BATNA

Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement. The true measure by which you should judge any proposed agreement. It is the only standard which can protect you both from accepting terms that are too unfavorable and from rejecting terms it would be in your interest to accept. (Roger Fisher and William Ury, Getting to Yes [Penguin Books, 1991], 100-01). See Also: Free Report: BATNA Basics, Negotiating for Continuous Improvement: Monitor and Assess Your Negotiation Skills, Dealmaking: Relationship Rules and Business Negotiations.


Discover step-by-step techniques for avoiding common business negotiation pitfalls when you download, BATNA Basics: Boost Your Power at the Bargaining Table, a FREE special report from the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School.

The following items are tagged BATNA.

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Courses and Training

Negotiation and Leadership: Dealing with Difficult People and Problems

Posted by & filed under Executive Education Seminars (3 Day Courses), executive training.

It’s often said that great leaders are great negotiators. But how does one become an effective negotiator? On-the-job experience certainly plays a role, but for most executives, taking their negotiation skills to the next level requires outside training. Designed to accelerate your negotiation capabilities, Negotiation and Leadership examines core decision-making challenges, analyzes complex negotiation scenarios, … Read More 

Free Report

Daily

Leadership Qualities for a Negotiation in Crisis

Posted by & filed under Leadership Skills.

The prospect of a Greek default on its euro-denominated debt has negotiators in Europe scrambling to come up with yet another negotiated agreement to stave off bankruptcy and financial chaos. What negotiation strategies and leadership qualities have the euro-zone leaders shown during the Greek financial crisis? … Read More 

Free Report

Harborco: Role-Play Simulation

Posted by & filed under Free Report.

Harborco is a consortium of development, industrial, and shipping concerns that are eager to proceed with the building of a new port, but face hurdles and potential opposition as they advance through the licensing process. The Federal Licensing Agency would like to see them work with other stakeholders to develop a project that is acceptable … Read More 

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Free Report

Sally Soprano: Role-Play Simulation

Posted by & filed under Free Report.

Sally Soprano is a distinguished soprano who is now somewhat past her prime. She has not had a lead role in two years but would like to revive her career. The Lyric Opera has a production scheduled to open in three weeks, but its lead soprano has become unavailable. Lyric’s representative has requested a meeting … Read More 

Daily

BATNA Negotiation Allowed European Union to Handle Putin

Posted by & filed under BATNA.

In negotiation, we are often confronted with the task of dealing with difficult people—those who seem to prefer to set up roadblocks rather than break down walls, or who choose to take hardline stances rather than seeking common ground. How can you deal with such difficult people? One tactic you might consider is avoiding the conversation altogether … Read More 

The Forces Behind Deception in Job Offer Negotiations

Posted by & filed under BATNA.

Despite your best intentions, one or more of these four forces might lead you to behave unethically during job offer negotiations: 1. The Lure of Temptation Whether or not negotiators lie depends in part on how lucrative the rewards are, Ann E. Tenbrunsel has found in her research. … Read More 

Blessing or Curse: The Real Estate Right of First Refusal

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

When transferring property, sellers sometimes insist on real estate rights of first refusal – the chance to be first in line to repurchase the property if their buyer later decides to sell. Rights of first refusal can be obvious advantages if your financial circumstances later change. If you’re keeping adjoining land, you may wish to … Read More 

Fostering Cultural Intelligence in International Negotiations

Posted by & filed under International Negotiation.

In a Harvard Business Review article, P. Christopher Earley and Elaine Mosakowski describe the value of improving your cultural intelligence, or the ability to make sense of unfamiliar contexts and adapt to them. Some people are naturally skilled at determining whether a person’s behavior is unique to him or determined by his culture. For others, … Read More 

BATNA Negotiation Example: Making a Bad BATNA Even Worse

Posted by & filed under BATNA.

Here’s a sobering BATNA negotiation example. On Oct. 31, 2013, Time Warner Cable reported a huge quarterly loss of television subscribers, the largest in its history: 306,000 of its 11.7 million subscribers dropped the company, the New York Times reported. … Read More 

Understanding Exclusive Negotiation Periods

Posted by & filed under Dealmaking.

The clearest method for achieving exclusivity is an exclusive negotiating period, during which both sides agree not to talk to third parties, even if approached unexpectedly by others. In some arenas, these terms are called no-talk periods. … Read More 

Types of Power in Negotiation

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

Social psychologists have described types of power that exist in society, and these types of power emerge in negotiation as well. Two types of power spring from objective features of the bargaining process. … Read More 

Negotiation and Leadership Skills: Jerry Brown Re-Frames a Deal at High Speed

Posted by & filed under Leadership Skills.

Negotiation skills and leadership techniques often go hand-in-hand in creating win-win deals for negotiators and their counterparts. In trying to fund the US’ first-ever high-speed rail line in California, Democrat Jerry Brown has employed a variety of different negotiation strategies and leadership styles to bring the parties to the table to work towards an agreement. … Read More 

Dealing with Gender Discrimination

Posted by & filed under Teaching Negotiation.

As you know, gender stereotypes often enter the negotiation process. Women and men are perceived to, and often do, act differently in negotiations. Furthermore, gender-based discrimination—such as less pay, unequal treatment, and sexual harassment—is often a source of conflict. With the resources available through the Teaching Negotiation Resource Center (TNRC), professionals can learn how to … Read More 

Negotiation Simulations With Global Impact

Posted by & filed under Teaching Negotiation.

International law and diplomacy is a rapidly evolving field that depends on the brokering of agreements between nations and other stakeholders. Whether there are language barriers, cultural differences, or both, some of the most challenging negotiations involve parties from different nations. Because of the relative lack of clear legal precedents and the difficulties of enforcement, … Read More 

Medical Negotiations: Dealing With Life, Death, and Consequences

Posted by & filed under Teaching Negotiation.

Healthcare is one of the largest industries globally, with billions of dollars spent on treatments and research. While healthcare is definitely a “big business,” medical disputes can deeply affect people’s personal lives. The fact that life and death are actual issues in many medical negotiations means the stakes are even higher. To enable participants to gain … Read More 

VIDEO: William Ury on “Getting to Yes with Yourself”

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills, Videos.

On January 22nd, 2015, the Program on Negotiation was pleased to welcome back William Ury to Harvard Law School. Ury, a founding member of the Program on Negotiation and co-author of the seminal book Getting to Yes, spoke about his latest book, Getting to Yes with Yourself (and Other Worthy Opponents). Over 250 community members, students, … Read More 

What Can An Opera Singer Teach You About Negotiation?

Posted by & filed under Teaching Negotiation.

A distinguished older soprano, Sally has not had a lead role in two years. However, when another soprano falls ill, the Lyric Opera is eager to hire Sally…but at what price? Sally Soprano is one of the best-known role-play simulations from the Program on Negotiation’s Teaching Negotiation Resource Center (TNRC). And it’s a classic for good … Read More 

BATNA: Bringing a Deal Out of the Gutter

Posted by & filed under BATNA.

What should a business negotiator do when she feels that her BATNA is weak or that the only issues on the bargaining table involve issues of price, or “haggling” scenarios? In this article, the Program on Negotiation offers business negotiation tips for negotiators grappling with a “weak BATNA.” … Read More 

Deal Negotiation and Dealmaking: What to Do On Your Own

Posted by & filed under Dealmaking.

Six negotiation skills tips for negotiators seeking to creative value during their next round at the bargaining table. Business negotiators are often faced with the complex task of coordinating multiple parties – here are some tips for the individual business negotiator on how to achieve success in her next deal negotiation. … Read More 

Star Wars Stories: George Lucas and a Strong BATNA, Passed Over

Posted by & filed under BATNA.

