dispute

In this free special report Dispute Resolution, Working Together Toward Conflict Resolution on the Job and at Home, the editors of Negotiation cull valuable negotiation strategies and curate popular content to provide you with a concise guide on how to improve your dispute resolution skills.

The following items are tagged dispute.

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In Rome, Conflict Management Turns Operatic

Posted by & filed under Conflict Management.

When financial disputes arise between longstanding partners, both insiders and outsiders often note, “It’s not about the money.” Simmering resentment, mutual blame for ongoing problems, poor communication, and other deep issues often underlie arguments over money and make conflict management all the more difficult. Parties may reach agreement on monetary issues, but if they fail to tackle their underlying differences, one or both sides is likely to leave the table feeling dissatisfied and the conflict will continue.

Courses and Training

Fall 2014 Negotiation and Dispute Resolution

Posted by & filed under PON Seminars, PON Seminars (Semester Length Courses).

This highly interactive semester-length seminar explores the ways that people negotiate to create value and resolve disputes. Designed both to improve understanding of negotiation theory and to build negotiation skills, the curriculum integrates negotiation research from several academic fields with experiential learning exercises.

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Fighting For Your Livelihood

Posted by & filed under Teaching Negotiation.

From brokering a deal to negotiating a sale, there are many disputes that happen at work. Among the most challenging are those involving employers and employees. That’s the case with Binder Kadeer: Consultation in the Company, a negotiation exercise brought to you by the Program on Negotiation’s Teaching Resource Center (TNRC).

Courses and Training

Daily

Dealing with Difficult People: Coping with an Insulting Offer

Posted by & filed under Dealing with Difficult People.

The following “Ask the Negotiation Coach” question was posed to Dwight Golann, Suffolk University Law School professor and negotiation expert: Question: I deal with legal disputes and would like to find reasonable solutions without wasting years in court. But my opponents seem to feel compelled to make extreme—actually, insulting—opening offers. How should I respond?

Courses and Training

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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 experience exploring complex and emotionally fraught issues in an educational environment, the TNRC offers a variety of role-plays focused on health-care related disputes such as medical malpractice.

Courses and Training

Spring 2015 Mediation and Conflict Management

Posted by & filed under PON Seminars, PON Seminars (Semester Length Courses).

This course is designed to raise your awareness of your own approach to conflict, introduce a range of theories about mediation and participatory processes, and improve your conflict management skills. While we will discuss a wide range of dispute resolution processes that involve third parties, we will focus on mediation. Each class moves back and forth between theory and skills practice, using theory to improve real world effectiveness, and using experience to improve understanding of theory.

Daily

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 injected new life into the stagnating music industry with the October release of her first pop album, “1989.” The album sold 1.287 million copies in the United States in its first week, instantly becoming 2014’s bestseller to date. Amid the win-win-win news for Swift, her fans, and the music industry, there was one clear loser, however: Spotify, the world’s most popular music-streaming service.

Courses and Training

Bargaining With the Devil: When to Negotiate and When to Walk Away

Posted by & filed under 1 Day Courses, executive training.

The Devil can be defined as anyone perceived as a harmful adversary. In this one-day course, you will learn how to decide whether to negotiate or fight with the Devils you encounter in your everyday life or whether to just walk away. The program, which is based on Professor Mnookin’s book Bargaining with the Devil and takes place June 21, 2012, teaches you how to arrive at a “wise decision” about how to deal with the Devils and avoid emotional, strategic, and political traps.

Read more

Daily

What are the Three Basic Types of Dispute Resolution? What to Know About Mediation, Arbitration, and Litigation

Posted by & filed under Dispute Resolution.

Suppose that in each case, the parties and their lawyers have exhausted their attempts to negotiate a resolution on their own. They’re ready for outside help in ending their dispute, yet they don’t know where to turn.

When it comes to dispute resolution, we now have many choices. Understandably, disputants are often confused about which process to use. This article offers some guidance, adapted from
Frank E. A. Sander and Lukasz Rozdeiczer’s chapter on the topic in The Handbook of Dispute Resolution [LINK] (Jossey-Bass, 2005).

Courses and Training

Secrets of Successful Dealmaking

Posted by & filed under Harvard Negotiation Institute, Harvard Negotiation Institute (5 Day Courses).

In corporate dealmaking, much of the action happens away from the negotiating table. Successful dealmakers understand that deal set-up and design greatly influence negotiation outcomes.

In this program, you will examine the legal, tactical, and structural elements of dealmaking and acquire practical skills and techniques for navigating difficult tactics and pursuing interest-based negotiations.

Whether you are an experienced negotiator or new to the field, you will learn how to abandon behaviors that hinder negotiations and emerge with new conceptual frameworks, practical skills and a systematic approach to navigating complex business deals.

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Courses and Training

Negotiation Workshop: Strategies, Tools, and Skills for Success

Posted by & filed under Harvard Negotiation Institute, Harvard Negotiation Institute (5 Day Courses).

Turn disputes into deals. Transform deals into better deals. Resolve intractable problems. Negotiating effectively requires the ability to change the game – moving away from conflict and toward collaboration. In this intensive, interactive program, you acquire a proven framework for maximizing the value of your negotiation, whether you are behind the bargaining table with a client or across the table with an opposing party.

Engaged with a professional group of peers, you will participate in discussions and simulations that cover a range of complex scenarios ranging from intellectual property, pricing, and licensing negotiations to international, domestic, public, and private disputes. You will refine your negotiation skills and leave with a set of strategies that you can use to deal with difficult negotiation behaviors and hard-bargaining tactics.

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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, most decisions are reached via global agreements rather than decided by courts.

Courses and Training

Intensive Negotiations for Lawyers and Executives

Posted by & filed under Harvard Negotiation Institute, Harvard Negotiation Institute (5 Day Courses).

Whether you’re a vice president, litigator, manager, or transactional attorney, negotiation is central to nearly every professional activity. Systematic and thorough preparation, as well as an ability to manage shared, different, and conflicting interests, is critical to success.

Designed to address the core issues that you experience as you negotiate on behalf of your clients, organizations, or yourself, this intensive two-day program provides a theoretical framework for thinking about business and legal negotiations. You will address distinct challenges faced by lawyers and professionals – ranging from multi-party, complex negotiations to situations involving difficult people and behaviors – and acquire proven strategies for overcoming them.

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Resolve Employee Conflicts with Mediation Techniques

Posted by & filed under Mediation.

If you manage people, disputes will show up at your door. The marketing VP protests that the budget cap you and your new finance VP proposed is hindering a research initiative you supported. Two young sales representatives are embroiled in a turf war. Your administrative assistant is upset because the HR director won’t approve the extra week of paid maternity leave you promised her. Fail to address such employee concerns and you’ve failed as a leader. But it can be difficult to know how to respond, especially when you have a stake in the problem.Sometimes third-party intervention can make matters worse.

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 fairly and effectively negotiate gender discrimination issues.

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 an effective negotiation case. Now it is a full-length article that will appear in a forthcoming issue of Negotiation Journal.

Apple and Samsung: A Dispute Between Business Negotiators

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

For two days in late May, Apple CEO Tim Cook and Samsung CEO Gee-Sung Choi met with a judge in the U.S. District Court of Northern California in an attempt to reach a settlement in a high-profile U.S. patent case, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Back in April 2011, Apple filed a lawsuit accusing Samsung of copying the “look and feel” of the iPhone when the Korean company created its Galaxy line of phones. Samsung countersued Apple for not paying royalties for using its wireless transmission technology. Since then, the number of patents under dispute has skyrocketed, according to the Korea Times, as has the number of courts involved in various countries. The two companies have repeatedly accused each other of copying the appearance and functions of their smartphones and tablet devices.

Four Negotiation Strategies for Resolving Values-Based Disputes

Posted by & filed under Dispute Resolution.

In many negotiations, both parties are aware of what their interests are, and are willing to engage in a give-and-take process with the other party to come to agreement. In conflicts related to personal identity, and deeply-held beliefs or values, however, negotiation dynamics can become more complex. Parties may not be willing to make any concession that helps the other side, even if it would bring about a reciprocal concession that would be in their own favor.

Dispute Resolution Using Online Mediation

Posted by & filed under Mediation.

Suppose you want to hire a mediator to help you resolve a conflict that you’re having with an individual or a company, but for various reasons, meeting face-to-face would be difficult.

Perhaps you and the other party are located in different geographic areas. Maybe your dispute originated in an online transaction, and you’ve never even met. Or perhaps one of you feels threatened or intimidated by the other and is reluctant to meet in person.

Dispute Resolution: The Case of the Broken Speakers

Posted by & filed under Dispute Resolution.

“Indirect confrontation” may be a useful way of helping a counterpart save face, writes professor Jeanne Brett of Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management in an August 2010 article in the journal Negotiation and Conflict Management Research.

To Grade Or Not To Grade? That Is The Question!

Posted by & filed under Teaching Negotiation.

Whether to grade student role-play performance, process and outcomes is a tricky question. Jim Lawrence, a long-time PON contributor, simulation author, attorney and practicing mediator with Frost Brown Todd LLC, recently shared his thoughts on the value and purpose of grading students participating in negotiation simulations.

