In the time between asking this question and getting some answers here, I read many comments on the original stories and blog posts dissecting the situation, many of which offered useful answers. I am compiling some of them here for the sake of others. As with most information found on the Internet, YMMV.
First, a question I didn't ask but will answer anyways (since xLeitix expressed some doubt in a comment):
Does this really happen?!?!?!?
Unfortunately, though rare, it does happen. Here are a few examples I found on Academic Job Wiki:
- When I told them I needed some time to think about the unofficial offer (and also noted how early in the hiring season the offer was coming), the interviewing professor emailed me back that it was clear I was only considering them as a "last resort" and that they were therefore rescinding the offer.
- They thought my request for a revised offer letter that included the new terms agreed upon throughout negotiation was demonstrative of a "lack of faith" which they seemed to take personally. They rescinded the offer and then blamed it on my need for this letter, and suggested that I be more careful in asking for this in future negotiations with other institutions (they claimed this advice was a show of "mentorship" on their part).
- The dean rescinded the offer. By email. And then refused to take my calls. This is exactly what she wrote: "After having read your stated requests, specifically the number of years to tenure and the MWF teaching schedule, I am sorry to say that we are not able to sustain our job offer to you. At this time I am rescinding the job offer."
- Two weeks after the job talk, I was offered the position and given five days to consider it... Upon sending my questions and considerations two days later, about 90 minutes passed when I received an email wishing me well in my further job pursuits.
Yikes. Of course, given these stories you could argue that these candidates probably dodged a bullet. But let's assume you aren't necessarily afraid of a rescinded offer, but want to avoid making a bad impression. In that case, on to my actual questions:
Are there really different norms with respect to negotiation in a teaching vs. research institution? What are they?
Yes. Also, per various sources, there are differences in negotiation culture between elite institutions and not-so-elite institutions, community colleges and four-year colleges, public and private institutions, those with current or former religious affiliations and those without, locations where a union is involved and locations where it isn't, locations with large adjunct pools and locations without, etc.
Here's one thing I hadn't thought of: institutions that are seen as "less desirable" places to work for some reason are said to be more sensitive to aggressive negotiation. In these cases,
Negotiating demands can come across as "I’ll only agree to work at a lowly school like yours if you give me all this extra stuff." (The Professor is In)
However, there were also comments that said things like:
I was a candidate just like W, I asked for very much of the same things (more, in fact), and still go the job. (PhilosophySmoker)
The candidate in question herself said
that her request for a starting salary of $65,000 equaled a less than 20 percent increase in proposed pay -- a request she says another college offering her a job had met.
So, it seems like finding out the culture of a particular institution (rather than generalizing based on institution "type") is more effective. Which brings us to:
What can I do pre-offer to get a sense for what the institution's culture is, and what I can reasonably ask for?
Start by asking: is it negotiable?
A good strategy for starting a negotiation is to simply ask whether there is any flexibility in the terms of the offer... If you get a firm "no", you don't have to risk upsetting anyone with specific requests. (PhilosophySmoker)
and this can even have some nice side effects! The same comment continues,
At my institution... I began by asking this very general question, and the chair immediately responded with a better offer-without my mentioning any specifics and without consulting the dean.
Pre-negotiate by phone
Both Amatya and Samantha Kady pointed out here how difficult it is to read a situation by email, and dozens of commenters out there said the same. For example:
You negotiate over the phone (aiming for the sweet spot between being enthusiastic about the job - you want them to still want you - and asserting your own needs). Then when that's done, you get the agreement in writing. That lets you feel out some things and get feedback on what's doable or not, and on how the requests are being taken. (PhilosophySmoker)
But, know yourself. As The Professor is In puts it:
I NEVER want to see inexperienced candidates negotiate on the phone. Particularly women. People panic and get codependent and agree to all kinds of things too quickly on the phone.
I don't really know what "codependent" means in this context, but I can definitely see how some people might not be able to negotiate as well over the phone. Those people might be better served using a phone conversation as a "feeler" and then proceeding to negotiate over email.
Listen for subtle differences in responses to your requests
One commenter said:
The chair indicated that this was the ceiling for the starting salary... but since he didn't make the same claim regarding the startup, I detected further flexibility, and was able to get it bumped up to 200% of the original offer, by providing an explanation of how I would use the additional funds. (PhilosophySmoker)
Identify and use your ally
If you get an offer, there's a good chance someone really likes you and wants you to be there. Identify that person, and ask them for advice on what to negotiate. They may even tell you about things you hadn't even thought to negotiate for! Specifically, several commenters said that the department chair is often an ally. As one commenter said:
I had a really great Chair. She told me that I was very unlikely to get a salary increase but that there was room to move the start-up. I asked for both anyway, and sure enough, was denied a salary increase but got significantly higher start-up (which I can use for summer salary). The kicker? The Chair spotted something I never would have thought of, which qualified me for thousands of dollars extra. (PhilosophySmoker)
Your ally in the department knows much more than you, and much more than any mentor you might have, what requests can be granted easily and what should not be mentioned at all. Use this!
Ask about "perks" at the interview stage
Many commenters agree that asking straightforwardly about the "perks" (non-salary) at the interview stage helps you gauge supply and demand at the institution in question. Otherwise, you run the risk of
telling somebody who's put in a full 7 or 8 years for a sabbatical that you want one in your first 2 or 3 years? (PhilosophySmoker)
Yeah, that does sound bad! Same goes for things like teaching load and lab space - you can find out during the interview stage what is in especially short supply at the particular institution.
Place requests in the context of the institution's specific mission
This is a valuable piece of advice. As a commenter said,
For example, if the reasoning behind fewer teaching preps was to do a better job teaching or to have an appropriate research program (whatever that may be), then frame it that way. (FemaleScienceProfessor)
Visit the library
Here's an interesting one that I hadn't heard before (though it only applies to a subset of institutions):
I’m betting that W or other candidates often get their data from the CHE’s salary survey, which is near useless for this purpose because it is such an aggregate number... If you’re interviewing at a public school, ask for about an hour to yourself in the library. When you get it, go straight to the Reference desk and ask to see the salaries in the department that’s hiring (it’s usually public). Write these down, and when you get the initial offer you’ll know if there’s room to negotiate on this point. (The Professor is In)
While public salary information is also available online in most cases, unlike the internal data this is usually
total annual compensation, a figure that includes summer school, stipends for additional administrative duties, and the like, rendering the number useless (if not damaging) to such negotiations. (The Professor is In)
Some commenters pointed out another, more-complete-than-CHE (though not department-specific), source of salary data: IPEDS