Discover step-by-step techniques for avoiding common business negotiation pitfalls when you download a copy of the FREE special report, Business Negotiation Strategies: How to Negotiate Better Business Deals, from the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School.


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Courses and Training

Negotiation and Leadership: Dealing with Difficult People and Problems

Posted by & filed under executive training, Negotiation and Leadership (3 and 1 Day Courses).

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

Free Report

Negotiation and Leadership Fall 2017 Brochure

Posted by & filed under Free Report.

It’s often said that great leaders are great negotiators. But how does one become an effective negotiator? On-the-job experience certainly plays a role, but for most executives, taking their negotiation skills to the next level requires outside training. … Read More 

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Courses and Training

Practical Lessons from the Great Negotiators

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

Since 2001, the Program on Negotiation has bestowed the “Great Negotiator Award” on individuals who have successfully negotiated against great odds to accomplish worthy goals. In this fascinating one-day session, you’ll have the rare opportunity to explore how these remarkable negotiators overcame their most formidable challenges—and how to apply these lessons in your own negotiations. … Read More 

Free Report

Spring 2017 Brochure

Posted by & filed under Free Report.

It’s often said that great leaders are great negotiators. But how does one become an effective negotiator? On-the-job experience certainly plays a role, but for most executives, taking their negotiation skills to the next level requires outside training. … Read More 

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For Professional Negotiators, Three Is a Magic Number

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

professional negotiators

Everything good comes in threes, they say. For storytellers, this means understanding that readers and listeners find a sequence of three things to be memorable, satisfying, and compelling—whether it’s three bears, three little pigs, or three kings. For professional negotiators, sequences of three can be rewarding as well. The following examples of good negotiation skills … Read More 

Courses and Training

NEW! Negotiating the Impossible

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

We all experience emotionally challenging conflicts and negotiations. Whether you are negotiating with your board or with your family, over internal resources or with external partners, as the buyer or as the seller, emotions can turn an otherwise productive negotiation into an unprofitable disaster.It does not have to be that way. In this interactive workshop, … Read More 

Free Report

Negotiation Master Class Spring 2017 Program Guide

Posted by & filed under Free Report.

Over the years thousands of professional have participated in negotiation programs at the Program on Negotiation (PON) at Harvard Law School. And after a few months or years of putting their negotiation skills and techniques to work, participants inevitably ask us, what’s next? The Program on Negotiation is pleased to announce the Negotiation Master Class, … Read More 

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Courses and Training

Harvard Negotiation Master Class: Advanced Strategies for Experienced Negotiators – March 28-30, 2017

Posted by & filed under Harvard Negotiation Master Class.

Strictly limited to 60 participants who have completed a prior course in negotiation, this first-of-its-kind program offers unprecedented access to experts from Harvard Law School, Harvard Business School, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology—all of whom are committed to delivering a transformational learning experience. By working closely with them, you will: … Read More 

Free Report

Negotiation Master Class Fall 2016 Program Guide

Posted by & filed under Free Report.

Over the years thousands of professional have participated in negotiation programs at the Program on Negotiation (PON) at Harvard Law School. And after a few months or years of putting their negotiation skills and techniques to work, participants inevitably ask us, what’s next? The Program on Negotiation is pleased to announce the Negotiation Master Class, … Read More 

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Courses and Training

Negotiation and Leadership: Dealing with Difficult People and Problems

Posted by & filed under executive training, Negotiation and Leadership (3 and 1 Day Courses).

Negotiation and Leadership Dealing With Difficult People and Problems Fall: December 5-7, 2016 Spring: April 18-20, 2017 | May 15-17, 2017 | June 19-21 2017

Become a More Effective Negotiator Great leaders are great negotiators. By equipping you with the innovative negotiation strategies you need to excel at the bargaining table, Negotiation and Leadership will help you:

Improve working relationships and resolve seemingly … Read More 

Free Report

Fall 2016 Brochure

Posted by & filed under Free Report.

It’s often said that great leaders are great negotiators. But how does one become an effective negotiator? On-the-job experience certainly plays a role, but for most executives, taking their negotiation skills to the next level requires outside training. … Read More 

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How to Control Your Emotions in Conflict Resolution

Posted by & filed under Conflict Resolution.

How to Control Your Emotions in Conflict Resolution

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

Courses and Training

Secrets of Successful Dealmaking

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

Course Dates: June 5-9, 2017 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 … Read More 

Free Report

Spring 2016 Seminar Program Guide

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It’s often said that great leaders are great negotiators. But how does one become an effective negotiator? On-the-job experience certainly plays a role, but for most executives, taking their negotiation skills to the next level requires outside training. … Read More 

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In Business Negotiations, Dress the Part

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

negotiation topics in business dress the part at the bargaining table

Negotiators involved in high-stakes mergers and acquisitions typically come to the table armored in meticulously tailored apparel and designer shoes. But as Dana Mattioli reports in a recent Wall Street Journal negotiation topics in business article, those who are trying to woo business from an apparel company often end up dressing down at the bargaining … Read More 

Courses and Training

New! Advanced Mediation Workshop: Mediating Complex Disputes

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

Course Dates: June 12-16, 2017 You’ve handled numerous mediation sessions with ease. You are confident in your mediation skills, especially between two parties who want a fair resolution. But how do the dynamics change when their lawyers join the session? What happens when the mediation expands to multiple parties who are bringing many issues to the … Read More 

Free Report

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BATNA and Risky Negotiation Tactics

Posted by & filed under BATNA.

batna negotiation examples brinksmanship while negotiating

Your BATNA is your “best alternative to a negotiated agreement.” Expect that your negotiating counterpart has one going into a negotiation, and so should you. Below is a good BATNA negotiation example involving how to leverage your away-from-the-bargaining-table options and the risks inherent with such a negotiation strategy. … Read More 

Courses and Training

Negotiation and Leadership: Dealing with Difficult People and Problems

Posted by & filed under executive training, Negotiation and Leadership (3 and 1 Day Courses).