In negotiation, your best source of power is typically your best alternative to a negotiated agreement, or BATNA. When you are aware that you have an appealing alternative deal to the one you’re working on, you will be less tempted to accept an agreement that doesn’t meet your minimum requirements. A strong BATNA gives you … Read More 

Tough Negotiation Tips from Jennifer Aniston?

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

Fans of the television show Friends got a treat last month when Netflix made all 236 episodes of the blockbuster hit available to stream online. At first glance actors Lisa Kudrow, Jennifer Aniston and the rest of the star-studded cast might not be your first pick to peg as formidable negotiators, but at the height … Read More 

Crossed Wires? Negotiation Games To Help Your Business Deal Sidestep Legal, Technical And Emotional Glitches

Posted by & filed under Teaching Negotiation.

What’s faster than the pace of technological development? The pace of lawsuits being filed about the adoption of new technologies, patent infringement, and intellectual property rights. In our modern world, professionals must be able to resolve highly challenging technology-related disputes – often before they reach the courtroom. That’s where the Program on Negotiation’s Teaching … Read More 

Check Your Emotional Temperature

Posted by & filed under Conflict Resolution.

Do you ever feel ambushed by strong emotions? To guard against acting irrationally or in ways that can harm you, authors of Beyond Reason: Using Emotions As You Negotiate Roger Fisher and Daniel Shapiro advise you to take your emotional temperature during a negotiation. Specifically, try to gauge whether your emotions are manageable, starting to heat … Read More 

How Negotiation Examples Can Help You Become A Better Mediator

Posted by & filed under Teaching Negotiation.

When opposing parties cannot come to a satisfactory resolution, a strong mediator can make all the difference. By effectively examining the issues at hand and helping parties identify creative solutions, a well-trained mediator builds consensus where there once was none. To help professionals learn the art of mediation, the Program on Negotiation’s Teaching Negotiation Resource Center … Read More 

For Modern Farmer Magazine, a Bad BATNA

Posted by & filed under BATNA.

In business negotiations, our mistakes sometimes end up affecting not only the current deal, but our best alternative to a negotiated agreement, or BATNA, in deals that lie down the road. That’s a lesson that Ann Marie Gardner, the founder and editor of the hip new magazine Modern Farmer, has learned the hard way. After … Read More 

Best-In-Class Negotiation Case Studies

Posted by & filed under Teaching Negotiation.

What’s one of the best ways to teach the art and science of negotiation? Case studies and articles that spark lively discussion or facilitate self-reflection. Based on real-world examples, these teaching resources are designed to help students envision how to apply what they’ve learned in the classroom and beyond. The Teaching Negotiation Resource Center (TNRC) at … Read More 

How Negotiation Games Can Help You Develop Skills to Resolve Business and Commercial Disputes

Posted by & filed under Teaching Negotiation.

Private sector or commercial negotiations can range from relatively straightforward, high-stakes contract negotiations between suppliers and distributors to complex, multiparty negotiations between government, industry, and other interest groups. To help teach these key negotiation skills the Teaching Negotiation Resource Center (TNRC) has developed a wide range of role-play exercises that reflect the full breadth and … Read More 

How to Negotiate When You’re Literally Far Apart

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

Imagine that you’re the CEO of a sports clothing manufacturer based in Chicago. You recently traveled to Amsterdam, the Netherlands, to meet with a distributor who has a rich and diverse network in the European sports market. During the business trip, you both express enthusiasm about the possibility of a joint venture and agree to give … Read More 

Dispute Resolution with Spotify? Taylor Swift Shakes It Off

Posted by & filed under Dispute Resolution.

In negotiation, our success often hinges on our bargaining power—which in turn can depend on forces beyond our control. That truism was highlighted in two recent disputes arising from business negotiations over the pricing of copyrighted material in the digital era, one from the music world, the other from publishing. First, country-music star Taylor Swift … Read More 

Teaching Negotiation: The Art of Case Study Writing

Posted by & filed under Teaching Negotiation.

Jim Sebenius, the Gordon Donaldson Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School, and Director of the Harvard Negotiation Project, addressed these questions in his presentation at the NP@PON Faculty Dinner Seminar on October 7, 2010. His article, “Developing Negotiation Case Studies,” began as a memo to a novice case writer about how to write … Read More 

For Bank of America, Dealmaking to Turn the Page

Posted by & filed under Dealmaking.

Negotiation often marks a new beginning: of a partnership, a project, or employment relationship. At other times, the goal of dealmaking is as much about reaching an ending as it is about moving forward. That’s the attitude with which Bank of America wrapped up its settlement negotiations with the Department of Justice (DOJ) last month. For … Read More 

Win Win Negotiations: Can’t Beat Them? Join a Coalition

Posted by & filed under Win-Win Negotiations.

In 2006, representatives of wind-energy developers started knocking on the doors of Wyoming ranchers. They were seeking to persuade the ranchers to sell the rights to build wind turbines on their land, reporter Addie Goss recounted on National Public Radio. Typically, the developers build wind farms by leasing large blocks of land from many different landowners … Read More 

Dealmaking: Are You Overly Committed to the Deal?

Posted by & filed under Dealmaking.

When you’re more tightly bound to an agreement than your counterpart is, trouble could follow. Manage your escalation of commitment—and level the playing field. Read the following three examples and notice the differing levels of commitment between the two negotiating parties. Consider these three real-life negotiating scenarios. … Read More 

Bullard Houses Role-Play Simulation Helps Researchers Explore Gender Inequality

Posted by & filed under Teaching Negotiation.

In a recent Slate.com article, writer and PhD in Psychology Jane Hu described the findings of a research study by Professor Laura J. Kray, University of California, Berkeley. Kray, along with co-authors Jessica Kennedy, PhD, and Alex Van Zant, PhD, investigated the role gender played in negotiation and focused specifically on whether the stereotype of … Read More 

Exercising Its BATNA, American Apparel Ousts Dov Charney

Posted by & filed under BATNA.

On June 18, the board of retailer American Apparel informed the company’s controversial founder, Dov Charney, that it was ousting him from his roles as chairman and CEO. For years, Charney had fended off sexual-harrassment lawsuits and rumors of inappropriate behavior. But only when the company’s creditors grew anxious about its long-term liability did the … Read More 

Dealing with Difficult People? Lessons from Ronald Reagan

Posted by & filed under Conflict Resolution.

In recent months, U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders have struggled to find a winning strategy to convince Russian President Vladimir Putin to back away from his aggressions toward Ukraine. In a Wall Street Journal editorial, Ken Adelman, U.S. President Ronald Reagan’s ambassador to the United Nations and arms-control director, writes that recently … Read More 

With No Good BATNA, Police Negotiators Accept Texts

Posted by & filed under BATNA.

In their training, police and professional hostage negotiators are taught skills that will help them defuse tense situations over the course of long phone calls, such as engaging in active listening, determining the person’s emotions from his or her inflection, and trust building. These crisis negotiators are being put to the test by young criminal suspects … Read More 

Business Negotiators: Find the Right Fit

Posted by & filed under Dispute Resolution.

When approached by a partner whispering sweet nothings about untold riches and power, it can be tempting to rush through the negotiation process. But if you do, you could find out too late that your Prince Charming is nothing but a frog—and that those glass slippers on your feet pinch. That’s how famed shoe designers … Read More 

The Paradox of Positions

Posted by & filed under Dispute Resolution.