Build On Your Past Success in Business Negotiations

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

For fans of AMC’s hit show Mad Men, the news was terrible. In late March 2011, the network publicly confirmed that the fifth season of the show, originally set to air summer of 2011, would not air until early 2012. A contract dispute with the show’s creator, producer, and head writer, Matthew Weiner, had held up the writing and production of the new season. The network reportedly offered Weiner a $30 million, three-season contract, which would make him one of the most highly paid producers on cable TV.

The Importance of Sincerity

Posted by & filed under Conflict Management.

Most of us have had the experience of delivering an apology that fell on deaf ears. When apologies fail to achieve their aims, poor delivery is usually to blame. In particular, if the recipient thinks your apology is less than sincere, she is unlikely to forgive you.

Panda Diplomacy and Business Negotiations: Applying Soft Power

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

In 2011, Emiko Okuyama, the mayor of Sendai, Japan, launched a negotiation that, at the time, seemed relatively straightforward. Sendai had been devastated by the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan earlier that year. In hopes of lifting the spirits of children traumatized by the natural disasters, Okuyama and other local officials came up with the idea of asking the Chinese government to loan panda bears to the Yagiyama Zoological Park in Sendai, Mark McDonald reports in the New York Times. By the end of the year, Japanese prime minister Yoshihiko Noda convinced Chinese president Hu Jintao to agree to the goodwill gesture, and two pandas appeared to be on the fast track for a trip from China to Japan.
Then things got complicated.

2 Negotiation Role-Plays Designed To Build Critical Skills

Posted by & filed under Teaching Negotiation.

Here is a brief story about about a teenager named Chris Jensen.

On his way home from basketball practice, he walked into a grocery store and shoplifted some candy bars and a soda. The storeowner saw him, chased after him, and, as luck would have it, they ran right into a police officer.

But instead of hauling him off to juvenile court, the victim agreed to try another method of negotiating a successful resolution.

PON Graduate Research Fellow Vera Mironova Published by Foreign Policy

Posted by & filed under International Negotiation.

Every year, the Program on Negotiation (PON) honors distinguished scholars with a Graduate Research Fellowship that provides support for one year of dissertation research and writing in negotiation and related topics in alternative dispute resolution. These grants promote negotiation research and are awarded to candidates in the social sciences and professional disciplines who are currently pursuing theoretical, empirical, and/or applied research in the fields of negotiation and dispute resolution. Among our 2014-2015 graduate scholars is Vera Mironova, a PhD candidate in Political Science at the University of Maryland.

Negotiation Case Studies: Teach By Example

Posted by & filed under Teaching Negotiation.

There are good negotiators and there are great ones.
Once a year, the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School selects an outstanding individual who embodies what it means to be a truly great negotiator. To earn the Great Negotiator Award, the honoree must be a distinguished leader whose lifelong accomplishments in the field of dispute resolution and negotiation have had compelling and lasting results.
To help students and professionals learn valuable lessons from these highly skilled negotiators, our Teaching Negotiation Resource Center (TNRC) offers the Great Negotiator Case Study Series featuring in-depth studies such as “Stuart Eizenstat: Negotiating the Final Accounts of World War II” and “Lakhdar Brahimi: Negotiating a New Government for Afghanistan.”

The Moral Quandary: Negotiation Exercises Featuring Ethical Dilemmas

Posted by & filed under Teaching Negotiation.

In a negotiation, few issues heighten tensions faster than when one party feels that the other party has done something ethically or morally incorrect.
To help professionals prepare for times like this, the Program on Negotiation’s Teaching Negotiation Resource Center (TNRC) offers a variety of negotiation exercises designed to teach participants how to handle disputes that are fraught with ethical issues.

In Business Negotiations, Restraint Can Be Key—Even in High Fashion

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

When employees leave an unsatisfying job, the feeling of relief they feel sometimes motivates them to explain their decision to whomever will listen. But that tendency can backfire and necessitate tense business negotiations, as a recent story from the world of high fashion illustrates. In November 2012, designer Nicolas Ghesquière startled the fashion world with his decision to leave his position as the creative director of design house Balenciaga, a job he had held for 15 years. The two sides negotiated a deal: the house would pay Ghesquière $8.8 million in return for his written promise not to make any comments that could damage the image of Balenciaga, its owners, and its shareholders and collaborators, The Australian reports.

Powerful Conflict Resolution Games To Help You Teach Negotiation

Posted by & filed under Teaching Negotiation.

From complicated negotiation strategies to artful subterfuge, conflict resolution games are one of the very best ways to prepare for the challenges of real-world negotiation. Games that employ a Prisoner’s Dilemma structure (where rational parties may not cooperate despite their best interests) enable participants to analyze negotiations, make strategic decisions, and anticipate their counterpart’s next move.

Dispute Resolution: Should You Bring Your Lawyer?

Posted by & filed under Dispute Resolution.

How does the presence of lawyers affect the process of mediation? You might guess that when one or both sides bring an attorney to a mediation, the process would become more contentious and adversarial, with impasse more likely, than if the parties worked solely with a mediator. That conventional wisdom is contradicted by new research by professors Jean Poitras of HEC Montreal; Arnaud Stimec of the Université de Nantes, France; and Jean-François Roberge of the Université de Sherbrooke in Canada.

Thanks to Keen Negotiation Skills, the Carolinas Avoid a Border Dispute

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

Due to the frequency of their border disputes, the United States can at times seem not so united. The states of Georgia and Tennessee are currently embroiled in a heated conflict over a mile-long strip of land. A dispute between Georgia and South Carolina over several islands reached the Supreme Court, as did a conflict between New Jersey and New York over a landfill near Ellis Island.

Highly inaccurate surveying conducted in the early days of the republic, combined with the natural human tendency to make biased claims to land and other prized commodities, have conspired to make these disputes especially heated. That’s why the states of North and South Carolina should be commended for approaching a border challenge with a minimum of rancor and some collaborative negotiation skills, as described recently by Stephen R. Kelly, a visiting professor in the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University, in the New York Times.

Negotiation Games for the New Academic Year

Posted by & filed under Teaching Negotiation.

In complex legal negotiations, money, reputations, and sometimes even lives are often at stake. Legal professionals must know how to read and debate the law as well as fully embrace the art and science of negotiation.
To help attorneys and other legal professionals become well versed in law and court-based negotiation, the Program on Negotiation’s Teaching Negotiation Resource Center (TNRC) offers a wide range of role-play negotiation simulations.

Conflict Resolution: When Forgiveness Seems Elusive

Posted by & filed under Conflict Resolution.

In the aftermath of events ranging from the Catholic Church’s child sexual abuse scandal to the 1994 Rwandan genocide, victims have received apologies from those who caused or perpetuated their suffering. Yet those who have been harmed are not always willing or able to forgive. In the context of business negotiations, when a counterpart apologizes for harming or offending you, should you forgive and move forward? What if doing so seems impossible?

How Case Studies Facilitate Negotiated Agreements

Posted by & filed under Teaching Negotiation.

What do a Nobel Peace Prize recipient, the CEO of an international financial advisory firm, and the former United States ambassador to the United Nations have in common? They’ve all received the Great Negotiator Award.
Every year, the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School bestows this prestigious honor on distinguished leaders whose lifelong accomplishments in the field of dispute resolution and negotiation have had compelling and lasting results.

Capture the Best of Mediation and Arbitration with Med-Arb

Posted by & filed under Mediation.

The problem: You’re not sure which of the two most common dispute-resolution processes, mediation or arbitration, to use to resolve your conflict. Mediation is appealing because it would allow you to reach a collaborative settlement, but you’re worried it could end in impasse. You know that arbitration would wrap up your dispute conclusively, but it wouldn’t give you much say in the outcome. The tool: A hybrid mediation-arbitration approach called med-arb combines the benefits of both techniques. In this increasingly popular process, parties first attempt to collaborate on an agreement with the help of a mediator.

Conflict Management: When Do “Sacred” Issues Keep Negotiators Apart?

Posted by & filed under Conflict Management.

At some point or another, most negotiators claim that a certain issue is a deal breaker.If you’re trying to sell your business, for instance, you might walk away from talks with a potential buyer who you believe would lay off many of your longtime employees. Or if someone asks you to go in on a venture that violates your moral principles, you might refuse to even consider the prospect.

A desire to safeguard your personal integrity, health, or safety, or that of those close to you, may cause you to declare certain issues sacred in your negotiations—completely nonnegotiable under all conditions. Yet a refusal to compromise on key issues can lead to impasse in an otherwise beneficial deal.

Moreover, researchers have long theorized that many of the issues we claim are sacred are actually “pseudo-sacred”—that is, they’re off-limits under some but not all conditions. According to this view, our resolve regarding sacred issues can waver, whether or not we realize it. When do negotiators stand firm on sacred issues? In a recent experiment, a research team led by professor Ann E. Tenbrunsel of Notre Dame University explored this question. In particular, they looked at whether the strength of one’s best alternative to a negotiated agreement (BATNA)—an important source of power in negotiation—affects whether negotiators bend or stand firm on the issues they hold sacred.

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 (TNRC) offers a wide range of role-play negotiation exercises.