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

Free Report

Negotiation Master Class Fall 2013 Program Guide

Posted by & filed under Free Report.

For the first time ever, the Program on Negotiation is offering a master-level course for negotiators. The program is highly personalized and taught by 4 negotiation experts from Harvard and MIT. If you are selected to participate, you will be assigned to small learning groups, take part in dynamic exercises with two-way feedback, work closely … Read More 

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Try a Contingent Contract if You Can’t Agree on What Will Happen

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contingent contract

In negotiation, all the goodwill, trust, and cooperation you create can seem useless if you and your negotiating counterpart disagree about how future events may play out. In such cases, a contingent contract can be a highly useful, though widely overlooked, tool for creating value in negotiation. … Read More 

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Body Language in the Negotiation Process and Beyond

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negotiation techniques and body language body language negotiation examples in real life

Negotiation experts typically advise us to meet with our counterparts in person whenever possible rather than relying on the telephone or Internet. As convenient as electronic media may be, they lack the visual cues that help convey valuable information and forge connections in face-to-face talks. Without access to gestures and facial expressions, those who negotiate … Read More 

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Bargaining at a Fever Pitch

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Bargaining a fever pitch

Have you ever won an auction only to realize later that you overbid for the prize? In competitive bidding situations, it’s easy to get carried away in the heat of the moment and overpay. The Boston Red Sox 2006 procurement of Japanese pitching phenomenon Daisuke “Dice-K” Matsuzaka offers a lesson in keeping cool in these … Read More 

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Metaphorical Negotiation and Defining Negotiation Skills

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metaphorical negotiation and defining negotiation skills

Negotiators talk about building agreement, bluffing the opposition, and volleying offers back and forth. According to mediator Thomas Smith, careful attention to such metaphors can reveal deeper meaning beneath the explicit words that people use, notably regarding how they view the negotiation process and their relationship to one another. … Read More 

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Managing Cultural Differences in Negotiation

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managing cultural differences

It’s important to educate yourself about your counterpart’s culture so that you don’t risk offending her or seeming unprepared. At the same time, it would be a mistake to focus too narrowly when preparing for cross-cultural communication in business. Research on international negotiation can help us think more broadly when it comes to managing cultural … Read More 

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Implement Negotiation Training in Your Organization

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Negotiation Training

Organizations across the globe spend many millions of dollars each year on negotiation training for their employees. This training can be in-house, led by consultants and other experts, or employees can travel to training programs at universities and elsewhere. After engaging in a couple of days of training, employees return to the office and attempt … Read More 

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Your BATNA and How to Achieve Optimal Outcomes in Negotiation

Posted by & filed under BATNA.

batna negotiating skills and negotiation tactics using negotiation examples from real life

The following question was posed to Program on Negotiation faculty member and associate professor of business administration at Harvard Business School in the Negotiations, Organizations & Markets Unit, Francesca Gino and involves a negotiation example from real life from the world of business negotiations. … Read More 

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New Dispute Resolution Skills: A Case Study of Conflict Management Using Negotiating Skills

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

case study of conflict management new dispute resolution skills

Negotiating effectively with colleagues can be more challenging than dealing with outsiders. Conventional wisdom advises addressing team conflict by staying focused on tasks and avoiding relationship issues. Yet a case study of conflict management by Harvard Business School professor Amy Edmondson and Diana McLain Smith of The Monitory Group concludes that this approach to dispute … Read More 

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Salary Negotiations and How to Negotiate Performance-Based Pay

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Salary negotiations are never predictable. Imagine that you are a sales rep with a company that is getting hit hard by a financial crisis. No one has been laid off yet, but everyone is nervous about that possibility. In an effort to save jobs, your sales manager has quietly proposed that everyone take lower base … Read More 

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Understanding Different Negotiation Styles

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business negotiation styles

In the business world, some negotiators always seem to get what they want, while others more often tend to come up short. What might make some people better negotiators than others? The answer may be in part that people bring different negotiation styles and strategies to the bargaining table, based on their different personalities, experiences, … Read More 

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Negotiation Topics in Business: Make a Bump Plan

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negotiation topics in business and negotiation strategy make a bump plan

Regrouping from the cancellation of the 2004–2005 season due to failed labor negotiations, National Hockey League (NHL) teams and players faced the challenge of radically restructuring their collective bargaining agreement (CBA) in July 2005. The new CBA instituted a uniform cap (as well as a floor) on team payrolls. It also set maximums and minimums … Read More 

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Win-Win Business Negotiations: The Wachovia Buyout

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win win business negotiations the wachovia buyout

Changing financial and legal conditions can create and destroy wealth in the blink of an eye. How does a negotiator take advantage of such periods of change? During the financial crisis of 2008, Wachovia Corporation found itself looking for a buyer to avoid collapse while the financial industry as a whole was the grips of … Read More 

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How to Resolve Cultural Conflict: Overcoming Cultural Barriers at the Negotiation Table

Posted by & filed under Conflict Resolution.

cultural conflict

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. In this useful cross-cultural negotiation example, how should this negotiator improve her negotiation skills? … Read More 

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Integrative Bargaining Examples: Expanding the Pie – Integrative versus Distributive Bargaining Negotiation Strategies

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integrative bargaining

Imagine that you’re buying a used car from its original owner. Of course, you want to get the best deal you can for your money, while your counterpart wants to maximize the value of his asset. After haggling with one another, each side finally arrives at a price point acceptable to both parties. But how … Read More 

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Make the Most of Your Salary Negotiations

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Make the Most of Your Salary Negotiations