It’s not difficult for negotiators haggling over seemingly finite resources to become entrenched in their positions. Sometimes the only way to get unstuck is to think appreciatively and creatively about the other side. Rather than trying to determine why a person has taken a particular position, consider what she wants, appreciate it, and try to … Read More 

For Detroit Pensioners, Dispute Resolution Pays Off

Posted by & filed under Dispute Resolution.

On April 15, Detroit city employees and retirees breathed a huge sigh of relief after the city’s emergency manager and its pension fund managers reached a deal that would significantly reduce proposed cuts to pension benefits, CNNMoney reports. Some civilian workers will face a 4.5% reduction in pensions and lose cost-of-living adjustments. Retired public-safety workers … Read More 

Status Anxiety in Business Negotiations

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

Sometimes in negotiation we are forced to deal not only with the issues on the table but also with concerns about status. One famous instance took place in the late 1980s, when Robert Campeau, head of the Campeau Corporation and then one of Fortune magazine’s “50 Most Fascinating Business People,” tried to acquire Federated Department tores, … Read More 

Negotiation Skills: Are You Really Ready to Negotiate?

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

You set up the contract renegotiation with a key client months ago. You had every intention of gathering a range of information to establish realistic goals and assess the client’s needs, but short-term projects got in the way. Suddenly it’s the day before the first meeting. Aside from making a few phone calls and calculations, … Read More 

Deal Making: When You Hold All the Cards

Posted by & filed under Dealmaking.

Consider the following hypothetical negotiation scenarios, in which you seem to hold all the cards: - One of your customers has just landed a lucrative new contract, and you’re the only supplier who can add a critical component to that customer’s production process. - You own a controlling interest in a publicly traded company and are seeking … Read More 

Top 10 Negotiation Failures of 2013

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

Here’s a list of some of the most notable negotiation flops of the past year – from deals that were over before they started, to those that were botched at the table, to those that proved disastrous well after the ink had dried. … Read More 

The Deal is Done – Now What?

Posted by & filed under Conflict Resolution.

At last, the deal is done. After 18 months of negotiation, eight trips across the country, and countless meetings, you’ve finally signed a contract creating a joint venture with a Silicon Valley firm to manufacture imaging devices using your technology and their engineering. The contract is clear and precise. It covers all the contingencies and has … Read More 

Program on Negotiation Faculty On How To End the US Government Shutdown

Posted by & filed under Conflict Resolution.

The Washington Post’s “On Leadership” column by Jenna McGregor asked renowned negotiation experts on how the government shutdown in Washington, DC could be ended at the bargaining table. Among the experts interviewed were Robert Mnookin, Chair of the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School (PON) and author of Bargaining With The Devil: When To Negotiate, … Read More 

Searching for a Debt Ceiling: Boehner’s Uncertain BATNA

Posted by & filed under BATNA.

As the U.S. government approaches a potentially catastrophic default on its debt in October, President Obama remains determined to avoid negotiations with Republican leaders on the issue, the New York Times reports, a situation that leaves House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner with an uncertain BATNA, or best alternative to a negotiated agreement. … Read More 

The Winner’s Curse

Posted by & filed under Dealmaking.

Ever win something you wanted, then realize too late you got a raw deal? Here’s how to recognize when backing away is your best bet in a negotiation. Imagine that while exploring an outdoor bazaar in a foreign country, you see a beautiful rug that would look perfect in your home. While you’ve purchased a rug … Read More 

South Korea Shows Off Savvy Negotiation Skills

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

In negotiation, a combination of several negotiation skills and tactics may be needed to break past a difficult impasse. A recent protracted negotiation between North Korea and South Korea provides a case study. In April, North Korea abruptly removed its workforce from the Kaesong Industrial Complex, a joint venture it launched within its borders nine years … Read More 

In Sales Negotiations, Learn from a Seller’s Market

Posted by & filed under Dealmaking.

With home sales heating up in some parts of the United States, homebuyers are facing competition they haven’t seen since before the real-estate bubble burst, and it’s showing up in the form of packed open houses, multiple bids above the asking price, and all-cash offers. To take an extreme case, in New York City, low condominium … Read More 

The Dell Buyout: Michael Dell Weighs His BATNA

Posted by & filed under BATNA.

In negotiation, your best source of power typically is your “best alternative to a negotiated agreement,” or BATNA. By cultivating appealing options away from the table, you free yourself up to walk away in the event of a disappointing deal. In all likelihood, Dell Inc. founder Michael Dell found himself facing such a BATNA analysis in … Read More 

Translate Your BATNA to the Current Deal

Posted by & filed under BATNA.

If your current negotiation reaches an impasse, what’s your best outside option? Most seasoned negotiators understand the value of evaluating their BATNA, or best alternative to a negotiated agreement, a concept that Roger Fisher, William Ury, and Bruce Patton introduced in their seminal book Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In. … Read More 

Choosing When to Choose

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

When it comes to negotiation, the more choices on the table, the better your outcomes will be – right? Not necessarily. An excess of options can stand in the way off efficient agreements and, moreover, prevent you from being satisfied with the final result. … Read More 

Why You Should Limit Your Options

Posted by & filed under Dealmaking.

An excess of choices can not only impair your effectiveness at the bargaining table but also reduce your quality of life. In The Paradox of Choice, Barry Schwartz offers these strategies for limiting choice – and improving overall satisfaction: … Read More 

Deal Making Without a Net: Yahoo’s Tumblr Acquisition

Posted by & filed under Dealmaking.

On May 19, Internet company Yahoo announced that it was purchasing the blogging service Tumblr for about $1.1 billion in cash. The acquisition could put a fresh face on the aging Internet company and provide it with a profitable revenue source—or it could turn out to be another instance of the Web pioneer overpaying for … Read More 

When Negotiation is Your BATNA: The US Engages on Syria

Posted by & filed under BATNA.

The United States and Russia have announced plans to hold a peace conference aimed at ending the civil war in Syria, which has killed more than 70,000 people. In an op-ed in the New York Times this May, Christopher R. Hill, the dean of the Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver and … Read More 

Negotiating in China: The Gold Rush Mentality

Posted by & filed under International Negotiation.

If Chinese culture favors insiders, it stands to reason that outsiders face an uphill battle. In One Billion Customers: Lessons from the Front Lines of Doing Business in China (Free Press, 2005), business executive and Wall Street Journal bureau chief James McGregor writes of the 1996 attempt by Xinhua, the official Chinese news agency, to … Read More 

Negotiation Design Dimensions: A Checklist

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

Here the Program on Negotiation offers a checklist of negotiation design categories. Whether your overall negotiation design is decide-announce-defend (DAD) or full-consensus (FC), or a hybrid of both, raising these issues is usually preferable to falling into a set of important decisions by default. … Read More 

We Have a Deal, Now What Do We Do: Three Negotiation Tips on Implementing Your Negotiated Agreement

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

A recent article in Tufts Magazine by Program on Negotiation faculty member Jeswald Salacuse discusses an oft neglected aspect of negotiation: putting into action what negotiators agree to at the bargaining table. Normally negotiators focus on the deal-at-hand as well as those present at the negotiation, neglecting other aspects of the negotiated agreement that would not … Read More 

Wheelers and Dealers?