Dispute Resolution: Mandatory Arbitration Under Fire

Posted by & filed under Dispute Resolution.

A shake-up is afoot regarding large companies’ use of mandatory arbitration to settle disputes with consumers. Until now, if you got into a dispute with your credit card or cell-phone provider, you might have to sort it out in arbitration even if you’d rather file a lawsuit. Buried in the fine print of many consumer service contracts are clauses that waive customers’ right to sue. Instead, arbitration becomes the mandatory, go-to process in disputes over payment and service.

Conflict Management: Intervening in Workplace Conflict

Posted by & filed under Conflict Management.

Question: I’m aware of lots of unresolved personnel issues that seem to be festering in my department, such as complaints about someone who is not doing his share of the work, another person whose griping is causing a drop in morale, and two coworkers who can’t seem to get along. I’m comfortable negotiating with customers, but I don’t know if I ought to get involved in these difficult, more personal matters. They seem important to resolve, but shouldn’t I just mind my own business?

How Negotiation Role-Play Simulations Can Help You Resolve Environmental Disputes

Posted by & filed under Teaching Negotiation.

From complicated land use debates to the regulation of pollutants, environmental negotiations are fraught with dynamic legal, scientific, and societal considerations. Because many of the natural resources in question are limited and fragile, disputes over them can be particularly difficult.
To help educate professionals about how to work through challenging environmental and sustainability negotiations, the Program on Negotiation’s Teaching Negotiation Resource Center offers a wide range of role-play exercises.

Conflict Management Skills and Techniques: The Benefits of Taking Your Dispute Public

Posted by & filed under Conflict Management.

Given the frequency with which companies air their private grievances, there must be an upside to going public, right?

In fact, there are several.

First, once you’ve threatened to take your dispute public, following through demonstrates your willingness to stand by your words.

In addition, being in the spotlight can motivate both sides to address their differences with a new sense of urgency.

The faster you resolve your differences, the sooner you can get back to business as usual.

In Dispute Resolution, A Tale of Two Arthurs

Posted by & filed under Dispute Resolution.

In the business world, long-term loyalty to a CEO is supposed to be a good thing. For New England supermarket chain Market Basket, however, employees’ reverent appreciation for their former chief and co-owner, Arthur T. Demoulas, has proved to be destructive to the business in the short term, causing employee and customer protests as well as a state of decision paralysis among Market Basket’s board of directors.

In June, Demoulas was ousted in the culmination of a decades-long feud with his cousin, Arthur S. Demoulas, another co-owner of the family business. Arthur S. took control of the company, which is one of New England’s most successful retail chains, the New York Times reports.

The firing infuriated Market Basket employees, who had enjoyed good wages, regular bonuses and a generous profit-sharing plan. “You had Santa Claus in charge,” supermarket industry analyst Daivd Livingston of DJL Research in Milwaukee told the Boston Globe. “Every day it was Christmas.”

Conflict Management Techniques: Should You Take Your Dispute Public?

Posted by & filed under Conflict Management.

To turn up the heat on opponents, negotiators sometimes advertise their grievances.

Here’s negotiation skills advice on when it’s a good idea to be vocal—and when to keep talks private.

The decision seemed nonsensical.

Early on the morning of March 7, 2010, with the Academy Awards telecast just hours away, the Walt Disney Company pulled the signal on WABC, its New York–area station. Residents in the New York area awoke to learn they might have to scramble to watch the Oscars via satellite at bars or friends’ homes.

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 the Program on Negotiation offers negotiation case studies from renowned authors who’ve negotiated trade agreements, aided peace treaties, and handled many other high-stakes deals. By drawing on their own experiences, they’ve crafted negotiation case studies that are authentic, compelling, and enlightening.

On Facebook, Dispute Resolution Goes Live

Posted by & filed under Dispute Resolution.

Facebook recently faced widespread criticism for conducting a psychology experiment on about 700,000 of its users without their informed consent. In the study, Facebook researchers manipulated users’ moods by exposing them to more positive or more negative posts than usual.

Now CNNMoney reports that Facebook has been engaged in a more benign and possibly beneficial psychological experiment.

The company has been under pressure to address the growing problem of “cyberbullying” among young people. It also has been looking for ways to help users address their conflicts and disputes themselves rather than enlisting the company as mediator.

How Negotiation Exercises Can Prepare You For Cross-Cultural Negotiations

Posted by & filed under Teaching Negotiation.

The increasingly diverse and global nature of business sets the stage for disputes that can cross ethnic and cultural lines—fueling the need for expertise in cross-cultural negotiations. To help teach these nuances and tactics, the Teaching Negotiation Resource Center (TNRC) has developed several negotiation exercises that address the challenges that are inherent to cross-cultural negotiations.

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 depth of business and commercial negotiations.

Dealmaking and Business Negotiations: 6 Tips for Novice Hagglers

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

Whether you’re purchasing a new home or car, or negotiating a discount on an inventory purchase for your firm, the art of haggling enables negotiators to make a strong claim for their share of the pie. Here are six tips from the Negotiation Briefings newsletter to help you start becoming a better at haggling in business negotiations.

Hong Kong Lawyer Benny Tai Inspired by Harvard Negotiation Project Authors

Posted by & filed under Teaching Negotiation.

The Harvard Negotiation Project was recently mentioned in the Wall Street Journal by David Feith in his interview with Benny Tai, “China’s New Freedom Fighters.”

Benny Tai, a 49 year old lawyer who has been branded an “enemy of the state,” founded Occupy Central with Love and Peace, a group that promotes civil disobedience in order to promote free elections in Hong Kong.

Among Tai’s inspirations include works from the Program on Negotiation’s Harvard Negotiation Project.

Three Questions to Ask About the Dispute Resolution Process

Posted by & filed under Dispute Resolution.

Dispute resolution is often a multistep process that can start with negotiation, move on to mediation, and, if necessary, end in arbitration or litigation.

This progression allows parties to start off, quite naturally, with less-expensive, less-formal procedures before making bigger commitments of money and time.

Still, there may be situations in which you wonder if it would be better to sue first and then aim for a settlement, rather than starting with a more collegial process.

Conflict Management: Mediation Used in Dispute Resolution Over Art Museums

Posted by & filed under Mediation.

Two art museums have been at the center of disputes involving their host cities, Detroit, Michigan, and North Miami, Florida. In both cases, the question of who owns the museums’ collections and the museums themselves is at stake. Also in both cases, the interested parties have turned to mediation to break the impasse.

Beginning in Detroit, the city’s bankruptcy put the world-class collection of its art museum, the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA), in jeopardy. Though the DIA is operated by a nonprofit organization, its valuable collection is owned by the city, a fact that puts it in jeopardy.

Some Detroit creditors have argued that part of the collection should be sold off to help address the city’s $18 billion in pension and other liabilities, writes the New York Times. But local leaders and museum officials have rejected this idea, arguing it would be short-sighted and demoralizing for a city that is attempting to rebuild itself after a devastating fall.

Dispute Resolution and Conflict Management: Conflicts Can Be Contagious

Posted by & filed under Conflict Management.

When you negotiate a dispute with a colleague in front of other teammates, there’s a chance these onlookers may become participants in the conflict, our research shows.

Suppose that during a meeting, you and another team member begin arguing about the best recommendation to give to a client.

An ally of yours jumps in to support your proposal; another teammate rushes to defend your adversary. A more diplomatic team member tries to integrate the two viewpoints, but – as often happens in such situations – she gets swept into the debate as well. As more people become involved, the negotiation threatens to spin out of control.

In Dispute Resolution, Change the Game—and the Name

Posted by & filed under Dispute Resolution.

Suppose that two businesses have similar sounding names. The similarity is confusing to customers, or could be down the line. One of the businesses decides to do something about it. How can they engage in a successful dispute-resolution process?

Two recent conflicts over business names went in different directions. First, a public dispute broke out last year between blogger and writer Bunmi Laditan, creator of the satiric blog and book franchise “The Honest Toddler,” and the Honest Company, an eco-friendly baby-products brand owned by actress Jessica Alba. Laditan started the Honest Toddler in 2012 as a Twitter feed, ostensibly run by an incorrigible youngster offering unsolicited parenting advice. Laditan filed a trademark application for the Honest Toddler name in September 2012. The Honest Company, which also launched in 2012, purchased the Internet domain name honesttoddler.com in March of that year.

At the Met, Conflict Management in a Minor Key

Posted by & filed under Conflict Management.

This spring, the Metropolitan Opera opened labor talks with the 16 unions representing its workers, whose contracts all expire at the end of July, the New York Times reports. Labor and management agree on one fundamental point—that the opera is struggling financially amid falling ticket sales, a depleted endowment, and growing expenses. Perhaps not surprisingly, however, they disagree on where needed budget cuts should come from.

Met management has asked for 16-17% salary cuts from its workers. The unions have refused, saying the company should shrink its rapidly increasing budget by scaling back on new productions and trim administrative spending.
D. Joseph Hartnett, the assistant director of stagecraft from the opera’s stagehands’ union, struck a conciliatory note, saying “We can save the Met…but it means all of us working together to bring the budget in line.”

Make the Most of Mediation

Posted by & filed under Mediation.