What salary negotiation skills can you use if a potential employer asks you about your past salary? If you earned a competitive wage, your concern may be whether the new employer can afford you. … Read More 

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7 Tips for Closing the Deal in Negotiations

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“ABC: Always Be Closing.” That’s the sales strategy that actor Alec Baldwin’s character Blake shared in the 1992 film Glengarry Glen Ross as he tried to motivate a group of real estate salesmen. In his verbally abusive, profanity-laced speech, Blake presented a ruthless model of closing a business deal that ignores customers’ needs and cuts … Read More 

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How Chaos at the Bargaining Table Can Help Negotiators Reach Agreement

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negotiators - examples of negotiation situations

Here are some examples of negotiation situations in which chaos at the bargaining table works to the negotiator’s advantage. Whether conducting business negotiations involving commercial transactions or personal disputes with a friend, the following negotiating skills and techniques can be used. … Read More 

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5 Conflict Resolution Strategies

Posted by & filed under Conflict Resolution.

Whether a conflict erupts at work or at home, we frequently fall back on the tendency to try to correct the other person or group’s perceptions, lecturing them about why we’re right—and they’re wrong. Deep down, we know that this conflict management approach usually fails to resolve the conflict and often only makes it worse. … Read More 

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5 Win-Win Negotiation Strategies

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Business negotiators understand the importance of reaching a win-win deal: when both sides are satisfied with their agreement, the odds of a long-lasting and successful business partnership are much higher. But concrete strategies for generating a win-win contract often seem elusive. The following five, from experts at the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School, … Read More 

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For a Mutually Beneficial Agreement, Collaboration is Key

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for a mutually beneficial agreement collaboration is key

What is a mutually beneficial agreement? Some negotiation experts would have you believe that a mutually beneficial agreement is one in which each side grabs as much as it can from a finite pot of resources and calls it a day. At the Program on Negotiation, we urge you to aim higher by combining such competitive value-claiming … Read More 

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Promoting Fair Outcomes in Negotiation

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So, you believe you’ve done everything you can do create value in your negotiation. You engaged in logrolling, making trades based on your and the other party’s different preferences on particular issues. You brainstormed new issues to add to the discussion, added a contingent contract, and proposed multiple offers simultaneously to identify which your counterpart … Read More 

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Case Study of Business Negotiations and Deal Making: Giving Voice to Negotiators Away from the Bargaining Table

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Sometimes negotiators focus too much on the bargaining session at hand, to the detriment of bargainers away from the negotiation table, a group whose concerns and input is just as valid as those of the negotiators themselves. Here are some negotiation tips to help make sure your bargaining strategies include the voices and concerns of … Read More 

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Negotiation Examples in Business: Ethics, Bias, and Bargaining in Good Faith

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

negotiation examples in business negotiation ethics and bias in negotiation

As we’ve discussed in previous articles about negotiation examples in business, a negotiator’s beliefs concerning negotiation ethics are affected by cognitive biases. You probably can recall times when a negotiating opponent made what appeared to be a blatant misstatement. If you’re like most people, you assumed the person was lying to gain an advantage. … Read More 

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Great Negotiators vs. Great Negotiations: The Program on Negotiation’s Great Negotiator Teaching Series

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great negotiators vs great negotiations the program on negotiation’s great negotiator teaching series

Teaching negotiation using case studies focused on the efforts of great negotiators can help achieve several pedagogical goals at the same time. Developed by Professor James Sebenius of Harvard Business School, the Program on Negotiation’s Great Negotiator case study series, available from the PON Clearinghouse, highlights the lessons learned by each recipient of PON’s Great … Read More 

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MESO Negotiation: Learn from a Seller’s Market

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negotiating skills and negotiation tactics learn from a sellers market in sales negotiations

What negotiating skills and negotiation tactics can negotiators take away from hyper competitive bargaining situations? With home sales heating up (again) in some parts of the United States, homebuyers are facing competition they haven’t seen since before the real-estate bubble burst back in 2008, and it’s showing up in the form of packed open houses, … Read More 

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Negotiation Books: A Negotiation Reading List for 2017

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As a new year approaches, many of us are making the usual resolutions aimed at improving our health and well-being. Why not also add the goal of being a more effective negotiator to the list? Whether you are facing negotiations with Congress, colleagues, customers, or family members, the following negotiation books, published in recent years … Read More 

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How to Balance Your Own Values in Negotiation

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

best negotiation examples negotiating conflicts of interest

Best negotiation examples from real life: Imagine that you’ve been negotiating the sale of a property that is owned by your company. The buyer has made an attractive offer that you’ve tentatively accepted. Your boss is pleased with the terms as they stand, but suggests that you go back to the buyer and tell her … Read More 

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Value Creation in Negotiation

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negotiating skills and negotiation techniques use integrative negotiation strategies to create value at the bargaining table

Many people say they dread negotiating and avoid it whenever they can. Why? Typically, because they view negotiation as a competition in which one party’s gains come at the expense of the other party. … Read More 

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Four Strategies for Making Concessions

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Harvard Business School: Working Knowledge by Deepak Malhotra (Associate Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School) Skilled negotiators know that making strategic concessions at the right time can be an effective tactic in negotiations. In this article, Deepak Malhotra, professor at Harvard Business School and PON affiliated faculty member, suggests four ways to make your concessions work … Read More 

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Value Claiming in Negotiation

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In most negotiations, we face two goals: claiming value and creating value. Value can be defined as anything you would like to get out a negotiation, whether it be more dollars, a consulting contract, a new rug, an end to conflict, and so on. … Read More 

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Win-Win Negotiations: Should You Consider a Deal Sweetener?

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The following question was asked of Andrew Wasynczuk, MBA Class of 1953 and Senior Lecturer of Business Administration Harvard Business School in the Negotiation Briefings monthly “Ask the Negotiation Coach” column: I run a midsized retail sports-apparel chain located in the southwestern United States. I’ve been searching for a seasoned executive to lead new store expansion … Read More 

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What is the Winner’s Curse?

