Accepting the norm in the discussion she responded

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the chain's ventures. Accepting the norm in the discussion, she responded that she wanted to treat him in this way, but laid out the "insuperable" practical problems that pre- vented her from acting in this way. (In fact, she did not want to act in accord with the norm of equal treatment, but found baldly rejecting it hard; hence rejecting the "practical" aspects was her way to the same end.) When the investor suggested a way around these practical difficulties-which he had in fact had in the back of his mind from the start-the restauranteur found herself in a tricky position. Rather than violate a norm of consistency with her earlier statement in the negotiation-that equal treatment was the "right way to go"-she felt "morally" forced to accede even at a likely cost of several million dollars. Though this whole negotiation was carried out in terms of right and wrong, its effects were purely distributive. The role of norms and normative argument goes well beyond cyn- ical self-serving uses. As we have mentioned before, negotiators fre- quently derive value from acting in accord with social norms; this can be understood as an interest. The post-negotiation desire to justify the agreement to oneself and to explain the agreement to others also makes agreement in accord with norms desirable. At the same time, norms can also serve as the basis for nonantagonizing commitments and as focal points. Bec:ause negotiators frequently find it costly to reject the sugg(!s- tion that they should act consistently with norms of the group, inJro- ducing normative argument can limit the bargaining set to those_out- comes that are "socialIy acceptable." Egregious demands that cannot findstrong normative support cansometimes be ruled out.
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