Value from Control: Subjective Valuations of Negotiations by Principals and Agents

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The use of agents in negotiations is ubiquitous. Little is known, however, about the divergent psychological experiences of agents and principals in negotiations and their potential downstream consequences. The current research investigated how one’s role in a negotiation (as a principal or an agent) affects feelings of control, and how these feelings determine subjective value. In Studies 1 and 2, participants were randomly assigned to role-play principals or agents in deal-making negotiations. In both studies, agents reported feeling more control than principals, and control positively predicted the subjective value derived from the negotiation. In Studies 3 and 4, experimentally enhancing feelings of control influenced subjective value for principals. These findings point to the potential psychological costs of using agents. The findings advance research on subjective value in negotiations and highlight the critical role of control in principal–agent relationships.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)326-342
Number of pages17
JournalNegotiation and Conflict Management Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 International Association for Conflict Management and Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


  • agents
  • control
  • negotiation
  • principals
  • subjective value


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