Posted by & filed under Conflict Resolution.

Imagine that while exploring an outdoor bazaar in a foreign country, you see a beautiful rug that would look perfect in your home. While you’ve purchased a rug or two in your life, you’re far from an expert. Thinking on your feet, you guess that the rug is worth about $5,000. You decide to make … Read More 

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Projecting Power at the Negotiation Table

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negotiating skills and negotiation tactics projecting power at the bargaining table

Projecting power at the negotiation table is one tactic bargainers can employ to obtain their objectives in bargaining scenarios. In this article we examine Amy Cuddy’s research with regards to power, body language, and the impact they have on your negotiating skills and negotiation tactics. … Read More 

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How to Deal with a Difficult Mediator

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Francesca Gino, Program on Negotiation faculty member and author of the bestselling book, Sidetracked: Why Our Decisions Get Derailed and How We Can Stick to the Plan, tackles this question from a Negotiation Briefings reader concerning how to deal with a mediator that is abrasive, dismissive, or even rude. … Read More 

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What’s Keeping You from Closing the Deal?

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When talks stall, it’s tempting to jump to conclusions: “It’s purely a price gap.” “They’re being unreasonable.” “We’re not communicating well.” “We’re in a weak position.” … Read More 

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Take your BATNA to the Next Level

Posted by & filed under BATNA.

If your current negotiation reaches an impasse, what’s your best outside option? Most seasoned negotiators understand the value of evaluating their BATNA, or best alternative to a negotiated agreement, a concept that Roger Fisher, William Ury, and Bruce Patton introduced in their seminal book, Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In (Penguin, 1991, second … Read More 

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Is Your Deal Too Good to Be True?

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

In an episode of the fictional HBO series Silicon Valley, partners in a red-hot technology startup, Pied Piper, receive funding offers from a number of venture capitalist firms. Raviga Capital is by far the highest bidder; its offer of $20 million values Pied Piper at a whopping $100 million. … Read More 

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Deepak Malthotra Analyzes the Brexit Negotiations for Harvard Business Review

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

Program on Negotiation faculty member Deepak Malhotra, a Professor in the Negotiations, Organizations, and Markets Unit at the Harvard Business School, recently published an article in Harvard Business Review, “A Definitive Guide to the Brexit Negotiations,” offering his insights on how the United Kingdom will leave the European Union. You can read that article on … Read More 

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PON Remembers Howard Raiffa

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The Program on Negotiation would like to honor the memory of beloved colleague Howard Raiffa by highlighting his vast contributions to the field of decision making, negotiation, and dispute resolution. Howard Raiffa was one of the four principal co-founders of the Harvard Kennedy School and the Frank Plumpton Ramsey Professor of Managerial Economics Emeritus, a … Read More 

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5 Tips for Improving Your Negotiation Skills

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The prospect of boosting our negotiation skills can be so overwhelming that we often delay taking the necessary steps we can follow to improve, such as taking time to prepare thoroughly. The following five guidelines will help you break this daunting task into a series of manageable—and often essential—strategies. … Read More 

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How to Negotiate Under Pressure

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At the time, it seemed to be an example of coolheaded dealmaking in the midst of disaster. In 2009, hit hard by the 2008 financial crisis and changes in consumer preferences, U.S. automaker Chrysler was on the brink of collapse, and the Treasury Department stepped in to do a deal. In exchange for about $12 … Read More 

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Business Negotiation Skills: How to Deal with a Failing Business Partnership

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

It had seemed like the beginning of a fruitful relationship. In April 2012, six wealthy businessmen teamed up to buy the Philadelphia Inquirer and several affiliated businesses for $61.1 million, promising to work together to reverse the newspaper’s flagging fortunes. Their infusions of cash and appointment of a Pulitzer Prize–winning reporter, William K. Marimow, as … Read More 

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The Importance of Negotiation in Business

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

What are the essential ingredients to getting ahead in the workplace? Hard work, communication skills, and a generous dose of luck all play a role, of course. Another key ingredient—one that is often overlooked—is the ability to recognize and capitalize on opportunities to negotiate for your career success. Why is negotiation important in business? Because our … Read More 

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5 Good Negotiation Techniques

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You’ve mastered the basics of good negotiation technique: you prepare thoroughly, take time to build rapport, make the first offer when you have a strong sense of the bargaining range, and search for wise tradeoffs across issues to create value. Now, it’s time to absorb five lesser-known but similarly effective negotiation topics and techniques that … Read More 

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What is Anchoring in Negotiation?

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What is anchoring in negotiation, and how does it play out? Consider this anchoring bias example from Harvard Business School and Harvard Law School Guhan Subramanian. While running a negotiation simulation in one of his classes, Subramanian noticed that one student spent a considerable amount of time explaining why $10.69 per hour would be an impossible … Read More 

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Announcing the 2016-2017 PON Graduate Research Fellows

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

    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 PON’s goal of fostering the development of the next generation of scholars, this program provides support for one year of dissertation … Read More 

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How to Find the ZOPA in Business Negotiations

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

In business negotiation, two polar-opposite errors are common: reaching agreement when it wouldn’t be wise to do so, and walking away from a mutually beneficial outcome. How can you avoid these pitfalls? Through careful preparation that includes an analysis of the zone of possible agreement, or ZOPA. The agreement trap The “agreement trap” describes the tendency to agree … Read More 

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Make the Most of Negotiation Skills Training

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make the most of negotiation skills training

Across the globe, negotiation skills training has become a common activity in managerial life. Organizations often take steps to improve their managers’ negotiation skills and their ability to manage other negotiators by enrolling them in negotiation skills training programs. Yet often when these managers return to the office, they fail to thoroughly apply the lessons they’ve … Read More 

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How a Bad BATNA Keeps Medicare Drug Prices High

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump disagrees with his Democratic competitors, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, on most political issues. But on the issue of prescription drug prices under Medicare, Trump agrees with Clinton and Sanders that the U.S. government is getting a lousy deal. Recently, Trump, Clinton, and Sanders have all called for the government to … Read More 

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Negotiating Skills: How to Bargain “Behind the Table”

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After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, U.S. president George H. W. Bush and his secretary of state, James Baker, were eager to win international support for German reunification and German membership in NATO. But Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev faced strong opposition to these measures from members of his own Communist Party. Knowing that … Read More 

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The High Cost of Bad Advice at the Negotiation Table

Posted by & filed under BATNA.