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

Car salespeople truly understand how to use modest concessions to extract much larger ones. First, they spend a long time legitimating the sticker price and suggesting that it’s not only fair, but nonnegotiable. … Read More 

Prospering in a Multiparty Trade Zone

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

With thorough preparation, the help of a trained mediator, and useful reports from subgroups, participants in a multiparty negotiation should be able to find their way to the trading zone. Once they’ve arrived, the next step is to work together to ensure that everyone’s interests are met. … Read More 

Finding the Right Process in India

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

In 1995, a new government came into power in the Indian state of Maharashtra and canceled a 20-year power purchase agreement with the Dabhol Power Company, a joint-venture formed by Enron, General Electric, and Bechtel. Claiming that the deal was improper and even illegal, the government declared publicly that it would not renegotiate. … Read More 

A Cash-Out Transaction: Cox Communications

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

On August 2, 2004, Barbara Cox Anthony and Ann Cox Chambers, two sisters who together owned 73% of Cox Communications, announced that they wanted to cash out the minority shareholders of their company. Their initial offer was $32 per share, or a 14% premium to the preannouncement trading price of approximately $28 per share. … Read More 

Keeping the Game Out of Court

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

Sometimes those on opposite sides of a bitter dispute can achieve great gains – if only they can spot the ways in which they are similar. In 2001, the Metropolitan Intercollegiate Basketball Association (MIBA), an organization of five New York-area colleges best known for staging college basketball’s National Invitation Tournament, filed a lawsuit against the National … Read More 

The Fiscal Cliff and the Debt Ceiling: Program on Negotiation Chair Robert Mnookin Discusses Recent and Future Negotiations Between Congressional Republicans and the White House

Posted by & filed under Conflict Resolution.

Though Congress and the President were able to reach a deal and avoid the dreaded fiscal cliff, both sides engaged in some tough negotiating which has both bewildered and captivated the United States for months. Given all of the posturing and tough talk, some may ask: Is there a method to this madness? … Read More 

A Value-Creating Condition Thwarted

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

In late 1999, with its stock in free fall, NCS HealthCare, a provider of pharmacy services to long-term care facilities, began “exploring strategic alternatives” – code in the mergers and acquisitions world that NCS’s board wanted to put the company up for sale. In 2001, Omnicare, a larger provider in the same general industry, offered to … Read More 

The Story of Goldman Sachs: Negotiating a Vision

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

In 1986, the investment bank Goldman Sachs was a $38 billion business owned by more than 100 active and retired partners. While the partnership structure had insulated the company from the vicissitudes of the stock market and given the company a strong culture of teamwork, it had some significant disadvantages, particularly an unstable capital base and … Read More 

In New York, Fast-Food Workers Test Their Negotiation Skills

Posted by & filed under Dispute Resolution.

On November 28, dozens of employees at several fast-food restaurants in New York City walked off their jobs and demanded better pay and unionization. In doing so, they launched what is believed to be the largest coordinated campaign in the United States to unionize fast-food workers from different restaurants, reports Steven Greenhouse in the New … Read More 

Negotiating the Fiscal Crisis

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

How can we avert a full-throttle drive over the fiscal cliff? Despite some promising signs of movement on both sides of the aisle, the current negotiation approach – positional bargaining – is bound to bring us dangerously close to the edge. … Read More 

Are You an Overconfident Negotiator?

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

In 1901, J.P. Morgan wanted to buy the Carnegie Steel Company from its founder, Andrew Carnegie. Carnegie was 65 years old and considering retirement. As Harold C. Livesay recounts in his book Andrew Carnegie and the Rise of Big Business (Little, Brown, 1975), when Carnegie finally decided he was ready to sell, he jotted down his … Read More 

Use Time Delays to Advantage

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

For decades, General Electric and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sparred over who would pay for the removal of PCBs, or polychlorinated biphenyls, that GE had discharged into New York’s Hudson River, a cleanup project that is expected to cost hundreds of millions of dollars. The two sides finally came to an agreement in October … Read More 

When Time Isn’t Money

Posted by & filed under Conflict Resolution.

Due to deeply ingrained gender stereotypes, women may find it easier to negotiate their time instead of their financial compensation. Consider that men and women are likely to rely on gender-stereotypic arguments to support their demands in negotiation. For women, the gender-stereotypic notion of being caregivers is readily available and likely to be well received. By … Read More 

Penguin Sues Its Own Writers: When Business Negotiations Become Bad PR

Posted by & filed under Conflict Resolution.

In this business world, it’s typically smart practice to keep disputes with key partners private, at least until doing so becomes unfeasible for financial or other reasons. That’s why the book publisher Penguin’s decision to file lawsuits against 12 of its authors for breach of contract is being widely judged as a public relations misstep. … Read More 

Water Diplomacy: Using a Creative Approach

Posted by & filed under Dispute Resolution.

The case of Jordan and Israel shows how even countries at war can negotiate a water agreement if it is framed in non-zero sum terms and trust continues to be built over time. And that is not the only case of a treaty that has succeeded against all odds to bridge conflicting water interests; the … Read More 

Water Diplomacy: Value Creating Approachs to Water Negotiation

Posted by & filed under Conflict Resolution.

Zero-sum thinking emerges when people conceive of water as a fixed resource – one provided by nature in a given quantity that is either static or diminishing. Based on these assumptions, diplomats often focus on what share of the existing water will be given to each entity. Negotiations of this type typically involve decision makers … Read More 

Water Diplomacy: The Role of Science in Water Diplomacy

Posted by & filed under Conflict Resolution.

Scientific and technical knowledge is important in water negotiations, but not in the ways it has often been used. It is counterproductive to use scientific information to justify arbitrary (political) decisions. For example, scientific information about water has increased dramatically over the last several decades, but our ability to manage water resources has not improved … Read More 

In Dispute Resolution, Try Going to the Top

Posted by & filed under Dispute Resolution.

When two parties are attempting to resolve a contentious dispute, the most effective peacemakers may be those at the highest levels. That’s the lesson from recent productive talks between President Obama and Afghan leader Hamid Karzai on the issue of rules for detaining terrorism suspects. … Read More 

Water Diplomacy: Understanding Uncertainty, Risk, and Opportunity in Water Management

Posted by & filed under Dispute Resolution.

When countries face contending water claims, one of the biggest obstacles to reaching an agreement is uncertainty. Specifically, there are three types of uncertainty: uncertainty of information, uncertainty of action, and uncertainty of perception. In part 2 of this 5 part series, Program on Negotiation faculty member Lawrence Susskind explains the uncertainties facing negotiators trying … Read More 

Mediation, Arbitration, and the Promise of Privacy

Posted by & filed under Mediation.

Negotiators often choose to resolve their conflicts through mediation, arbitration, and other alternative dispute resolution methods because of the privacy these methods promise. Unlike the public nature of litigation, mediation and arbitration typically give parties the freedom to hash out sensitive issues without the fear that their discussions and agreement will become public knowledge. Two … Read More 

Business Negotiations: Cooperate to Claim Value

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

What happens in negotiations between two individuals who care little about each other’s outcomes? Suppose an engineer and an industrial designer are arguing over the design of a car bumper. The designer only cares about whether the bumper matches the style of the vehicle; the engineer is concerned only about how the bumper connects to … Read More 

Google Searches for a More Diverse Team

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

Recently, executives at the Silicon Valley-based internet giant Google noticed a disturbing trend: the company was having difficulty hiring and retaining female employees, from engineers to senior executives, Claire Cain Miller writes in the August 22 issue of the New York Times. Women were dropping out during the job interview process and were not being … Read More 

Bring Your Deal Back from the Brink: Probe the Other Side’s Point of View

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

How can you figure out the motives behind someone’s seemingly stubborn position? Begin by questioning her about the problem she is trying to solve. Deal blockers may be held back by financial, legal, personal, or other constraints you don’t know about, according to Harvard Business School professor Deepak Malhotra. A tough stance could also communicate … Read More 

Bring Back Your Deal from the Brink

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

What can you do when a difficult person is the main obstacle to a promising deal? There are a number of strategies you can use to bring the deal back from the brink of failure. In a series of posts, the Program on Negotiation will offer ten suggestions. … Read More 

When an Apology is Most Effective

Posted by & filed under Conflict Resolution.