What at first seemed like a minor misunderstanding has spiraled out of control. A Chicago-based printing company hired your Chicago-based IT consulting firm to train its staff to use its new computer system.

But throughout the training, our consultants found the company’s staff to be inattentive and unmotivated, and you weren’t surprised when the company kept summoning your team back for individualized training and troubleshooting.

Now the printing company is refusing to pay the $35,000 you’ve billed it for these follow-up services.

Negotiation Analysis: The US, Taliban, and the Bergdahl Exchange

Posted by & filed under International Negotiation.

The recent exchange between the United States and the Taliban of Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl for five Taliban leaders held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, represented the first public prisoner exchange of a US soldier in the thirteen year US involvement in Afghanistan. The background of the deal including how Private First Class Bergdahl (promoted twice to Sergeant while in captivity) entered Taliban control, how the deal was crafted and executed, and what it means for the future have rapidly come forward in bits and pieces through media channels.

What is currently missing in the existing commentary is a holistic negotiation analysis. A negotiation analysis applies negotiation frameworks and theory to better understand the events that have taken place and the unfolding debates, and can provide insight into future negotiations. It also enables understanding by using a template that includes stakeholders, core interests, deal set-up and components, execution, and post-deal debate and legacy to allow for a focused discussion.

The Consensus Building Institute Honors Program on Negotiation Faculty Member Lawrence Susskind with New Fellowship

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

The Consensus Building Institute (CBI) based in Boston, Massachusetts and in Washington, DC has honored Program on Negotiation faculty member Lawrence Susskind with its creation of a one-year graduate student fellowship that offers the successful candidate the opportunity to work with CBI in Boston or DC on an area of focus for bot CBI and the student’s research.

Graduate students enrolled in Law, Masters and doctoral programs with a focus on public issues are eligible to apply for the year-long fellowship which will award $7,500 per semester and will require 16 hours of work a week at either of CBI’s offices in an area of mutual interest to both CBI and the student’s research.

Successful candidates will demonstrate a commitment to consensus building and dispute resolution in the public sector, a passion for working collaboratively, a knowledge of negotiation and alternative dispute resolution theory and practice, an ongoing, demonstrable interest in areas where negotiation theory and practice converge, as well as a strong sense of innovation and entrepreneurial spirit.

When International Negotiation Stymies the Best Mediators

Posted by & filed under International Negotiation.

On May 13, Lakhdar Brahimi, U.N. special envoy to Syria, announced that he was quitting his position as lead mediator of the Syrian conflict due to frustration with a lack of progress. The same day, a French diplomat said the Syrian government had used chemical weapons more than 12 times after signing a treaty banning the weapons, according to the New York Times.

“It’s very sad that I leave this position and leave Syria behind in such a bad state,” Brahimi told reporters.

He was the second high-level mediator to abandon the conflict. In 2012, former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan gave up his efforts to negotiate an end to the civil war after Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government failed to implement the six-point plan that Annan had negotiated between the government and opposition leaders.

Conflict Resolution and Negotiation Across Cultures

Posted by & filed under Conflict Resolution.

After recently losing an important deal in India, a business negotiator learned that her counterpart felt as if she had been rushing through the talks. The business negotiator thought she was being efficient with their time. How can she improve her cross-cultural negotiation skills?

Research shows that dealmaking across cultures tends to lead to worse outcomes as compared with negotiations conducted within the same culture. This is primarily because cultures are characterized by different behaviors, communication styles, and norms. As a result, when negotiating across cultures, we bring different perspectives to the bargaining table, which in turn may result in potential misunderstandings and a lower likelihood of exploring and discovering integrative, or value-creating, solutions.

10 Hard Bargaining Tactics

Posted by & filed under BATNA.

Don’t be caught unprepared by hard bargainers, warn Mnookin, Peppet, and Tulumello in Beyond Winning. Here is their Top 10 list of common tactics.

Dealmaking: Before You Sign on the Dotted Line

Posted by & filed under Dealmaking.

When times are tight, contracts are often broken. These days, parties on both sides of sales agreements are struggling to fulfill their promises, and contract workers are having trouble getting paid by their employers.

The result? Damaged relationships, lost business, and lawsuits. When you do manage to find new business partners in this climate, it can be tempting to rush through the contract-drafting process, file the document away quickly, and roll up your sleeves.

When Dealmaking Breaks Down, Take the High Road

Posted by & filed under Dealmaking.

When a negotiation reaches an impasse, it can be tempting to use threats and punishment to try to coerce the other side into conceding. That may be happening in a dispute between Amazon and Hachette, one of the largest New York publishers, as reported in the New York Times.

In recent years, Amazon has been playing hardball in its contracts with publishers in an effort to raise profits. The online retailing behemoth’s share price has been falling, and analysts are issuing pessimistic earnings forecasts.

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 were spared from cuts and promised almost half of their expected annual pension increases.

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, the parent company of the prestigious department store Bloomingdale’s.

A bidding war over Bloomingdale’s escalated between Campeau and R.H. Macy. Campeau won with an irrationally high offer – but had to declare bankruptcy shortly thereafter.

Conflict Management – What You Need to Know Before You Click “Like”

Posted by & filed under Conflict Management.

A new conflict-management policy from General Mills, the food company behind products such as Cheerios, Bisquick, and Betty Crocker, may lead it to lose some friends on social media.

The manufacturer recently added language to its website alerting consumers that they relinquish their right to sue the company simply by downloading coupons, “liking” General Mills on Facebook, entering its sweepstakes, and interacting with it in other ways. In fact, GM later added terms suggesting that anyone who bought or used one of the company’s products would be required to resolve any dispute through informal email negotiation or binding arbitration, according to the New York Times.

Low-Drama Negotiation Skills at the “Late Show”

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

Just one week after David Letterman revealed his decision to leave his long-running talk show, the Late Show with David Letterman, CBS announced that comedian Stephen Colbert would be his replacement. The negotiations surrounding the changing-of-the-guard were remarkably business-like and calm for the tumultuous world of late-night television.

Letterman debuted his show Late Night in 1982 and then switched to CBS in 1992 following a contentious battle with Jay Leno for Johnny Carson’s chair at the Tonight Show. Letterman’s voluntary decision to retire comes on the heels of Leno’s forced retirement from NBC, which replaced him with Jimmy Kimmel while his ratings were still healthy.

Have You Negotiated How You’ll Negotiate?

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

A large pharmaceutical company was engaged in licensing negotiation with a small biotech firm over the terms of a technology transfer.

When the talks reached a standstill over royalty rates, the two sides began an all-weekend marathon session.

Each side came armed with supporting arguments and data, but, by Sunday afternoon, they had failed to converge toward the center.

Program on Negotiation to honor Ambassador Tommy Koh as 2014 Great Negotiator

Posted by & filed under International Negotiation.

Join us for a conversation with Ambassador Tommy Koh of Singapore, the recipient of the 2014 Great Negotiator Award. This public program will feature panel discussions with Ambassador Koh and faculty from the Program on Negotiation and the Future of Diplomacy Project. The award recognizes Ambassador Koh for his work as chief negotiator for the United States-Singapore Free Trade Agreement, for chairing the negotiations that produced a charter for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), for key actions that resolved territorial and humanitarian disputes in the Baltics and Asia, and for successfully leading two unprecedented global megaconferences: the Third U.N. Conference on the Law of the Sea and the U.N. Conference on the Environment and Development, also known as the Rio Earth Summit.

Maintaining Your Power

Posted by & filed under Conflict Resolution.

Adapted from “You Are Too Powerful for Your Own Good?” by Ann E. Tenbrunsel for the September 2005 issue of Negotiation.

Given the pitfalls of having a position of relative power [LINK], what is a powerful negotiator to do?

By following these steps, you can keep your edge while encouraging cooperative, rather than competitive, behavior.

Google’s Approach to Dispute Resolution: “Don’t Litigate, Negotiate”

Posted by & filed under Dispute Resolution.

In the face of antitrust charges, Google’s new guiding principle is “Don’t litigate, negotiate,” according to the Wall Street Journal.

In recent years, U.S. and European regulators have accused Google of abusing its dominance in online searches by promoting its own services, such as Google Shopping, at the expense of its competitors’ services. Rival comparison-sites such as Nextag complain that Google lists their products far below Google Shopping results, where they are less likely be found, in consumer searches.

You Have Less Information Than You Think

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

Most negotiators understand the importance of preparation and will dedicate significant time and energy to analyzing important negotiations in advance.

Chances are, however, that powerful negotiators will undertake less informative and less accurate analyses than their weaker counterparts will.

For instance, in a hypothetical salary raise negotiation, a negotiator may be so confident of her contributions that she will fail to thoroughly investigate several other important factors; the extent to which her boss met his annual sales goals, the relative performance of her peers, or the company’s overall financial health. Clearly all these variables would be relevant to your salary negotiation.

You Aren’t Invincible

Posted by & filed under Conflict Management.

In a hypothetical raise negotiation [LINK], suppose you find out that your peers have told your boss disparaging and blatantly untrue stories about your interactions with customers.

You feel shocked and upset by their betrayal; you always believed that you had a good relationship with you coworkers. It never crossed your mind that they would attempt to sabotage you, particularly because of your high status in the department.

