The present research contrasts two seemingly complementary decision strategies: acceptance and elimination. In acceptance, a choice set is created by including suitable alternatives from an initial set of alternatives, whereas in elimination it is created by removing inappropriate alternatives from that same initial set. The research used realistic career decision-making scenarios and presented to respondents sets of alternatives that varied in their preexperimental strength values. Whereas complementarity of acceptance and elimination is implied by three standard (normative) assumptions of decision theory, we find a systematic discrepancy between the outcomes of these procedures: choice sets were larger in elimination than in acceptance. This acceptance-elimination discrepancy is directly tied to subcomplementarity. The central tenet of the theoretical framework developed here is that acceptance and elimination procedures imply different types of status quo for the alternatives, thereby invoking a different selection criterion for each procedure. A central prediction of the dual-criterion framework is that middling alternatives should be most susceptible to the type of procedure used. The present studies focus on this prediction which is substantiated by the results showing that middling alternatives yield the greatest discrepancy between acceptance and elimination. The implications of this model and findings for various research domains are discussed.
|Number of pages
|Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes
|Published - Jul 2000
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The research was supported by a grant from the Israel Foundations Trustees (1998±2000) to both authors. We thank Prof. Itamar Gati for advice and for making his databases, questionnaires, and software available to us for constructing our research materials.