Some researchers have found that the most effective type of apology depends on the nature of the mistake made. In a study by Peter Kim of the University of Southern California, Cecily Cooper of the University of Miami, Kurt Dirks of Washington University, and Donald Ferrin of Singapore Management University, participants assumed the role of a … Read More 

Resolving Conflicts on the High Seas

Posted by & filed under Conflict Resolution.

In negotiation over a limited pool of resources, conflicts often spring up over what constitutes a fair agreement. If two business partners are going their separate ways, they might have different ideas about how their shared assets should be divided, for example. Currently, such a dispute is playing out between China and four of its … Read More 

Do You Need a Broker?

Posted by & filed under Conflict Resolution.

According to conventional wisdom, you should always hire a real estate agent when you’re trying to buy a house. The broker’s market expertise will help you decide what moves to make and what price to pay. Because the seller usually has his own broker, the motto “fight fire with fire” applies as well. Perhaps most … Read More 

Is the Devil in the Details?

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

You’re close to a deal, but concerns linger. Some of the contract seems less than precise. What in the world does “reasonable best efforts” mean, for example, or “good faith”? Negotiators in this commonplace situation face a choice: push for more precision now or sign the deal and hope the ambiguities won’t cause trouble down … Read More 

Negotiating for Continuous Improvement: Use a Negotiation Preparation Worksheet

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Training.

Negotiation preparation is as much an organizational task as an individual one. For example, when determining their best alternative to a negotiated agreement or BATNA (the point at which the negotiators ought to walk away from the table), executives should check in with key organizational leaders. If senior managers are unwilling to invest time … Read More 

Roger Fisher Papers Open at Harvard Law School Library

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

Roger Fisher, one of the cofounders of the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School and Samuel Williston Professor of Law, Emeritus, was honored on the 8th of April with a celebration of his career, research, and contributions to both the HLS community and the field of negotiation. … Read More 

The Darker Side of Perspective Taking

Posted by & filed under Conflict Resolution.

Many negotiation experts recommend that you try to take the other party’s perspective, particularly when attempting to resolve disputes. Recent research by Nicholas Epley of the University of Chicago and Eugene Caruso and Max Bazerman of Harvard University suggests a dark side to this generally sound negotiation advice. The researchers ran a series of experiments … Read More 

Do Attitudes Influence Results?

Posted by & filed under Conflict Resolution.

Many people consider negotiations to be stressful and threatening. Others view them as challenges to be overcome. Do these different attitudes influence the outcomes that people reach? New research by professors Kathleen M. O’Connor of Cornell University and Josh A. Arnold of California State University sheds light on this important question. … Read More 

Anchor Trials or Balloons in Conflict Resolution

Posted by & filed under Conflict Resolution.

The power of anchors in negotiation has been demonstrated time and again. Sellers who demand more tend to get more. Indeed, the initial asking price is usually the best predictor of the final agreement. A trio of researchers may have found an important exception to this rule, however; lower starting numbers set by the seller in … Read More 

The Enduring Power of Anchors

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

In past issues of Negotiation, we’ve reviewed the anchoring effect – the tendency for negotiators to be overly influenced by the other side’s opening bid, however arbitrary. When your opponent makes an inappropriate bid on your house, you’re nonetheless likely to begin searching for data that confirms the anchor’s viability. This testing is likely to … Read More 

When Umbrella Agreements Spring Leaks in Dispute Resolution

Posted by & filed under Dispute Resolution.

Negotiators tend to want the best of both worlds. When reaching an agreement, they want to nail down parties’ respective rights and responsibilities, but they also want to retain the flexibility to deal with ever-changing business conditions. One solution to this apparent dilemma is to craft umbrella, or framework, agreements. (The term umbrella is more commonly … Read More 

Crisis Negotiations – Rolling the Dice in Court

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

Going to trial, it’s said, is like rolling the dice. That proved true when an exasperated federal judge, the Honorable Gregory A. Presnell, ordered litigants to play a game of Rock Paper Scissors if they could not privately resolve their differences over a procedural issue. The lawyers were stalemated on where to depose a witness … Read More 

Conflict Management – Evenhanded Decision Making

Posted by & filed under Conflict Resolution.

As discussed in past articles, anchoring and framing can bias important decisions in negotiation. A buyer may make a more generous offer than she intended, for example, after a seller drops anchor on a bold demand. A litigant who focuses on his chances of winning in court – a positive frame – may be less … Read More 

Great Negotiator Award 2012

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

The Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School, in conjunction with the Future of Diplomacy Project at Harvard Kennedy School, honored distinguished statesman and former Secretary of State James A. Baker III as the recipient of their Great Negotiator Award for 2012. Secretary Baker served under President George H.W. Bush from 1989 to 1992. A … Read More 

Specific versus Abstract Negotiation Skills Training

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

Researchers have argued that negotiators learn more from cases and real-world experiences when they can take away an abstract version of the lesson. Such abstractions come from analogies developed across two or more different negotiation contexts, say Leigh Thompson and Dedre Gentner of Northwestern University and Jeffrey Loewenstein of the University of Texas, who propose … Read More 

Taking ADR Too Far

Posted by & filed under Dispute Resolution.

More and more companies are inserting alternative dispute resolution (ADR) clauses in their contracts with customers and vendors, and even in agreements with their own employees. ADR processes such as mediation and arbitration can be beneficial for all concerned if they help avoid the cost, delay, and uncertainty of going to court. Mediation, in particular, … Read More 

Why You Should Make More Than One Offer

Posted by & filed under Dealmaking.

Effective negotiators seek opportunities to create value. By making tradeoffs across issues, parties can obtain greater value on the issues that are most important to them. But how can you be sure you’re making the right offer? Victoria Husted Medvec and Adam D. Galinsky of Northwestern University argued that, in negotiations involving many issues, you can … Read More 

Negotiation Skills: Team Building and Your Negotiations

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

During his years as George H.W. Bush’s Secretary of State, one of James A. Baker, III’s, goals was to encourage the free-market reforms that Communist Party of the Soviet Union General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev had launched in the late 1980s. One day during his tenure, a high-level Bush Administration commented in the press that Gorbachev’s … Read More 

Team Building and Your Negotiations

Posted by & filed under Mediation.

During his years as George H.W. Bush’s Secretary of State, one of James A. Baker, III’s, goals was to encourage the free-market reforms that Communist Party of the Soviet Union General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev had launched in the late 1980s. One day during his tenure, a high-level Bush administration official commented in the press that … Read More 

Cultural Notes

Posted by & filed under International Negotiation.

As members of organizations and families, we all know from experience that even people with identical backgrounds can have vastly different negotiating styles and values. Nonetheless, we continue to be intrigued by the idea that distinct patterns emerge between negotiators from different cultures. Researchers do confirm a relationship between national culture and negotiation style and … Read More 

Sacred Issues in Negotiation

Posted by & filed under International Negotiation.

In a classic New Yorker cartoon, a dinner guest shows up for the party, hands the host a $20 bill, and announce that this was the amount he had planned to spend on a bottle of win before he ran out of time. Negotiation buffs might admire the guest for making an efficient tradeoff that … Read More 

The Pulitzer Board Stands in Judgment

Posted by & filed under International Negotiation.

