Multiple equivalent simultaneous offers (MESOs) reduce the negotiator dilemma: how a choice of first offers increases economic and relational outcomes

Geoffrey J. Leonardelli, Jun Gu, Geordie McRuer, Victoria Husted Medvec, Adam D. Galinsky

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12 Citations (Scopus)


The tension that negotiators face between claiming and creating value is particularly apparent when exchanging offers. We tested whether presenting a choice among first offers (Multiple Equivalent Simultaneous Offers; MESOs) reduces this negotiator dilemma and increases economic and relational outcomes. Six experiments comparing MESOs to a single package-offer revealed three effects. First, MESOs produced stronger anchors and better outcomes for the offerer because recipients perceived MESOs as a more sincere attempt at reaching an agreement (agreement sincerity). Second, MESOs yielded greater joint outcomes because they were probabilistically more likely to include an economically attractive starting point for recipients (initial recipient-value). Third, MESOs allowed the offerer to secure a cooperative reputation and created a more cooperative negotiation climate. Negotiators who offered MESOs were able to claim and create more economic and relational value. MESOs reduced the negotiator dilemma for offerers by also reducing it for recipients. Weblinks in the appendix give access to supplementary materials, analyses, and data.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)64-83
Number of pages20
JournalOrganizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2019


  • agreement sincerity
  • anchoring
  • choice
  • first offers
  • initial recipient-value
  • topics: negotiation

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