial invest- ment of resources. Even a successful commitment to a position may not obtain the desired agreement. First, if the negotiators make incompatible com- mitments from which they cannot back down, they will deadlock. If Botts simultaneously makes a similar agreement with his biggest cli-
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126 Negotiation Analysis ent, and neither he nor Cadwalader budge, Stimson gets the office. Second, the commitment itself can change how the person on whom it has been sprung values the possible outcomes. For example, if Cadwalader's commitment angers Botts and causes him to crave re- venge-by keeping Cadwalader from getting the office-more than the tradition that he originally valued, if Botts would feel publicly shamed by conceding, or if he believes that giving in to such tactics would set an intolerable precedent, Botts may come to prefer no agreement to letting Cadwalader win. If so, Cadwalader's commit- ment may only have been the first move in a destructive escalation of conflict. FOCAL POINTS - . - - -- -_.- It may be easier to commit credibly to sorne out comes than oth- ers. The house buyer's attempt to commit arbitrarily to $251,968.40 may be called into question more readily than his resolve "not to take les s than $250,000." Negotiations are often resolved at psycho- logically prominent "focal points." In addition to round numbers, people are a~tract~d tooutco rn esthafacCo[,fw1th simple formulas slÍch-~as«éqúaIdiviSioii;;;"each-person should be compensated on the basis of the I1umbéi- ofliOursworked," or other norms or princi- ·plesoffáirn~ss:Eveiiwml0ufcommifri:ú;~ilts,both negotiators may ~éTrs~tÚ~~ ~t-;~ch a focal point simply because doing so may be les s costly than trying otherwise to resolve the indeterminate situation. 6 Attempts to claim value often come disguised as appeals to fair- ness or reasonableness. Bargainers make commitments to appealing outcomes as well as to self-serving rationales and principIes of "fair- ness." For example, the wily bazaar merchant may open with an ex- orbitant initial offer and then graciously offer to split the difference between his price and the buyer's reasonable first offer. THE PREVALENCE OF COMMITMENTS The artificiality of these examples should not obscure the practi- cal importance of commitments. They are potent tactics in much 6In trying jointly to solve the indeterminate problem of where to settle in the bar- gaining range, a bargainer may move towards a focal point beca use he thinks his counterpart may be moving toward that point and that she thinks he might be doing the same thing. Bargainers may settle at such focal points because the costs of fur- ther bargaining exceed the expected value of pushing for more.echelling~
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