Home-Field Advantage

Home-Field Advantage in a Nutshell

How important is the physical location in resolving social conflicts or negotiating political issues? When you have a choice, should you be concerned about negotiating in the home field of the other party? Overall, research suggests that it is best to stick with your home field or at least to choose a neutral location. In any case, it is best to avoid the other party’s home field.

Persuadability, Power, and Home Field

As the previous post explained, it is more difficult to change people’s minds when they feel powerful. So when you want to change people’s mind, it is important to remove them from anything that makes them feel more powerful. Naturally, people feel more powerful in their own home field than in yours. Therefore, if you want to place the right ideas in their mind, be sure to mind the right place to do it.

Research on Home-Field Advantage

A 2011 study by Graham Brown and Markus Baer is a warning piece to those who don’t like to discriminate between locations. In this study, the participants had to negotiate a price of an annual supply contract. Some participants were made “residents” and some were made “visitors.”

  • The residents were asked to occupy a private office and make that space their own; they could, for example, write down their name on the board outside, arrange things around the office, or select a chair in which they would sit.
  • The visitors were simply told that they would negotiate in their opponent’s office.

Trivial these manipulations might seem, but trivial their effects were not. Regardless whether the residents represented the buyers or the sellers, they noticeably outperformed the visitors.

The home-field advantage primarily works, the researchers argue, by increasing confidence. So if you can’t choose your own location and you have to negotiate in their home field, you may offset their advantage, at least somewhat, by finding some ways to pump yourself with extra confidence.


  • Graham Brown and Markus Baer, Location in Negotiation: Is There a Home Field Advantage?, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 114, 190-200 (2011).