If you’re thinking about buying a house, one of your first moves may be to choose a real estate agent who can advise you through the process. If you want a big-name publisher to buy your book, you probably will try to sign on an experienced literary agent as your counselor and advocate. Less formally, … Read More 

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Leadership Skills in Negotiation: How to Negotiate Equity Incentives with Senior Management

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How do you divide the pie of resources with those that helped you grow it in the first place? In this negotiation case study, we examine how executives can expand the pie while helping those who contribute claim equitable value. The negotiation scenario: I’m the 100% owner and CEO of a privately held business. I’m planning … Read More 

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Teaching Negotiation: The Art of Case Study Writing

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

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MESO: Make Multiple Equivalent Simultaneous Offers to Create Value in Dealmaking Table

Posted by & filed under Conflict Resolution.

meso negotiation and dealing with difficult people make multiple equivalent simultaneous offers to create value in dealmaking

MESO negotiation, a negotiation strategy for creating value with a counterpart who may be reluctant to negotiate, allows negotiators to propose multiple offers without signaling commitment or preference for any one option. Business negotiators that practice integrative negotiation strategies often complain that although they try to focus on creating value, they run into far too many difficult … Read More 

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In Business Negotiations, Capitalize on a Right of First Refusal

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

in business negotiations capitalize on a right of first refusal

As dealmakers look for more sophisticated ways to reduce risks and increase returns, a right of first refusal—a contractual guarantee that one side can match any offer that the other side later receives—has become a common and useful tool to add to your business negotiation skills.

in business negotiations capitalize on a right of first refusal

As dealmakers look for more sophisticated ways to reduce risks and increase returns, a right of first refusal—a contractual guarantee that one side can match any offer that the other side later receives—has become a common and useful tool to add to your business negotiation skills.

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When the mergers-and-acquisitions (M&A) boom began in 1993, many deals simply required the seller to let the buyer know if a “superior proposal” came along. By the late 1990s, buyers were demanding—and receiving—more than this: an exclusive negotiating period of several days, during which they could decide whether to match or improve upon another bidder’s offer. In current business negotiations, rights of first refusal, also known as matching rights or rights of first offer, are being rapidly incorporated into business negotiations at all levels and in many industries.

In the typical right of first refusal, the grantor gives the right holder the right to buy an asset on the same terms that the grantor would receive from any other bona fide, prospective bidder, otherwise known as the third party.

Suppose, for example, that a private company is negotiating an equity infusion from an investor in exchange for a 20% ownership stake and a set on the board. To preserve its stability, the company conditions the deal on a right of first refusal: before the investor can sell his stake to someone else, the company can buy it back at the negotiated price. The investor accepts the deal, and the company gets its equity.

Now suppose that two years have passed since the company (the right holder) and the investor (the grantor) signed their deal. The investor now wants to liquidate his investment. One potential buyer offers to purchase the 20% interest for $3.4 million. The investor now is required to ask the company, which holds the matching right, if it wants to match the offer. This contractual obligation has important consequences that depend in large part upon the role you play in a negotiation.

Advice for the grantor In negotiation, including a right of first refusal in an agreement can be a classic win-win move. To take a real estate right of first refusal, suppose you’re a landlord negotiating with a prospective tenant. You want to maintain the ability to sell the apartment to someone else in the future, while your prospective tenant wants a commitment to rent the apartment for as long as she wants. The solution might be to offer the tenant a right of first refusal—the power to match any legitimate third-party offer. In this manner, the tenant gains the opportunity to avoid the disruption of a move, and you preserve your own flexibility.

A right of first refusal can also create value through tradeoffs on negotiators’ different expectations. Let’s return to the case of the investor who buys a 20% ownership stake in a private company, and assume that the investor plans to hold the stake for a long time. If the company is not as sure about his commitment, a right of first refusal is cheap for the investor to give and valuable for the company to receive.

Advice for the right holder As the prospective right holder, you should know precisely what a proposed right of first refusal will give you. Many deals that seem to guarantee a right of first refusal are, in fact, murky about the consequences that could arise.

For potential right holders, the most common mistake is to fail to specify what will happen if you choose to match a bid. Will your matching bid call off the contest with the third party or launch a bidding war?

Other details are equally important. How long do you have to decide whether to match an offer? If the duration of the right of first refusal is ambiguous, a third party could short-circuit your right by making an exploding offer with a short fuse. You might fail to match the offer due to time pressure rather than to your unwillingness to pay. The end result is a right of first refusal worth significantly less than you thought.

Advice for third parties What if you’re thinking about making an offer that would trigger a right of first refusal? Returning to the case of the investor with a 20% stake in a company, imagine that you approach the investor about buying him out. When you learn about the company’s right of first refusal, you face a difficult situation. If the company exercises its right of first refusal, you’ve wasted time conducting due diligence and negotiating. If the company doesn’t exercise its right of first refusal, you likely have overpaid. Why? Because the company probably has better information about the true value of the 20% stake than you do. As a result of this information asymmetry, many sophisticated investors avoid deals that trigger a right of first refusal.

