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The Moderators and Mediators of Door-in-the-Face Requests: Is it a Negotiation or a Helping Experience?

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The Door-in-the-Face (DITF) compliance-gaining tactic occurs when a large request, expected to be rejected, is followed by a more reasonable request that is granted. The mechanisms underlying the DITF strategy remain unclear. Researchers have posed different explanations for the effectiveness of DITF, including the reciprocal concessions and the social responsibility models. These theoretical rationales for DITF were tested in a 3 (request type: initial request only, DITF sequence, small request only)×2 (initial request size: moderate, large)×2 (solicitor familiarity: friend, stranger) between-participants experiment. Findings from the compliance data are mostly consistent with the reciprocal concessions model; but, findings from the cognitive and affective data were mixed. It appears that DITF messages are perceived as a helping situation for friends, but not for strangers. Strangers view request messages of all sizes to be a negotiation, but friends see these requests as a negotiation only when the initial request is large.

Keywords: Compliance; Door-in-the-face; Guilt; Reciprocal Concessions; Sequential Request Strategies

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: September 1, 2007

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