NYU Stern

Would You Hurry Up? The Self-handicapping Effects of Time Stress in Negotiations


Past research finds that time constraints in negotiations (e.g., deadlines, additional costs to extending the bargaining process) often have adverse effects on bargainer performance. This paper studies how the degree to which time constraints (often referred to as time pressure) affect performance in negotiation is a) contextually moderated by whether one’s negotiating opponent is under similar time constraints to oneself or not and b) mediated by the degree to which those time constraints are experienced as personally stressful by the individual negotiator. Three studies are presented which demonstrate that while having shorter time constraints than one’s opponent can be a disadvantage in bargaining, how a negotiator responds to that disadvantage is critical to determining its costs. Negotiators who experience time pressure as personally stressful tend to give away too much value – more than is economically necessary – to their partners in negotiation. This experience of time stress is also associated with negative emotional reactions and negative evaluations of one’s opponent.