Yet the winner’s curse may not apply to you. First, the right holder simply might not be able to match your offer due to a liquidity crunch. Second, you may have just as much or better information about the value of the asset as the right holder. If the right holder doesn’t match your bid, she may not recognize these sources of value. Third, you might bring some special value to the table that the right holder lacks. Try to assess whether any of these three justifications apply before making a bid. If one of them does, you’re ready for business.

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Adapted from “Matching Rights: A Boon to Both Sides,” by Harvard Business School and Harvard Law School professor Guhan Subramanian, first published in the Negotiation newsletter.

When the mergers-and-acquisitions (M&A) boom began in 1993, many deals … Read More 

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Negotiating the Path of Abraham: The Flip Side of the Middle East

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The Abraham Path Initiative and the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School are pleased to present:

Negotiating the Path of Abraham: The Flip Side of the Middle East

with William Ury Co-author of “Getting to Yes” and co-founder of Harvard’s Program on Negotiation  and Dave Cornthwaite, Leon McCarron, Hannah Messerli, James Sebenius, and José Filipe Torres Saturday October 10 1:30-5 PM Milstein East B, Wasserstein Hall Harvard Law School Campus Free … Read More 

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Sabena Hijacking: My Version

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The PON Film Series is pleased to present: Sabena Hijacking: My Version

 Join us for a screening and discussion with:

Nati Dinnar Creator and producer and Rozeen Bisharat Filmmaker, performer, and activist Moderated by Professor James Sebenius Gordon Donaldson Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School   Thursday, October 22, 2015 7:00 PM Ames Courtroom, Austin Hall, Harvard Law School Free admission; public welcome. Pizza, salad, and soda will be served.   About … Read More 

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Announcing the 2015-2016 PON Graduate Research Fellows

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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 … Read More 

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50th Anniversary of A Behavioral Theory of Labor Negotiations

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The Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School invites you to join us for A 50th Anniversary Celebration of A Behavioral Theory of Labor Negotiations with Robert B. McKersie and Richard E. Walton  A live webcast of this event will be available for viewing at  http://media.fas.harvard.edu/core/live/hls-live.html

Thursday, March 5, 2015 12:00 p.m. Registration opens 1:00  – 5:30 p.m. Program 5:30-6:30 p.m. Reception Wasserstein … Read More 

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Lessons in Negotiation: Guhan Subramanian Cited by US Securities and Exchange Commissioner Daniel Gallagher

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Program on Negotiation executive committee member and Harvard Law School and Harvard Business School professor Guhan Subramanian was recently cited by Commissioner Daniel M. Gallagher of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission during his opening statement at the Proxy Voting Roundtable. In discussing the equalizing effect of a universal balloting system on corporate governance, Commissioner … Read More 

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James Baker: The Man Who Made Washington Work

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James Baker Film Image

The PON Film Series is pleased to present: James Baker: The Man Who Made Washington Work

Join us for a screening and discussion with writer and director Eric Stange, moderated by Professor James Sebenius, Harvard Business School   Wednesday, March 11, 2015 7:00 PM Langdell Hall South, Harvard Law School Free admission; public welcome. Refreshments will be served.   About the film: Narrated by Tom Brokaw, James … Read More 

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For Conflict Resolution in Asia, A Simple Handshake Could Go Far

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When disputes arise between international negotiators, sometimes a simple gesture of reciprocity can turn a boiling conflict into an amicable resolution. In this article the Program on Negotiation explores how a “simple handshake” between the leaders of Japan and the People’s Republic of China helped ease long-held tensions between the two countries. … Read More 

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In Dealmaking, Look for the Needle in the Haystack

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When you’re desperate to make a good deal, breakthroughs can come at unexpected times and places. Consider what happened when Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Elias was looking through a sheaf of J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. documents while taking care of his newborn son in 2012. At the time, directed by President Barack Obama, the … Read More 

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Harvard Programs Host Discussion on “Why Is It Hard to Talk About War? Bridging the Civilian – Military Divide” with Congressman-Elect Seth Moulton and PON Managing Director Susan Hackley

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On December 8, 2014, Congressman-Elect Seth Moulton and Managing Director Susan Hackley co-presented at Harvard’s Herbert C. Kelman Seminar on International Conflict Analysis and Resolution. This seminar series is sponsored by the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School, the Nieman Foundation for Journalism, the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics, and Public Policy, The Weatherhead … Read More 

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Dealmaking: Beyond Collusion – How to Include Outsiders in Your Deal in Business Negotiations

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The issue of bidder collusion raises a larger question for negotiators: What ethical responsibility do we have to those who aren’t seated at the table with us? Harvard Business School professor Max H. Bazerman uses the term “parasitic value creation” to describe the common tendency of negotiators to focus so narrowly on identifying benefits for those … Read More 

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Dealmaking: Help Your Agreement Go the Distance

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Help your agreement go the distance If your deal doesn’t work in the real world, it’s not worth the paper it’s printed on. Here’s expert advice on increasing the odds of successful implementation. … Read More 

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In United Nations International Negotiations, A Demand for Openness

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Sometimes the question of how to negotiate can be more hotly debated than the issues that come up during the negotiation itself. Who should be involved in making key decisions? Should the negotiation process be public or private? How can parties ensure that all involved feel they’ve had a voice? … Read More 

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After Job Dealmaking Advice, A Retraction from Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella

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Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella found himself in the hot seat in October after telling women attending the Grace-Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing that the best way to effectively negotiate for a raise is not to ask for one at all. Asked by Harvey Mudd College President and Microsoft Board Member Maria Klawe for advice … Read More 

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Conflict Management: Do You Stretch the Truth?