On April 16, the Pulitzer Prize board announced its annual writing prizes, with two notable omissions: the board chose not to award Pulitzers in the categories of fiction and editorial writing. The reaction from the publishing industry to the Pulitzer’s fiction snub, in particular, was swift and hostile. “If I feel disappointment as a writer … Read More 

Speaking the Same Language

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

Negotiators can find themselves talking past each other for hours, even days. Then suddenly something happens – a breakthrough. The parties begin conversing on a different plane, one that reveals solutions to problems that had seemed intractable. … Read More 

Being Fair and Getting What You Want

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

Imagine that you and your business partner agree to sell your company. You get an offer that pleases you both, so now you face the enviable task of splitting up the rewards. Some background: Your partner put twice as many hours into the firm’s start-up as you did, while you worked fulltime elsewhere to support your … Read More 

Negotiating Systems

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

While most negotiation research aims to sharpen individual managers’ skills, there is growing scholarly and professional interest in an organizational approach to negotiation.A systemic perspective evaluates the training, authority, procedures, and resources that manager need to improve their companies’ “return on negotiation,” as consultant Danny Ertel puts it. Looking at negotiations broadly reveals important design … Read More 

Leading Horses to Water

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

The hardest step in negotiation is often the first. Costly lawsuits can drag on it everyone is afraid to be the first to blink. Prospective buyers and sellers can waste endless hours dancing around a possible deal. And in collective bargaining, labor and management teams sometimes paint themselves into corners by refusing to negotiate “matters … Read More 

Accounting for Outsiders in Your Negotiations

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

If you’re in the middle of talks that seem to be going well, here’s a warning: consider the impact of the agreement on those who aren’t at the table, or suffer the consequences. That’s a lesson that Apple and some of the largest U.S. book publishers are currently learning the hard way. On April 12, the … Read More 

Predicting Your Response to Conflict

Posted by & filed under Dispute Resolution.

Imagine an upcoming negotiation. How will you respond if your opponent seems bent on provoking an argument? If you’re like most people, you’ll have difficulty predicting your precise response. Professor Dan Gilbert of Harvard University found that when asked how a positive or negative event will affect your happiness, people accurately predict the direction of … Read More 

Are We in Competition?

Posted by & filed under Dispute Resolution.

Ford vs. GM. Coke vs. Pepsi. Oxford vs. Cambridge. These famous rivalries remind us that the top two achievers in a given realm often compete fiercely with each other. Now Stephen M. Garcia and Richard Gonzalez of the University of Michigan and Avishalom Tor of the University of Haifa have produced a useful series of studies … Read More 

Hurry Up and Wait

Posted by & filed under Dispute Resolution.

Suppose that one bargainer is impatient, gritting her teeth and thinking, “Cut to the chase, for Pete’s sake!” Feeling pressured, the other person wants to say, “Easy on the coffee, pal! Let’s give this the time it deserves.” According to a recent study by professor Karen J. Jansen of Pennsylvania State University’s Smeal College of … Read More 

Are You Listening to Me?

Posted by & filed under Dispute Resolution.

For your next negotiation, what would you pay for a gadget that shows you how well you’re engaging the other side? It would tell you when you’ve been persuasive enough to close a deal. It would also alert you when the other side has tuned you out, so you’d know how to take a different tack. A team … Read More 

Winning at “Win-Win”

Posted by & filed under Daily, Negotiation Skills.

Lawrence Susskind (Ford Professor of Urban and Environmental Planning, Massachusetts Institute of Technology) “Win-win” has become a popular term in the field of negotiation, but many people have mis-perceptions about what it actually means. In this blog post, Professor Lawrence Susskind, a member of PON’s Executive Committee, clarifies that a “win-win” negotiated outcome is … Read More 

Get Ready for Team Talks

Posted by & filed under Daily, Mediation.

Adapted from “Strength in Numbers: Negotiating as a Team,” by Elizabeth A. Mannix (professor, Cornell University), first published in the Negotiation newsletter, May 2005. The widespread belief in “strength in numbers” suggests that having more players on your team should be a benefit, not a burden. But this belief can lead team members to underprepare … Read More 

Managing Expectations

Posted by & filed under Conflict Resolution.

Successful negotiators work hard to ensure that when they and their counterpart leave a negotiation, both sides feel satisfied with the agreement. Why should you care whether the other side is pleased with the deal or not? First, because satisfied negotiators are more likely to uphold the terms of a deal. Even a lengthy contract … Read More 

Why Classic Cases?

Posted by & filed under Daily, Negotiation Skills, Pedagogy at the Program on Negotiation (Pedagogy @ PON).

Why are some negotiation exercises still used in a great many university classes even twenty years after they were written? In an effort to understand more about the enduring quality of some classic teaching materials, we asked faculty affiliated with PON to explain why they think some role play simulations remain bestsellers in the Clearinghouse … Read More 

Enhance your Negotiating Power

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

Negotiating power generally comes from one of three sources, according to Northwestern University professor Adam D. Galinsky and New York University professor Joe C. Magee: 1. A strong BATNA. Your best alternative to a negotiated agreement, or BATNA, is often your best source of bargaining power. By cultivating a strong outside alternative, you gain the power … Read More 

The Curse of Knowledge

Posted by & filed under Daily, Negotiation Skills.

Adapted from “When You Assume Too Much,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter. Decision makers often overlook others’ viewpoints. When we do take others’ thinking into account, we tend to assume that they know as much as we do. For this reason, marketing experts are generally worse than nonexpert consumers at predicting the beliefs, values, and … Read More 

Negotiate with Your Kids?

Posted by & filed under Daily, Negotiation Skills.

Adapted from “Negotiate Better Relationships with Your Children,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter. Getting a good night’s sleep and eating a healthy dinner might seem like obvious goals for parents to have for their young children, but kids won’t always agree. When faced with back talk, tantrums, and tears, most parents vacillate between laying down … Read More 

Keep it Out of Court

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations, Daily.

Adapted from “Turn Disputes into Deals,” by by Robert H. Mnookin (professor, Harvard Law School) first published in the Negotiation newsletter. In 1982, writer and movie producer Art Buchwald wrote a screen treatment that his partner, Alain Bernheim, pitched to Paramount Pictures. Settling upon the title King for a Day, Paramount and Bernheim entered into an … Read More 

Mirror, Mirror

Posted by & filed under Daily, Negotiation Skills.

Adapted from “The View from the Other Side of the Table,” by Adam D. Galinsky (Northwestern University), William W. Maddux (professor, INSEAD), and Gillian Ku (professor, London Business School)first published in the Negotiation newsletter. Believe it or not, you can become a better negotiator simply by learning how to effectively mirror your opponent. Psychologist Tanya Chartrand … Read More 

Are Your Talks too Complex?

Posted by & filed under Daily, Negotiation Skills.

Adapted from “When More Is Less,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter. It’s an article of faith in negotiation that expanding the pie of value enhances parties’ welfare. When there’s only one issue on the bargaining table, the size of the pie is fixed. If one party gets more, the other party must get less. But … Read More 

Negotiating for Career Satisfaction

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations, Daily.

Adapted from “Beyond Salary: Negotiating for Job Satisfaction and Success,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter. Most people enter employment negotiations assuming that compensation and benefits are the only issues on the table, according to Negotiation editorial board member David Lax. By contrast, enlightened job seekers realize these concerns are only part of the picture. In … Read More 

Should You Ignore a Threat

Posted by & filed under Daily, Negotiation Skills.