Whether out of jealousy or a sense of injustice, less powerful parties will do whatever it takes to see their more powerful counterparts fail. Unfortunately, powerful parties often are unaware of their counterparts’ animosity.

Umbrella Agreements, Consensus Building in the Arctic, and Negotiation in Social Enterprises: New Research from PON Fellows and Scholars

Posted by & filed under Daily, Events, PON Graduate Research Fellowships, Students.

Every year the Program on Negotiation sponsors fellows and visiting scholars while they research and write about topics important to the fields of negotiation and mediation. This lunch provides an opportunity for this year’s two Graduate Research Fellows, Alexandros Sarris and Sarah Woodside, and Visiting Scholar Stefanos Mouzas to share their findings with the negotiation community. Join us for a fascinating hour of informal lecture and discussion.

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.

Top 10 International Negotiations of 2013: The East China Sea Dispute

Posted by & filed under International Negotiation.

China’s establishment of an “air defense” zone over a disputed chain of islands in the East China Sea in November is the latest salvo in an escalating international dispute. Japan and China have both laid claim to the islands, known as the Senkaku by Japan and the Diaoyu by China, which are believed to be rich in oil and are also strategically important, according to CNN.

Top 10 International Negotiations of 2013: Apple’s Apology in China

Posted by & filed under International Negotiation.

In China this April, Apple CEO Timothy D. Cook made the unusual move of apologizing to Chinese customers for his company’s warranty policy and promised to make amends, the New York Times reports.

On March 15, International Consumers’ Day in China, the nation’s largest state-run television network criticized Apple for giving iPhone customers in China a short warranty and for charging consumers to replace faulty back covers on iPhones. Apple products are immensely popular in China.

Top 10 Business Negotiations of 2013

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

A number of noteworthy disputes among businesses, organizations, and individuals made headlines in 2013. We point out the negotiation angles behind stories first reported by the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and other media outlets. Keep an eye out for these common themes: hardball tactics that backfire, costly legal battles that could have been avoided, and disputes over poorly worded contracts.

Top Business Negotiations of 2013: Time Warner versus CBS

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

On October 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 had dropped the company, the New York Times reports. The bad news has been attributed largely to an impasse with television network CBS over fees, which led to Time Warner blacking CBS out of millions of homes in New York, Los Angeles, and Dallas for a month during the summer of 2013.

Top Business Negotiations of 2013: Fiat’s Pursuit of Chrysler

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

In 2009, when Chrysler on the verge of financial collapse, the Treasury Department negotiated a swift solution to save it from extinction. Chrysler would go into bankruptcy, and then its ownership would be divided up, with the majority going to a Chrysler union workers’ health-care trust, 20% to Italian automaker Fiat, 10% to the U.S. Treasury Department, and 2% to the Canadian government. Chrysler also gave a $4.59 billion note to the health-care trust to eliminate the company’s future health benefit obligations to retirees. And Fiat negotiated a plan to eventually acquire all of Chrysler by gradually buying the health-care trust and the U.S. government’s stake in Chrysler.

Top Business Negotiations of 2013: Apple versus Samsung

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

In August 2012, a California jury ruled that Samsung would have to pay Apple more than $1 billion in damages for patent violations of Apple products, particularly its iPhone. The judge eventually reduced the payout to $600 million. In November 2013, another jury ruled that Samsung would have to pay Apple $290 million of the amount overruled by the judge in the 2012 case.

Top Business Negotiations of 2013: Starbucks versus Kraft Foods

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

A three-year dispute between Starbucks and Kraft Foods over distribution of Starbucks packaged coffee in grocery stores was resolved on November 12 when an arbitrator determined that Starbucks had breached its agreement with Kraft and ordered the coffeemaker to pay the food giant $2.75 billion.

The Starbucks-Kraft Dispute: In Business Negotiations, Prepare for Problems

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

A three-year dispute between Starbucks and Kraft Foods over distribution of Starbucks packaged coffee in grocery stores was resolved on November 12, when an arbitrator determined that Starbucks had breached its agreement with Kraft and ordered the coffeemaker to pay the food giant $2.75 billion, Stephanie Strom reported in The New York Times.

The dispute dates back to an agreement negotiated in 1998 when Kraft began selling Starbucks packaged coffee through grocery stores. In 2010, with sales of its ground whole bean coffee reaching $500 million annually, Starbucks offered Kraft $750 million to end their agreement.

Starbucks wanted greater flexibility to sell the single-serve coffee pods that were taking off in the market at the time. The company’s agreement with Kraft limited Starbucks to selling pods that worked in Kraft’s Tassimo machines. Starbucks was in danger of being left behind in a race for market share against Green Mountain Coffee’s Keurig system and K-Cup single serving packs.

Mediation: Choosing the Right Mediator

Posted by & filed under Mediation.

When choosing a mediator, keep in mind that you need not accept the proposals that he makes. In other words, you have total power to prevent mediation from leading to undesirable outcome. As a result, the only risk of mediation is that you will spend time and money without reaching agreement. Indeed, one Fortune 100 company that is so firmly convinced of the value of mediation that, as long as the other party seems to genuinely want a good-faith resolution, it will get a list of experienced mediators from a reputable and neutral mediation agency and let the other side select anyone on the list.

Mediation: Focus on Interests, Not Rights

Posted by & filed under Mediation.

There is a better way to resolve your dispute: by hiring an expert mediator who focuses not on rights but on interests – the needs, desires, or concerns that underlie each side’s positions.

If asked why a dispute is important to you, your answer will likely reveal your interests.

Program on Negotiation Welcomes Visiting Scholar Stefanos Mouzas

Posted by & filed under Daily, News.

Stefanos Mouzas is Professor of Marketing and Strategy at Lancaster University Management School in England, where he is also affiliated with the Center of Law and Society. He received his B.Sc. (Economics) from the University of Athens, LL.M. (Contract Law) from University of Bristol, and Ph.D. (Marketing) from Lancaster University. He was Visiting Professor at University of Bocconi (2009), Singapore Management University (2010), University of Duesseldorf (2010-13) and Vienna University of Economics and Business WU (2013).

Mediation Expertise is What You Need

Posted by & filed under Mediation.

When a negotiation escalates into a dispute, most managers understand the value of seeking out a mediator for professional assistance with the matter. The question of whom to hire, however, is less clear-cut. What type of expetise should your mediator have, and where should you look for her? In this article, we will walk you through the processes of finding the right mediator – someone who will be satisfactory to both sides – to settle your disputes.

The Program on Negotiation’s MIT-Harvard Public Disputes Program Releases “Collaborative Approaches to Environmental Decision-Making” Case Studies

Posted by & filed under Conflict Resolution, MIT-Harvard Public Disputes Program.

The MIT-Harvard Public Disputes Program, one of the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School’s many research programs, acts as a center for research committed to thinking about and resolving disputes in the public sector. Led by its Director and Program on Negotiation executive committee member Lawrence Susskind, the MIT-Harvard Public Disputes Program conducts research dealing with international environmental treaty negotiations, public sector consensus building, and advocating for the importance of the science behind any negotiations about resource management.

What If We Have the Same Social Motive at the Bargaining Table?

Posted by & filed under Dealmaking.

When two people share the same motive, they fall prey to the same flaws and reinforce each other’s failings. Consider a labor negotiation in which the chief management negotiator withholds information about revenue projections, while the labor leader holds back details about workforce sentiment. Impasse is the predictable result. When you’re negotiating with a fellow individualist or a fellow cooperator, your goal should be to overcome the inherent flaws of your orientation.

The Mediator’s Role in Internal Negotiations

Posted by & filed under Mediation.

In an article, “Beyond Blame: Choosing a Mediator,” Stephen B. Goldberg advised negotiators involved in a dispute to seek out an interests-based mediator to assist both sides in reaching a resolution.

How Mental Shortcuts Lead to Misjudging

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

Judges don’t make decisions based on a thorough accounting of all the relevant and available information. Instead, like all of us, they rely on heuristics – simple mental shortcuts – to make decisions.

As many past articles have noted, heuristics often lead to good decisions, but they can also create cognitive blinders that produce systematic errors.

One such heuristic is anchoring, or the common tendency to for people making numerical estimates to rely on the initial value available to them and to give it greater influence over the final estimate than it should have.

How does anchoring influence judges?

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, When To Fight, Robert Bordone, PON Executive Committee member and co-author with mediation pioneer Frank E.A. Sander of “Designing Systems and Processes for Managing Disputes,” and William Ury, co-founder of PON and co-author of “Getting to Yes,” a foundational work in the field of negotiation written in collaboration with PON co-founders Bruce Patton and Roger Fisher.

How Inadmissible Evidence Leads to Misjudging

Posted by & filed under Conflict Management.

Throughout the litigation process, judges gain new information at settlement conferences, motion hearings, discovery disputes, and the trial itself.

Inevitably, some of this information, though relevant to the case at hand, will be inadmissible under the rules of evidence.

Unfortunately, informational blinders can prevent judges from disregarding this information when making decisions.

Ambassador Tommy Koh of Singapore Named the Great Negotiator by the Program on Negotiation and the Future of Diplomacy Project

Posted by & filed under Great Negotiator Award, International Negotiation.