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First adapted from “Do You Stretch the Truth?,” first published in the September 2012 issue of Negotiation. Tell the truth: Have you lied to a salesclerk or service provider lately? Maybe you blamed a restaurant for messing up your reservation, though you suspect you probably provided the wrong date over the phone. Or, after missing a deadline to return … Read More 

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Negotiation Skills: Negotiating to Give Good Advice

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Many of us advise others on the job yet fail to plan adequately for this responsibility. Set up a strong relationship by negotiating your role as advisor. Name-calling, backstabbing, and turf wars erupted among President Barack Obama’s civilian and military advisors in 2009, as he tried to devise a strategy for ending the war in … Read More 

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Negotiating the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: Track Two Diplomacy in the Past, Present and Future

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Track-Two Diplomacy

The Middle East Negotiation Initiative at the Program on Negotiation is pleased to present a public talk by Dr. Yair Hirschfeld on September 19th. Dr. Hirschfeld, who is best known as the “architect of the Oslo Process,” will discuss the history of Track II diplomacy efforts in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and analyze recent developments in … Read More 

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How to Deal When the Going Gets Tough

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Most business negotiators understand that by working collaboratively with their counterparts while also advocating strongly on their own behalf, they can build agreements and longterm relationships that benefit both sides. During times of economic hardship, however, many negotiators abandon their commitment to cooperation and mutual gains. Instead, they fall back on competitive tactics, threatening the other … Read More 

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Negotiators: Guard Against Ethical Lapses

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During the past several years, one scandalous story of unethical behavior after another has made headlines: Countrywide’s and AIG’s risky business practices, trader Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme, and former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich’s alleged attempt to sell a U.S. Senate seat. As instances of people behaving badly proliferate, some commentators have wondered if we are … Read More 

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Why We Focus on Culture in Negotiations

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Adapted from “Coping with Culture at the Bargaining Table,” first published in the May 2009 issue of Negotiation. Why we focus on culture Why does concentrating on the other side’s culture lead to problems in negotiation? Consider that negotiators often focus too narrowly on the most obvious information about the task at hand. Such focusing failures lead negotiators to … Read More 

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Intercultural Negotiations: When Negotiators Try Too Hard

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Adapted from “Coping with Culture at the Bargaining Table,” first published in the May 2009 issue of Negotiation. Though intercultural negotiating schemas can be useful, negotiators often give too much weight to them, according to an article in the May issue of the journal Negotiation and Conflict Management Research, “Starting Out on the Right Foot: Negotiation Schemas When … Read More 

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Conflict Management: Becoming a Team Player

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Show me the money!” That refrain from the 1996 movie Jerry Maguire, shouted by a football player to his agent, continues to echo through U.S. professional sports negotiations today. A public arena, enormous piles of cash, and even bigger egos combine to make sports negotiations a unique context. Yet anyone who has negotiated through agents, … Read More 

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When International Negotiation Stymies the Best Mediators

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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 … Read More 

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In Mediation, Set Conditions with Care

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On April 9, Israel said it was “deeply disappointed” by remarks by Secretary of State John Kerry that seemed to primarily blame Israel for the current breakdown in U.S.-mediated Middle East peace talks, as reported in the New York Times. Last July, the United States brought Israel and the Palestinians back together for a series of … Read More 

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

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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 … Read More 

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Critical Decisions in Negotiation: A Faculty Book Talk with Professor Robert Bordone

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The Program on Negotiation invites the public to the upcoming Harvard Law School Library  event in honor of Professor Robert Bordone’s recently published DVD set. Critical Decisions in Negotiation with Professor Robert Bordone a faculty book talk followed by a panel discussion with Professor Michael Wheeler and Lecturer at Law Chad Carr

Tuesday, February 18, 2013 12:00 p.m.

Location:  Lewis … Read More 

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Top Ten Business Deals of 2013: American Airlines – U.S Airways

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On November 29, 2011, the same day American Airlines filed for bankruptcy, US Airways CEO Doug Parker called American head Tom Horton to discuss a possible merger. Horton rebuffed Parker, saying airline needed to spend time reorganizing and renegotiating its labor contracts before focusing on a deal, the Wall Street Journal reports. … Read More 

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Top Ten Business Deals of 2013: US Housing Market Recovery

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With home sales heating up in some U.S. regions in 2013, homebuyers faced competition they haven’t seen since before the real-estate bubble burst, and it showed up in the form of packed open houses, multiple bids above the asking price, and all-cash offers. … Read More 

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

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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 … Read More 

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Deal Making Without a Net: Yahoo’s Tumblr Acquisition

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

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“Confronting Evil” Panel Videos Now Available Online

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On Saturday, April 20, 2013, the Program on Negotiation co-hosted a conference on “Confronting Evil: Interdisciplinary Perspectives,” in partnership with the Mahindra Humanities Center at Harvard University and the Volkswagen Foundation. Originally scheduled to commence on Friday, April 19th, the conference had to be condensed to a single day due to the lock-down of the Boston … Read More 

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PON co-sponsored conference addresses the challenges of “Confronting Evil”

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On Saturday, April 20th more than a hundred people came out to Harvard to attend the PON co-sponsored conference “Confronting Evil: Interdisciplinary Perspectives.”  Held just six days after the bombings at the Boston Marathon, and one day after many area residents were asked to “shelter in place” by the police during their search for the … Read More 

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The Role of Designers in Negotiating Israeli-Palestinian Borders

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This presentation by Karen Lee Bar-Sinai and Prof. Robert Mnookin is the third of four seminars exploring the role of urban planning in negotiation, co-sponsored by the Middle East Negotiation Initiative (MENI) at the Program on Negotiation and the Harvard Graduate School of Design. … Read More 

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Team Building, One Player at a Time

