Your gain my pain? The effects of accounting information in uncertain negotiations

Samy A.G. Essa*, Henri C. Dekker, Tom L.C.M. Groot

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    11 Citations (Scopus)
    1 Downloads (Pure)


    Prior studies on buyer-supplier negotiations show that refined accounting information can enhance negotiation processes and outcomes. We extend these studies by considering the influence of payoff uncertainty, which is commonly present in negotiations. Payoff uncertainty can increase friction between negotiators when it induces them to take different reference points, exacerbating the level of conflict. We theorize that refined accounting information, even when unrelated to the source of uncertainty, can help to limit the adversarial effects of payoff uncertainty on negotiation behavior and outcomes by enabling negotiators to identify mutually beneficial tradeoffs. We conduct an experiment in which 89 dyads of buyers and suppliers participate to test our expectations. Results show that payoff uncertainty reduces negotiators’ use of integrative tactics relative to distributive tactics, which in turn negatively influences joint profit. Refined accounting information, however, weakens the negative impact of payoff uncertainty on behavior, mitigating the negative impact on joint profit.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)20-42
    Number of pages23
    JournalManagement accounting research
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2018


    • Accounting information
    • Buyer-supplier negotiations
    • Negotiation outcomes
    • Negotiation tactics
    • Payoff uncertainty
    • n/a OA procedure


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