Group Decision and Negotiation

, Volume 2, Issue 2, pp 135–148 | Cite as

The effects of relationships and justification in an interdependent allocation task

  • Jeffrey T. Polzer
  • Margaret A. Neale
  • Patrick O. Glenn


Two factors, the type of relationship between the involved parties and the justification of the decision maker for being in his or her position, are predicted to influence resource allocation decisions. These predictions are based on a synthesis of several forces, including self-interest, a politeness norm, and a norm of reciprocity, that we argue underlie the selection of allocation norms that guide interdependent resource allocation decisions. An ultimatum bargaining game, in which player 1 divides a resource ($10) and player 2 decides to either reject or accept this division, is employed in a laboratory study to test the hypotheses. For subjects in the player 1 position, subjects with friends as player 2 or those assigned to their position randomly allocated lower amounts of money to themselves than did subjects with strangers as player 2 or those who earned their position. Friends in the player 2 position demanded significantly less to reach an agreement than strangers. These and other results are discussed in terms of the various allocation norms, particularly equity and equality, that appeared to influence subjects' decisions.

Key words

equality equity fairness justification relationships resource allocation decisions ultimatum bargaining game 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jeffrey T. Polzer
    • 1
  • Margaret A. Neale
    • 1
  • Patrick O. Glenn
    • 1
  1. 1.J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of ManagementNorthwestern UniversityEvanston

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