The Program on Negotiation, an inter-university consortium of Harvard, MIT, and Tufts, and Harvard’s Future of Diplomacy Project have named Ambassador Tommy Koh of Singapore the recipient of the 2014 Great Negotiator Award. In public events at Harvard planned for the afternoon of Thursday, April 10, 2014 (details to be announced), participants will honor Koh’s distinguished career contributions to the fields of negotiation and dispute resolution, especially his leading roles in challenging settings, from the Law of the Sea and the “Rio” Earth Summit to the ASEAN Charter and the Singapore-U.S. Free Trade Agreement.

From Handshake to Contract: Draft the Right Agreement

Posted by & filed under Dealmaking.

Some negotiations end with a plan of action rather than a signed contract – for example, a plumber agrees to fix the tile damage caused by his work. Other negotiations wouldn’t be appropriate to commemorate in writing, such as how you and your spouse decide to discipline your young child. But in virtually all significant business negotiations, parties should put pen to paper after negotiating the terms of their deal. In fact, contract law requires certain types of deals to be in writing for them to be enforceable.

In Conflict Management, The Devil is in the Details

Posted by & filed under International Negotiation.

Negotiators engaged in conflict management are commonly advised to focus on the big picture, but sometimes it’s the smaller signs that can derail an agreement.

That was literally the case in July when the U.S. government’s plans to engage in peace talks with the Taliban were scuttled over a simple sign and other symbols, as Dion Nissenbaum writes in the Wall Street Journal.

In June, the Taliban opened an office in Doha, Qatar, the results of years of negotiations. The ceremonial opening was supposed to have launched direct talks with the Taliban aimed at ending the war in Afghanistan.

But to the surprise of both U.S. and Afghan officials, the Taliban wasted no time in putting up signs, flags, and banners that identified the office as the “Political Office of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan” – the name that the Taliban used when it ruled Afghanistan. The signage was viewed as an attempt by the Taliban to represent itself as Afghanistan’s government in-exile.

Dispute Resolution in China: Apple Apologizes for Warranty Policies

Posted by & filed under Dispute Resolution.

In China this April, Apple CEO Timothy D. Cook made the unusual move of apologizing to Chinese customers for his company’s warranty policy and promised to make amends, the New York Times reports.

On March 15, International Consumers’ Day in China, the nation’s largest state-run television network criticized Apple for giving iPhone customers in China a one-year warranty, less than the two years required under Chinese law, and for charging consumers about $90 to replace faulty back covers on iPhones.

The Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School: Three Decades of Scholarship and Practice

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

Founded in 1983, the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School is a pioneer in the fields of negotiation, mediation, and alternative dispute resolution.

In commemoration of the program’s 30th anniversary this year, the Program on Negotiation is proud to present a video describing many of PON’s various educational and research activities.

According to Chair Robert Mnookin, at its core the Program on Negotiation is devoted to improving the theory and practice of negotiation and dispute resolution.

For Better Negotiation Training, Study the U.S. Government’s Mistakes

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Training.

Business professionals seeking to improve their negotiation training can learn a great deal from the mistakes made in newsworthy negotiations.

To take one recent example, Steven M. Davidoff of the New York Times’ “DealBook” recently analyzed how the U.S. governments rushed negotiations to save U.S. automaker Chrysler led to a costly long-term problem.

Mind Mapping: A New Negotiation Skill?

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

To your negotiation toolkit, consider adding a new skill: mind mapping.

In a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, Zack Anchors describes how financial advisor Rob O’Dell of Wheaton Wealth Partners of Wheaton, Illinois used the unconventional technique in an attempt to help a client negotiate the sale of his shares of the family business to his younger brother, who hoped to pass the business on to his children.

Mediating Tragedy: Managing the Boston Victim’s Compensation Fund

Posted by & filed under Mediation.

In mid-May, about a month after the Boston Marathon bombings of April 15, lawyer and mediator Kenneth Feinberg stood in an auditorium at the Boston Public Library to address families who had been directly impacted by the tragedy. Feinberg was in charge of administering One Fund Boston, a fund created to distribute donations to the victims.

What If You Have to Arbitrate?

Posted by & filed under Dispute Resolution.

The likelihood that a provision for final-offer arbitration in the event of impasse will actually result in arbitration is slim. However, as a precaution, you and your counterpart should agree on an arbitrator before you start negotiating. It’s easier to choose an arbitrator when both sides view arbitration as an unlikely event when arbitration is imminent and feelings are running high. You need not engage the arbitrator at this time since you probably won’t need her services.

What to Do Before the Deal Breaks Down

Posted by & filed under Dealmaking.

Whenever one side fails to meet its contractual obligations, renegotiation is more likely to succeed if the parties have a strong relationship. Ideally, the aggrieved party will value long-term relations more than potential gains from a claim for breach of contract. For example, a bank will be more willing to renegotiate a loan with a delinquent debtor when the prospect of future business with the debtor is likely. Bondholders of the same debtor, on the other hand, will generally be more resistant to renegotiation, as they tend to lack opportunities for a profitable future business relationship.

What’s Wrong with Traditional Arbitration?

Posted by & filed under Mediation.

Traditionally, the arbitrator is not limited to selecting one of the parties’ contract proposals but may determine the contract terms on his own. If negotiators know that impasse will lead to traditional arbitration, they typically assume that the arbitrator will reach a decision that’s an approximate midpoint between their final offers.

How Ideology Leads to Misjudging

Posted by & filed under Conflict Resolution.

Planning to resolve a personal or business dispute in court? Before doing so, you should consider carefully what psychologists, political scientists, and legal scholars have learned about judges: their decisions are prone to error and bias.

Obviously making a fair judicial ruling can be difficult when the law is murky or the facts are contested. But even when the law is clear and the relevant facts have been fully developed, judges can still have trouble accurately applying the governing principles. Specifically, they face three types of “blinders” – attitudinal, information, and cognitive – that are largely unacknowledged by the legal system.

Because judges are susceptible to misjudging, your outcome in court may not be as fair or predictable as you might expect.

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 a former U.S. ambassador, argues that the Obama administration’s decision to engage Russia on the Syrian conflict is both long overdue and insufficient.

Hiring a Mediator: A Checklist

Posted by & filed under Mediation.

When considering a potential mediator, ask the following questions of those who have worked with him in the past.

Conflict Resolution Lessons from the Home: How Conflict Management Skills Transform Discord Into Harmony

Posted by & filed under Conflict Resolution.

In Lessons in Life Diplomacy, the New York Times’ Bruce Feiler asks, how do we break out of negative patterns of conduct and proactively approach problems encountered in our everyday lives? His advice, gleaned from his own experiences as well as from the research of experts in the field of conflict management and dispute resolution, is actually quite simple on its face yet very complex in practice.

Managing Group Interactions in Multiparty Negotiations

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

When multiple parties gather to discuss issues, someone has to oversee the group’s efforts, or the process will descend into chaos or stalemate.

A negotiation manager should prepare the group’s agenda, establish ground rules, assign research tasks, summarize conclusions, and represent the process to the outside world.

Negotiate, Don’t Litigate

Posted by & filed under Conflict Resolution.

When you’re thinking about resolving a dispute in court, it’s crucial to remember that the decision that will be imposed on you is binding.

If blinders lead a judge to grant a motion that should be denied, deny a motion that should be granted, assign responsibility to the wrong party, or award too much or too little in damages, there can be no going back.

Managing Status in Negotiation

Posted by & filed under Conflict Management.

Concerns about status will arise in any negotiation. How can you deal with them, both in yourself and in others? The following six guidelines can help in virtually any context

Taking Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Too Far

Posted by & filed under Mediation.

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, may offer creative solutions, protection of confidentiality, and preservation of important relationships.

Grant Strother (HLS 2012) Wins Conflict Prevention and Resolution Award for Best Original Student Article

Posted by & filed under Conflict Resolution.

Recent Harvard Law School Graduate Grant Strother ’12 was selected to receive The International Institute for Conflict Prevention & Resolution (CPR) Outstanding Original Student Article Award for his paper, “Resolving Cultural Property Disputes in the Shadow of the Law.” This award recognizes a student article or paper that is focused on events or issues in the field of ADR.

Dispute Resolution, NHL style

Posted by & filed under Dispute Resolution.

In the early hours of January 6, the National Hockey League (NHL) and the NHL Players’ Association (NHLPA) concluded a 16-hour mediation session by announcing they had reached agreement to end a 113-day lockout. The deal was finalized a week later, and the players returned to the ice for a shortened 2012-2013 season on January 19.

The Mediator as Negotiation Advisor: Team versus Individual Interests

Posted by & filed under Mediation.

If you’ve ever been part of an organization team preparing to negotiate an agreement with another organization, you probably have faced this frustrating task: Aligning your individual interests , other team members’ interests, and those of your company as a whole.

Self-Analysis and Negotiation

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

“Separate the people from the problem,” advises the best-selling negotiation text Getting to Yes. That’s certainly good counsel when tempers flare and bargaining descends into ego battles, but it’s a mistake to ignore the psychological crosscurrents in negotiation. Unless they are addressed, a deal may never be reached.

