An innocent game gets out of hand in this episode of Friends (Season 4, Episode 12). It starts by the boys (Joey and Chandler) claiming that they know more about the girls (Rachel and Monica) than the girls know about them. They take part in a quiz that Ross has designed to solve the dilemma. They start playing with a bet of $100, after a tied score in the first round, Monica wants to raise the stakes in the subsequent “Lightning round”:
Monica: We could play for more money say.. $150?
Rachel: No…stop spending my money!
Monica: Okay if we win they have to get rid of rooster.
Rachel: That’s interesting… Throw in the duck too.
Joey: What do you have against the duck? He doesn't make any noise!
Chandler: If you win we'll give up the birds… But if we win we get your apartment.
In this negotiation it appears that Chandler is the best at negotiating. He is manipulating previous knowledge he has about Monica and her competitive nature to his advantage, understanding an opponent’s personality is advantageous in negotiation (Galinsky et al, 2008). By observing her previous offer of $300 and Rachel’s negative reaction; he can deter that this is more than they can afford and suggests that the zone for possible agreement is vast. Furthermore the frivolity of Monica’s offers imply she is solely focused on nothing other than beating Chandler and Joey. Chandler takes note of the commitment she has made to beating them; he applies the foot in the door technique and offers a much larger sum knowing that Monica will stick by her commitment. Such techniques have been shown to be persuasive in a negotiation (Taylor & Booth-Buttefield, 1993)
During negotiations Chandler is able to step back and consider the biggest prize he can think of; the apartment. He cleverly measures this against what he perceives to be a relatively small loss of his pet birds. At this point due to the fact that Monica is emotionally invested in winning, thoughts of what she could loose do not cross her mind. She is unable to realise that the small gain of not being woken up in the night by a rooster (or cockerel) is significantly outweighed by loss of her apartment. This is consistent with research that shows being over emotional worsens decision making in negotiation (Andrade & Ariely, 2009). It is then easy for Chandler who by remaining emotionally neutral can swoop in and take what he wants.
During the game Chandler is also able to entice Monica by the frequency trumps quality phenomenon (Alba, & Marmorstein, 1987). Whereby she bets that they get rid of one bird, Chandler says they will get rid of both (the rooster and the duck). He has not increased the quality of the prize as the duck does not make any noise and will not advantage the girls if it leaves, but by merely increasing the quantity to both birds he increases the perceived value of his bet..
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Andrade, E. B., & Ariely, D. (2009). The enduring impact of transient emotions on decision making. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes,109(1), 1-8.
Galinsky, A. D., Maddux, W. W., Gilin, D., & White, J. B. (2008). Why it pays to get inside the head of your opponent the differential effects of perspective taking and empathy in negotiations. Psychological Science, 19(4), 378-384.
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