Behaviour Change

PROPAGANDA FOR CHANGE is a project created by the students of Behaviour Change (ps359) and Professor Thomas Hills @thomhills at the Psychology Department of the University of Warwick. This work was supported by funding from Warwick's Institute for Advanced Teaching and Learning.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The importance of being patient and persistent whilst negotiating


In this scene from the big bang theory we see Sheldon’s excitement on purchasing the first sword for his fantasy collection, whilst Leonard desperately haggles with Stuart (the shop owner) to lower the price for it.

Cheeky Stuart sees Sheldon and Leonard having caught the fancy of the sword and approaches them with “Oh I see you guys have found my little treasure”.  Almost glorifying the sword and thereby increasing its value. Leonard aware of this strategy try’s to downsize the value of the sword by saying “its okay I guess.” However Sheldon’s excitability and impatience makes it evident that he is desperate to buy the sword and Stuart is made aware of their true excitement and interest in buying the sword.

Leonard asks Stuart for the price so as to begin the anchoring process. Stuart replies saying its worth 250 dollars and Leonard instantly claims “that’s pretty steep”.  This high initial anchor turns out to benefit Stuart as studies (Orr & Gutherie, 2005) show that the initial anchor has a significant effect on the final outcome of the deal.

To get the highest price from Leonard and Sheldon, Stuart claims his sword is extremely rare and that there are only 8000 made. Bringing the scarcity of the product tends to increase the value of the product and the product is viewed as attractive (Worchel et al. 1975). Much to the regret of Leonard, Sheldon clearly falls for Stuarts negotiation techniques and cannot control his excitability. This almost gives Stuart instant leverage over the duo over the control of the price.

Leonard still persistent to get as low a price as he can asks Stuart “can u do any better?” And the amazing salesman in Stuart says he has already given them the friends and family discount. Giving a discount would limit Leonards demand whilst haggling and would show that Stuart is in fact offering them the cheapest price he can truly offer. However Leonard is not willing to settle and offers Stuart 200 dollars.

Finally after haggling Leonard and Stuart are able to settle for 210 dollars. Personally I feel Sheldon’s impatience and excitability brought the price to a zone of agreement, which was fairer to Stuart. However it’s worth mentioning that the persistent Leonard did an amazing job in managing to bring the prize down to 210 dollars, despite the obvious (thanks to Sheldon) desperation to buy the sword.

Akshay Shah (blog 5)

References :-

Orr, D., & Guthrie, C. (2005) Anchoring, Information, Expertise, and Negotiation: New Insights from Meta-Analysis. Ohio State Journal on Dispute Resolution, 21, 597-612.

Worchel, S., Lee, J., & Adewole, A. (1975). Effects of supply and demand on rating of object value. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 32, 906-914.

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