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Managing expectations

Lindstadt, Rene and Staton, J. K. 2012. Managing expectations. Journal of Theoretical Politics 24 (2) , pp. 274-302. 10.1177/0951629811429050

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Abstract

Followers of law, politics and business commonly relate stories of individuals who appear to predict an expected performance level below what they believe themselves to be capable of. The standard explanation for such rhetoric is that it hedges against the negative consequences of unanticipated failures and takes advantage of unexpected successes. Although the strategy appears highly attractive, some individuals do provide honest evaluations of their abilities, and some overpromise. We develop a model of strategic communication designed to explain this variation. Underpromising is especially attractive when observers have strong incentives to watch a preliminary performance; however, when high-quality individuals are in large supply and when the costs of performing badly are neither too high nor too low, underpromising can result in individuals being ignored. To ensure that they are not, individuals must give up the opportunity to outperform a promise and risk an underperformance.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Department of Politics and International Relations (POLIR)
Subjects: J Political Science > JC Political theory
Uncontrolled Keywords: Campaigns; Expectations; Political communication; Psychology; Rhetoric; Strategic communication
Publisher: Sage
ISSN: 0951-6298
Last Modified: 09 Jun 2020 01:43
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/98135

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