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 Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). MIBA allege that certain NCAA rules governing team participation in preseason and postseason tournaments restricted school’s participation in MIBA tournaments, in violation of various antitrust laws. After four years of litigation, the two parties announced not only that they would settle a lawsuit but also that the NCAA would purchase the rights to the MIBA preseason and postseason tournaments.

PON Film Series Event: My Neighbourhood Screening with Julia Bacha, Just Vision

Posted by & filed under International Negotiation, Middle East Negotiation Initiative, PON Film Series.

The Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School and the Middle East Initiative at the Harvard Kennedy School are pleased to present a screening of “My Neighborhood,” a new Just Vision documentary. A panel discussion will be held after the screening with Julia Bacha, director/producer of My Neighbourhood.

Not-So-Privileged Information

Posted by & filed under Dispute Resolution.

The law of attorney-client privilege protects certain communications on the assumption that clients will reveal critical information to their attorneys only if they know such disclosures will not harm them in court. Despite the inadmissibility of such evidence, judges can have difficulty disregarding privileged information that sheds light on a case.

Dispute Resolution and the Chicago Teachers Union Strike

Posted by & filed under Dispute Resolution.

When a conflict looms, it can be tempting for each side to try to make unilateral decisions on key issues because of the belief that negotiations with the other side will be a dead end. This strategy may pay off in the short term, but it’s important to factor in the long-term costs.

Overconfidence About Future Failure or Success: Limiting Strategic Miscalculation in Business Negotiations

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

Over-precision doesn’t necessarily lead us to think we’re better negotiators than we actually are. Rather, it causes us to trust our initial instincts too much.

Sometimes we’re actually overconfident that we’ll perform worse than others. This tendency applies to competitive situations, including negotiation.

Those who underestimate their ability to be competitive usually will choose to stay out of a negotiation.

Using Mediators to Resolve Disputes

Posted by & filed under Mediation.

You’ve seen how mediators can help one organizational team prepare for a complex negotiation. But what about when litigation looms?

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.

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 Indus Waters Treaty between India and Pakistan and the Ganges Water Treaty between Bangladesh and India are other examples.

Water Diplomacy: Value Creating Approachs to Water Negotiation

Posted by & filed under Conflict Management.

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 who are political leaders focused on preserving sovereignty and maintaining state security. They are often unprepared to think about improving the overall efficiency of water use, which, in effect, can “create” more water.

Water Diplomacy: The Role of Science in Water Diplomacy

Posted by & filed under Conflict Management.

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 proportionately.

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.

Water Diplomacy: Creating Value and Building Trust in Transboundary Water Negotiations – Israel and Jordan, From War to Water Sharing

Posted by & filed under Conflict Resolution.

Most difficulties in water negotiations are due to rigid assumptions about how water must be allocated. When countries (or states) share boundary waters, the presumption is that there is a fixed amount of water to divide among them, often in the face of ever-increasing demand and uncertain variability. Such assumptions lead to a zero-sum mindset, with absolute winners and losers. However, when parties instead understand that water is a flexible resource and use processes and mechanisms to focus on building and enhancing trust, even countries in conflict can reach agreements that satisfy their citizens’ water needs and their national interests.

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 new cases in the news, however, show that privacy is a nuanced issue in some alternative dispute resolution contexts.

Roger D. Fisher, 1922-2012

Choosing to Help

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

It is the spring of 1997 and I am sitting in Pound 107 while Roger Fisher ’48, Williston Professor of Law, Emeritus, is telling a story about his serving as a weather reconnaissance pilot in World War II. As a teaching assistant for the Negotiation Workshop, I have heard the story at least a dozen times by now and feel my mind wandering. And yet, against my will, as the story reaches its crescendo and the combination punch line/negotiation issue flows from Roger’s lips, I find myself involuntarily leaning forward and, a second later, helplessly bursting into laughter. The note I jot down to myself is: “All of life is about who tells better stories.”

The Program on Negotiation Mourns the Loss of Co-Founder Roger Fisher

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

Roger Fisher, co-founder of the Program on Negotiation and the Harvard Negotiation Project, died on August 25 at age 90. A true pioneer and leader, he helped launch a new way of thinking about negotiation, and he worked tirelessly to help people deal productively with conflict.

“Through his writing and teaching, Roger Fisher’s seminal contributions literally changed the way millions of people around the world approach negotiation and dispute resolution,” commented Professor Robert H. Mnookin, Chair of the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School. “He taught that conflict is not simply a ‘zero-sum’ game in which a fixed pie is divided through haggling or threats. Instead, he showed how by exploring underlying interests and being imaginative, parties could often expand the pie and create value. Here at the Program on Negotiation and the Harvard Negotiation Project, both of which Roger helped launch, we, his colleagues, are committed to carrying on his work of improving the theory and practice of negotiation and dispute resolution.”

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 Southeast Asian neighbors over claims to the South China Sea. According to a report issued by the research organization International Crisis Group (ICG), recapped by Jane Perlez in the New York Times in late July, the disputes have reached an impasse that could lead to an open conflict.

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 the road.

Negotiating with Your Agent

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

Toby knew that Dara was the perfect New York literary agent for him as soon as he heard her friendly, professional voice on the phone. Never mind that 17 other agents had already rejected his book proposal. Dara’s enthusiasm and recent sales convinced him to sign the three-year exclusive contract she mailed to him in Atlanta.

Managing Conflict Outside of the Courts

Posted by & filed under Dispute Resolution.

In May, Alex Scally, one half of the Baltimore musical duo Beach House, was surprised to hear from fans in Britain claiming that a new song by the band was being used in a Volkswagen television ad. Scally hurried to watch the ad online. He and his partner Victoria Legrand had repeatedly rejected lucrative offers from Volkswagen and its ad agency, DDB, for permission to use Beach House’s 2010 song “Take Care” in an ad, reports James C. McKinley, Jr. in the New York Times.

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.

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 in which they asked participants to determine the fair division of a scarce resource. Half of the subjects (the “self-focused condition”) were asked how much would be fair for them to take. The other subjects (the “other-focused” condition) were asked to think about what would be fair for others to take and then write down how much would be fair for each party (not just themselves) to take.

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 used in the business world, while framework is more widely used in legal and diplomatic circles.) Such agreements set out general principals that will apply to more specific give-and-take contracts in the future. An umbrella agreement between a soft-drink company and a grocery chain, for example, would typically cover issues such as exclusivity, invoicing, confidentiality, and termination. Subsequent short-term contracts would set prices and promotional allowances for specific products.

Announcing the 2012-2013 PON Graduate Research Fellows

Posted by & filed under Daily, Graduate Research Fellowships, PON Graduate Research Fellowships, Students.

The Program on Negotiation Graduate Research Fellowships are designed to encourage young scholars from the social sciences and professional disciplines to pursue theoretical, empirical, and/or applied research in negotiation and dispute resolution. Consistent with the PON goal of fostering the development of the next generation of scholars, this program provides support for one year of dissertation research and writing in negotiation and related topics in alternative dispute resolution, as well as giving fellows an opportunity to immerse themselves in the diverse array of resources available at PON.

We are very excited to have three new fellows join us this fall:

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 panel discussion was held on the afternoon of March 29 and included Program on Negotiation faculty members James Sebenius and Robert Mnookin, as well as Harvard Kennedy School faculty member Nicholas Burns. The Great Negotiator Award was created twelve years ago by the Program on Negotiation to recognize an individual whose lifetime achievements in the field of negotiation and dispute resolution have had a lasting impact.

Why Aren’t Mediation and Arbitration More Popular?

Posted by & filed under Daily, Mediation.

Many scholars have noted that the business community would greatly benefit from third-party dispute resolution services. The problem is, there isn’t much demand for mediation or arbitration. If the alternative dispute resolution field has in fact built a better mousetrap, why isn’t the market buying it?

J. Maurits Barendrecht and Berend de Vries of the Faculty of Law at Tilburg University (Tilburg, the Netherlands) explain this inconsistency in terms of imperfections in disputants’ decisions that keep disputants from rationally dealing with their conflict.

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, may offer creative solutions, protection of confidentiality, and preservation of important relationships.

Rapport Comes First

Posted by & filed under Conflict Resolution.

How is it that mediators – who themselves lack any power to impose a solution – nevertheless often lead bitter disputants to agreement? Substantive expertise helps, as does keen analytic skill.

According to a recent survey by Northwestern University law professor Stephen Goldberg, veteran mediators believe that establishing rapport is more important than employing specific techniques and tactics.

Corporate Stakeholder Engagement and Mineral Extraction in Colombia

Posted by & filed under Dispute Resolution, MIT-Harvard Public Disputes Program.

I want to make four simple points regarding corporate social responsibility and mineral extraction in Colombia. I presented these ideas several weeks ago at a Harvard Law School seminar sponsored by the Colombian government. We had senior officials present along with a great many Colombian graduate students studying at Boston-area schools. I think these prescriptions apply globally, but they are especially relevant in Latin America.

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) provides a new point of entry for those concerned about the social and environmental impacts of mineral extraction.