Adapted from “Threat Response at the Bargaining Table,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter. Consider how you would respond to threats and ultimatums such as these during a negotiation: • “If you try to back out, you’ll never work in this industry again.” • “Give us what we want, or we’ll see you in court.” • “That’s our final … Read More 

Faultlines in Groups

Posted by & filed under Daily, Negotiation Skills.

Adapted from “Faultlines in Group Negotiation,”  first published in the Negotiation newsletter. Group negotiations are a fact of managerial life, yet the outcomes of teamwork are highly unpredictable. Sometimes groups cohere, reaching novel solutions to nagging problems, and sometimes infighting causes them to collapse. How can you predict when conflict will emerge in groups, and what … Read More 

Find Strength in Numbers

Posted by & filed under Daily, Negotiation Skills.

Adapted from “Make Your Weak Position Strong,” by Deepak Malhotra (professor, Harvard Business School), first published in the Negotiation newsletter. A common complaint among managers and executives who attend negotiation courses and seminars is that they don’t learn enough about negotiating from a position of weakness. What can you do when you have a weak BATNA, … Read More 

Getting to No

Posted by & filed under Daily, Negotiation Skills.

Adapted from “When You Mean No, Say So!” first published in the Negotiation newsletter. Too often, we say yes when we shouldn’t. Wanting to be team players at work, we postpone a family vacation. Or we pitch in on a community project when we have no time for it. In the short term, we please whoever … Read More 

Trusting from Square One

Posted by & filed under Daily, Negotiation Skills.

Adapted from “How Much Should You Trust?” by Iris Bohnet (professor, Harvard Kennedy School) and Stephan Meier (professor, Columbia Business School), first published in the Negotiation newsletter. What’s the best way to cope with a fellow negotiator who has betrayed your trust? Ignoring the problem is rarely the best solution. When you distrust someone, you’re forced to … Read More 

Negotiation Games

Posted by & filed under Conflict Resolution.

Going to trial, it’s said, is like rolling the dice. That proved true in June 2006, when an exasperated federal judge, the Honorable Gregory A. Presnell, ordered litigants to play a game of Rock Paper Scissors if they could not privately resolve their differences over a procedural issue. The lawyers were stalemated on where to … Read More 

Keeping Your Options Alive

Posted by & filed under Daily, Negotiation Skills.

Adapted from “Better or Best: Keeping Your Options Open,” by Michael Wheeler (professor, Harvard Business School), first published in the Negotiation newsletter. Jim, a well-regarded residential developer operating outside Philadelphia, has been scouting around for a site for his next project. Two properties seem promising. The Abbott estate consists of 75 acres of woodlands and some … Read More 

When Does Personality Matter?

Posted by & filed under Daily, Negotiation Skills.

Adapted from “When Tough Talk Is Beside the Point,” by Hal Movius (instructor, The Program on Technology Negotiation, Program on Negotiation, Harvard Law School), first published in the Negotiation newsletter. Most of us intuitively believe that personality traits such as toughness matter a great deal in negotiation. Yet studies by Bruce Barry and Raymond Friedman of … Read More 

Questioning threats

Posted by & filed under Daily, Negotiation Skills.

Adapted from “How to Defuse Threats at the Bargaining Table,” by Katie A. Liljenquist (professor, Brigham Young University) and Adam D. Galinsky (professor, Northwestern University), first published in the Negotiation newsletter. Sooner or later, every negotiator faces threats at the bargaining table. How should you respond when the other side threatens to walk away, file a … Read More 

Advertising at a charity walk

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations, Daily.

The PON Clearinghouse offers hundreds of role simulations, from two-party, single-issue negotiations to complex multi-party exercises. Ocean Splash is a two-party, two-issue scoreable negotiation between a charity and a corporate sponsor regarding the number and placement of advertising banners at a fundraising walk. SCENARIO: The U.S. Cancer Association (USCA) chapter in Sixton City is organizing its … Read More 

Gravel quarry or hiking grounds?

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations, Daily.

The PON Clearinghouse offers hundreds of role simulations, from two-party, single-issue negotiations to complex multi-party exercises.  Rockwell Quarry is a five-party, multi-issue negotiation among elected officials, property owners, and a gravel company over a permit for a gravel quarry in a recreationally valuable canyon. The Rockwell Quarry Complex Environmental Negotiation is a five-party, multi-issue simulation that … Read More 

Budget turmoil inside a hospital

Posted by & filed under Daily, Negotiation Skills.

The PON Clearinghouse offers hundreds of role simulations, from two-party, single-issue negotiations to complex multi-party exercises. Negotiating Budget Cuts at Newtowne Hospital is a six-person negotiation among hospital administration and employee representatives to reach consensus on budget cuts in three departments. SCENARIO: Dr. Van Hagen, a distinguished heart surgeon, will soon join the staff at Newtowne Hospital, … Read More 

Dealing with pharmaceutical delays

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations, Daily.

The Clearinghouse at PON offers hundreds of role simulations, from two-party, single-issue negotiations to complex multi-party exercises. Teflex Products is a five-party, multi-issue negotiation among representatives of a pharmaceutical company, a medical drug manufacturer, and three consumer organizations over the delayed release of a new drug. SCENARIO: Midland Pharmaceutical Company has developed Renaid, a breakthrough drug that … Read More 

Expanding the farm

Posted by & filed under Daily, Negotiation Skills.

The PON Clearinghouse offers hundreds of role simulations, from two-party, single-issue negotiations to complex multi-party exercises.  Mountain View Farm is a two-party, multi-issue integrative negotiation between a farmer and a neighbor over the sale or lease of part of the neighbor’s land. SCENARIO: A Vermont farmer somewhat interested in the possibility of expanding activities … Read More 

Mediation Curriculum: Trends and Variations

Posted by & filed under Daily, Mediation, Pedagogy at the Program on Negotiation (Pedagogy @ PON).

NP@PON collected many types of curriculum materials from teachers and trainers who attended the 2009 Mediation Pedagogy Conference.  We received general materials about classes on Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) as well as highly specific and idiosyncratic units like Conflict Resolution through Literature: Romeo and Juliet and a negotiating training package for female managers from the … Read More 

When “fairness” is a distraction

Posted by & filed under Daily, Negotiation Skills.

Adapted from “Accept or Reject?” by Deepak Malhotra (professor, Harvard Business School), first published in the Negotiation newsletter.

Negotiators usually have strong feelings about fairness. Unfortunately, our fairness perceptions tend to be biased in a self-serving manner. Research has shown that, at the end of a negotiation, most people feel they were more cooperative … Read More 

Gain greater leverage with sole suppliers

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations, Daily.

Adapted from “Negotiating with Sole Suppliers,” by David Lax (managing principal, Lax Sebenius LLC), first published in the Negotiation newsletter. Negotiators often wonder how to do business with sole suppliers who know they don’t have any real outside alternative and who take advantage of this. Without the power of a realistic best alternative to a negotiated … Read More 

Powerful Thoughts

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

For many people, thinking about the role of power in negotiation can be paralyzing. In fact, the same people who are anxious about negotiating in general tend to be anxious about exerting their power during negotiation. Why? Perhaps because most of us realize that power, even when not explicitly discussed, is often the precipitating and … Read More 

So You Want to Buy a Car?

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

How can you negotiate the best possible price for a new car? This is a common negotiation question, and naturally so. A car is one of the most significant purchases you’ll ever make—and the price is almost always negotiable. Here are a few tips to improve your performance: … Read More 

Too much commitment?

Posted by & filed under Daily, Negotiation Skills.

