We investigate how argument preparation (self-only, self/counter) and the timing of the first offer (immediate, delayed) combine to affect negotiation performance. Subjects participated in a dyadic negotiation concerning the out-of-court settlement of a lawsuit. Subjects prepared by generating a list of arguments in support of their case (self-only), or by generating a list of arguments in support of their case accompanied by a list of counterarguments that they might expect from their opponent (self/counter). In the Immediate Offer condition, subjects began the negotiation with an exchange of written settlement offers. In the Delayed Offer condition, subjects began the negotiation with a discussion of the qualitative negotiation issues. It was proposed that negotiators who prepared both their own and counterarguments would be more flexible and that this effect would be increased by delaying the first offer. The results indicate that the effects of these variables are more complex than originally proposed, and reveal significant interactions with the negotiator's role in the conflict.
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