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 create a great deal of value by making multiple equivalent simultaneous offers or MESOs. This strategy entails identifying several proposals that you value equally and presenting them to the other side.By making multiple offers, the theory goes, you appear more flexible, collect information about the other side’s preferences based on which offer she likes best, and increase the odds of reaching agreement.

Mediating Better Community Relations in New Orleans

Posted by & filed under Mediation.

On May 14, Susan Hutson, the independent police monitor for the city of New Orleans brought together community stakeholders and police officials to help formulate a program that would allow police officers and citizens to mediate minor disagreements, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reports. Aided by a professional mediator, citizens and officers would sit face to face with the goal of resolving citizen complaints of police professionalism and courtesy violations, according to Ursula Price, spokeswoman for Hutson’s office. Hutson hopes to launch the fledgling program, which is not yet funded, in 2014. Committee members, including representatives from various community and criminal justice groups, are charged with planning and implementing the program.

Fifteen Things We Know About Environmental Dispute Resolution

Posted by & filed under Dispute Resolution.

I was recently asked by my Harvard Law School class to summarize what we know (from actual experience) about environmental dispute resolution. I offered the following list. I’m eager to hear reactions from other scholars and practitioners.

What have I left out? What have I misstated?

Equal Time in Mediation

Posted by & filed under Mediation.

Some scientists have long tried to identify the key drivers of success in resolving disputes. Several factors have been proposed: individualized contact that goes beyond the superficial, equal status among parties, commitment to a common goal, and institutional support. Studies have shown that when such conditions are met, parties’ attitudes toward one another often improve.

Other scholars have questioned the significance of such research, however, noting that changes in reported attitudes do not necessarily result in different behavior. This holds true whether the disputants are spouses, neighbors, or a company’s management and its employees.

Mediation in Transactional Negotiation

Posted by & filed under Mediation.

We generally think of mediation as a dispute-resolution device. Federal mediators intervene when collective bargaining breaks down. Diplomats are sometimes called in to mediate conflicts between nations.

So-called multi-door courthouses encourage litigants to mediate before incurring the costs – and risks – of going to trial.

Scott R. Peppet, a professor at the University of Colorado School of Law in Boulder, Colo., reports that mediation may be quietly creeping into transactional negotiation, or traditional deal-making, as well.

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 success. An ongoing research project sponsored by Northwestern University’s Dispute Resolution Research Center is exploring the link between process and outcomes – specifically, how cultural tendencies lead to certain process choices, which, in turn, can lead to better or worse negotiation results.

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 questions.

Frank Sander Honored at American Bar Association 14th Annual Spring Conference

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

With beautiful weather outside and the cherry blossom season in full bloom, over 1000 attendees filled the American Bar Association Dispute Resolution Section’s conference halls as it held its 14th annual conference in Washington, D.C.

On Saturday, April 21, the ABA Section of Dispute Resolution honored Frank Sander, A.B., LL.B., Bussey Professor of Law Emeritus and Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School faculty member, for his outstanding scholarly work in the field of dispute resolution.

Too Many Parties at the Table? Try a Side Deal

Posted by & filed under Conflict Management.

When a large number of parties is involved in jointly hammering out a deal or dispute, agreement can be elusive, as illustrated by the failure of recent global climate change negotiations. The difficulty of coordinating a wide range of perspectives and interests often results in delays, disagreement, and impasse.

In the article, “Too Big to Succeed? The Copenhagen Climate Talks” in our March 2010 issue of Negotiation, we explained how an attempted negotiation among the 192 member states of the United Nations fell apart due to a clash between two factions – developing and developed nations – on how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The large number of parties involved led to chaos, confusion, and very little progress.

Moving Forward in Mediation Together

Posted by & filed under Mediation.

The teacher’s federation has qualms with the current education bill’s stipulations regarding the scheduling and terms for mediation between the federation and provincial government. The government is open to further negotiations, but refuses to offer more money. Susan Lambert, president of the British Columbia Teacher’s Federation, asserts that the government is acting in bad faith, claiming the “whole process is a mockery of fair play…There is a predetermined outcome that requires us to be complacent in stripping out of our collective agreement rights that [the employers tried to take out] at the bargaining table, rights that took a long time to negotiate.” Could mediation unlock value between these parties that was previously left untouched, even though one side has little faith in the process?

New Car Negotiations: Are Women Better than Men?

Posted by & filed under Women and Negotiation.

According to a recent report from NPR Morning Edition’s Sonari Glinton, women not only negotiate harder bargains than men when it comes to vehicle purchases, but also they do more extensive preparatory work. Conventional wisdom has always placed the automobile in the realm of the masculine, but the emergence of the prepared and educated female customer has changed the way car dealers sell cars and the way car manufacturers market and design them.

Five Steps to Better Family Negotiations

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

Family members in business together bring an added complication to inevitable conflicts. In this article, the authors discuss five principles of negotiation specifically relevant for deal-making and dispute resolution cases among relatives.

Announcing the 2011-2012 PON Graduate Research Fellows

Posted by & filed under Daily, Graduate Research Fellowships, PON Graduate Research Fellowships, Students.

The Program on Negotiation Graduate Research Fellowships are designed to encourage young scholars from the social sciences and professional disciplines to pursue theoretical, empirical, and/or applied research in negotiation and dispute resolution. Consistent with the PON goal of fostering the development of the next generation of scholars, this program provides support for one year of dissertation research and writing in negotiation and related topics in alternative dispute resolution, as well as giving fellows an opportunity to immerse themselves in the diverse array of resources available at PON.

We are very excited to have three new fellows join us this fall:

What Makes a Good Mediator?

Posted by & filed under Mediation.

How is it that mediators—who themselves lack any power to impose a solution—nevertheless often lead bitter disputants to agreement? Substantive expertise helps, as does keen analytic skill. But according to a survey by Northwestern University law professor Stephen Goldberg, veteran mediators believe that establishing rapport is more important than employing specific techniques and tactics. To gain parties’ trust and confidence, rapport must be genuine: “You can’t fake it,” one respondent said. Before people are willing to settle, they must feel that their interests are truly understood. Only then can a mediator reframe problems and float creative solutions.

A Discussion with Frank Sander about the Multi-Door Courthouse

Posted by & filed under International Negotiation.

As a collaboration between UST School of Law and the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School, the following is the transcript of a conversation between the creator of the multi-door courthouse, Harvard Law Professor Frank E.A. Sander, and the executive director and founder of the University of St. Thomas (UST) International ADR [Alternative Dispute Resolution] Research Network, Professor Mariana Hernandez Crespo.

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 studies on when competition between entities will exist—with findings that are relevant to all negotiators.

How to Avoid a Do-Over

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

Remember that big sales contract you negotiated last fall, the one that got you a fat year-end bonus? Well, your manufacturing department has just told you that delivery will be two months late. So now it’s your job to persuade your customer to accept a new date without canceling the deal. And that’s not all. That long-term supply contract you worked so hard on a year ago? The supplier is asking for a meeting to revise the pricing due to its increased energy costs.

Allies and Enemies

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

Imagine that you and a colleague get into an argument about the layout of a final report in front of a coworker you both like. Now suppose the same argument occurs in front of someone your colleague likes but you do not or vice versa—in front of an ally who is your colleague’s foe. As it turns out, the presence of various team members during a negotiation with another teammate may affect your negotiating ability.

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.

Turn Vicious Cycles Into Virtuous Ones

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

For decades, Hormel Foods and its employees enjoyed one of the most cooperative and productive labor-management relationships in the processed foods industry. But beginning in the late 1970s, when Hormel pushed for wage concessions, the company’s relationship with its workforce began to deteriorate, especially at the plant in Austin, Minn., the quiet “company town” where Hormel was founded.

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 had potential, but there was a problem. The technology potentially infringed on existing patents, and the holders of these patents would almost certainly challenge the firm’s patent in court. If the patent could withstand these legal challenges, it would indeed be worth millions. If not, it might be worthless.

Business Negotiation Skills: Negotiate Before the Damage is Done

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

Suppose you work for a specialty bicycle manufacturer and have negotiated a one-year contract to buy 500 headlamps per month from a supplier for $10 each, with payment due 30 days after receipt. The seller makes five deliveries; you promptly pay $5,000 after each shipment. The seller fails to make the sixth delivery, however, and announces it will not be able to make any of the remaining shipments because of a production glitch that has made the headlamps extremely expensive to produce. What recourse do you have?

Beware the Pressure of Sunk Costs in Business Negotiations

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

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.

Obama as mediator?

Posted by & filed under Daily, Mediation.

Recently, a local incident grew into a national dispute that seemed ripe for mediation. After being locked out of his home and forcing his way in, Henry Louis Gates, an African-American Harvard University professor, had a confrontation with Cambridge, Massachusetts police sergeant James Crowley and was arrested for disorderly conduct. In a press conference, President Obama said the Cambridge police had acted “stupidly” in arresting Gates—and instantly, the minor news story was elevated into a national debate on race.

How an Indie-Pop Band Used Integrative Negotiation to Keep Their Name

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

When interests collide, some managers dig in their heels: You get your way or I get mine. Others go for a compromise where the plan is to give up as little as possible. Neither strategy is likely to lead to the best outcome. But businesses, nonprofits, government agencies … and even rock ‘n’ rollers … have discovered better ways, as we shall see.