Adapted from “Are You Overly Committed to the Deal?” First published in the Negotiation newsletter. A telecommuter hires a carpenter to build a workstation for her home office. The carpenter’s contract requires payment of 50% upon signing, an additional 30% halfway through the job, and the final 20% upon completion. When the job is done, … Read More 

Fine-Tuning Your Contract

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

When negotiators sign on the dotted line, they sometimes worry about the wrong concerns. “Did I overpay?” wonders the buyer as he inks the sales agreement. Across the table, the seller is thinking, “I bet if I’d pushed a little harder, I would have gotten more.” … Read More 

Beware Your Lawyer’s Biases

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

Parties in litigation are often overly optimistic about their chances of winning in court. This tendency reduces the bargaining range for settlement because one or both parties perceive their walkaway alternative (namely, letting the courts decide) to be more attractive than it actually is. According to conventional wisdom, lawyers can help their clients overcome this … Read More 

Small Talk, Big Gains?

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

According to conventional wisdom, small talk builds rapport and gets both sides a better deal in the end. But in fact, the question of whether to engage in small talk can be highly context-specific. New York City investment bankers, for example, tend to be far less likely than Texas oil executives to engage in small … Read More 

Pick the Right Agent

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

So, you’ve decided to use an agent in your next negotiation. Now what? It’s important not to rush headlong into the process of choosing an agent—picking the first one you speak to, for example, and sending him off to talks the next day. You need to choose your agent carefully, then establish a clear, detailed understanding … Read More 

“Are We Exclusive?”

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

Ron McAfee, a carpenter and roofing expert, spent considerable time working with a condominium association on the design of a new roof deck. After gaining agreement on the proposed layout, design, and materials, McAfee submitted a written bid of $12,500. One of the board members subsequently showed McAfee’s plans to another roofer, who offered to … Read More 

Eyeing the Competition

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

Ford vs. GM. Coke vs. Pepsi. Oxford vs. Cambridge. These famous rivalries remind us that the top two achievers in a given realm often compete fiercely with each other. Researchers Stephen M. Garcia and Richard Gonzalez of the University of Michigan and Avishalom Tor of the University of Haifa have produced a useful series of … Read More 

How to Lighten Your Burdens

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

For decades, General Electric (GE) and the Environmental Protection Agency sparred over who would pay for the removal of PCBs, or polychlorinated biphenyls, that GE had discharged into New York’s Hudson River, a cleanup project expected to cost hundreds of millions of dollars. In October 2005, the two sides came to an agreement. … Read More 

When We Expect Too Much

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

How often have you heard a friend or colleague refer to a contract as being “in the bag,” only to find out later that the deal didn’t go through? There always turns out to be a good reason a negotiation fell apart. Yet the fact remains that most negotiators are overconfident about their chances of … Read More 

Are you afraid of commitment?

Posted by & filed under Daily, Negotiation Skills.

Adapted from “Overcoming Stage Fright: How to Prepare for a Negotiation,” by Michael Wheeler (Professor, Harvard Business School), first published in the Negotiation newsletter.

Many negotiators grow anxious as they approach the bargaining table, a reaction that puts them in good company with other distinguished professionals. Laurence Olivier’s stage fright almost ended his acting … Read More 

Learning from the Soda Wars

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

This past November, in an unusual move, Costco, the largest wholesale club in the United States, removed Coca-Cola products from its shelves and posted messages telling shoppers that Coke products would not be available until the company lowered its prices. … Read More 

To Avoid Disaster, Plan Ahead

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

In the midst of the recent financial crisis, accusations of greed on Wall Street have sounded across the globe. Greed may be a significant factor in the collapse of credit markets, but it’s not the only one. Overlooked in cries to punish the “bad apples” is the role of a mistake that virtually all negotiators … Read More 

Should You Go Dutch?

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

Most everyday auctions are English: they begin with an opening bid, continue with ascending bids, and end when the bidding stops. But for some assets, the seller opens at a very high price, then moves down rather than up if all bidders are silent. … Read More 

What Makes Negotiators Happy?

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

The question above may seem silly. Getting more of what we care about seems the obvious answer. Yet negotiators often don’t know how to accurately assess a good outcome; instead, they rely on outside indicators to determine their satisfaction, for instance by comparing their outcomes to those of others. Your negotiated annual salary of $100,000 … Read More 

Is Your Agent Faulty?

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

Top executive pay attorney Joseph Bachelder was representing a client who’d just been chosen as a company’s next CEO. After a first session with the board’s representative to hammer out a compensation package, Bachelder took his client aside and informed him that he would get everything he wanted from the negotiation, according to the Wall … Read More 

Check Your Confidence

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

Many negotiators understand the importance of estimating the other side’s reservation price—the worst deal he would accept from you. However, despite the fact that such estimates often are based on hints, clues, and speculation, negotiators are frequently overconfident that their estimates are accurate. … Read More 

When It Pays to Delay

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

Kathy, a serial entrepreneur, was negotiating the acquisition of a boutique software-development firm when a dispute arose regarding the valuation of one of the software firm’s assets. Specifically, the firm owned the rights to a technology patent of uncertain value. The firm’s owner argued that this patent was worth millions. Kathy agreed that the patent … Read More 

Is Your Role Not Quite Right? Negotiate a Better “Fit”

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

What happened the last time you faced a new leadership opportunity? Whether you were called on to head a team, a task force, a unit, a division, or a company, chances are you negotiated the compensation and perquisites of the appointment—your salary, title, vacation, and bonus. But did you look beyond these basics and negotiate … Read More 

Tough Tactics: Do ‘Death Threats’ Really Work?

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What would you do if someone threatened you? Strike back? Run away? Beg for mercy? Try to negotiate? Last April, The New York Times in effect held a gun to the heads of Boston Globe employees – twice. The confrontation, say experts at the Harvard Program on Negotiation, offers valuable lessons in handling high-risk, high-stakes situations. Background: … Read More 

Beware the Pressure of Sunk Costs in Business Negotiations

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Think about what your house, condominium, or some other valuable asset might be worth in today’s market. Did the price you paid for it affect your answer? “Ignore sunk costs,” accounting professors and economists tell us. The amount of money and effort we’ve invested in the past, they say, is irrelevant to our future investments. … Read More 

Instructing the negotiator

Posted by & filed under Daily, Negotiation Skills.

The Clearinghouse at PON offers hundreds of role simulations, from two-party, single-issue negotiations to complex multi-party exercises. The Ship Bumping Case is a two-party international negotiation between Russian and U.S. negotiators over a naval incident. Teams internally prepare instructions for a representative not involved in the preparation. SCENARIO: Vessels from the United States … Read More 

How to Avoid the “Winner’s Curse”

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Imagine that at the beginning of class, a professor produces a jar full of coins and announces that he is auctioning it off. Students can write down a bid, he explains, and the highest bidder wins the contents of the jar in exchange for his or her bid. … Read More 

Negotiating When Business and Family Collide

Posted by & filed under Daily, Mediation.

Basic negotiation skills may seem easy to apply in business situations but what about when business and family collide? For example, a 69-year-old CEO of a large financial firm that has been in his family for three generations is considering retirement. He has three children who may be interested in taking over the business in addition … Read More 

The Value of Making Several Offers in Business Negotiations

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations, Daily.

What’s the right number of options to put forward in financial negotiations? In their April 2005 article in the Negotiation newsletter, “Putting More on the Table: How Making Multiple Offers Can Increase the Final Value of the Deal,” Northwestern professors Victoria Husted Medvec and Adam D. Galinsky write that issuing three equivalent offers simultaneously can … Read More