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In late October, the Detroit Tigers were preparing to face off against the San Francisco Giants in Major League Baseball’s World Series. In 2002 and 2003, the Tigers had two of the worst seasons in baseball history, losing a combined 225 games. But through years of calculated decision making and negotiations, team president Dave Dombrowski … Read More 

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The Role of Urban Planners in Negotiations: Case Study of Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations

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Can urban planning tools help negotiators develop creative solutions to complex disputes?  Karen Lee Bar-Sinai, Loeb Fellow at Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD), recently explored this topic in a talk entitled “The Role of Urban Planners in Negotiations: Case Study of Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations.” The first in a series of seminars co-sponsored by the Middle … Read More 

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There is No ‘I’ in Team, Only in Organizations

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The old saying goes, “there is no ‘I’ in team,” but recent research by Program on Negotiation faculty member and Harvard Business School Associate Professor Francesca Gino and others suggests that an organization should pay attention to the various individuals it recruits, and by doing so it can improve employee retention and productivity. … Read More 

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In Deal Making, Broaden Your Focus

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Imagine that you are in charge of renting a new location for a branch of your company in a nearby city. After researching the reputations of a number of local real estate agents, you meet with several and choose the one who seems most knowledgable and responsive. … Read More 

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

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

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The Role of Urban Planners in Negotiations: Case Study of Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations

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Karen Lee Bar-Sinai is the director and co-founder of SAYA/Design for Change (www.sayarch.com). SAYA is based in Israel and specializes in what can be called “peace architecture” — using planning and design to support decision-making, negotiations and peace processes in areas of conflict. Bar-Sinai’s talk will explore how urban design thinking and planning can … Read More 

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Goals Gone Wild

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Max H. Bazerman sat down with Sean Silverthorne of Harvard Business School’s Working Knowledge to discuss goal setting and how to effectively set goals on an individual and organizational level. Researchers from top business schools have collaborated on research demonstrating that, in some cases, goal setting may actually do more harm than good. … Read More 

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Specific versus Abstract Negotiation Skills Training

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

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Accounting for Outsiders in Your Negotiations

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

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2012 Great Negotiator Award event will honor former Secretary of State James A. Baker, III on March 29th

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The Program on Negotiation (PON) at Harvard Law School and the Future of Diplomacy Project at Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) will jointly honor former U.S. Secretary of State James A. Baker, III with the 2012 Great Negotiator Award on Thursday, March 29, 2012, at the Ames Courtroom, Austin Hall, Harvard Law School. The Great Negotiator Award … Read More 

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Should Your Boss Be at the Negotiation Table?

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Imagine that you are about to begin a negotiation whose subject matter is squarely within your area of responsibility at my company. However, the dollar amounts at stake are so large that you are tempted to kick it upstairs to your boss, or at least involve your boss directly in the negotiation. What are the … Read More 

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Negotiate How You’ll Negotiate

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When a negotiation ends, our satisfaction with the final outcome doesn’t depend solely on how much we objectively gained or lost, according to research by Jared Curhan and Hen Xu of Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Hillary Anger Elfenbein of the University of California at Berkeley. In fact, negotiator satisfaction hinges on four factors: our … Read More 

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Are You Talking to the Right Person?

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When someone is reluctant to engage in negotiation, you might try to wear her down until she finally caves in. Before you risk becoming a pest, however, ask yourself a critical question: Am I talking to the right person? When negotiators fail to map out the negotiation process in advance, they can encounter detours and dead … Read More 

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Why “thank you” matters

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One should always go into every negotiation fully prepared, but a few very easy steps may help clear negotiation obstacles before the formal process even begins.  Recent research by Francesca Gino, Associate Professor at Harvard Business School and Harvard Law School’s Program on Negotiation-affiliated faculty member, argues that simple expressions of gratitude can yield beneficial … Read More 

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Sellers: Stay out of legal hot water

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When it comes to business negotiations, you probably understand the importance of being as principled as possible to protect your reputation and ward off legal trouble. You probably expect your counterparts to follow the straight and narrow as well. Yet negotiators often have only a fuzzy grasp of which claims and strategies are legal and … Read More 

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Are you really an ethical negotiator?

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Are you more ethical than your coworkers? If you’re like most people, you answered yes. Lisa L. Shu and Max H. Bazerman of Harvard Business School and Francesca Gino of the University of North Carolina found in their research that most people think they’re more honest and trustworthy than average. What’s more, through a process … Read More 

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Capitalize on luck in negotiation

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Imagine that you have just negotiated a great deal on a house – and rightly so, given how deftly you managed the process from start to finish. You diligently studied the local real estate market and uncovered the seller’s motives for listing her property. You even created mutual gain by allowing the seller to stay … Read More 

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Making threats strategically

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In negotiation, the time, energy, and resources that you devote to reaching agreement can suggest that you’re desperate for a deal—any deal. The greater your investment in the negotiation, the less credible the threat of walking away becomes. In such instances, one way to make this threat more credible is to find someone else to take … Read More 

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“Let’s All Feel Superior,” Max H. Bazerman quoted in The New York Times

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Max H. Bazerman (Program on Negotiation Executive Committee member and professor at the Harvard Business School) recently was quoted in an op-ed in The New York Times entitled, “Let’s All Feel Superior.” In this piece, columnist David Brooks explains how some people have difficulty processing horrific events.  Our natural tendencies to self-deceive come into play and … Read More 

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Are you taking too much credit?

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Many years ago, researchers Michael Ross and Fiore Sicoly of the University of Waterloo asked husbands and wives to estimate the percentage of the household work they did. On average, the total amount of work claimed by each couple far exceeded 100%. The husbands and wives felt they were contributing more than was actually the … Read More 

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Address your negotiation jitters

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The prospect of negotiating often sparks anxiety, especially if substantive or emotional stakes are high. The mere thought of failing can be self-fulfilling. In sports, it’s called choking. While negotiators don’t have to worry about fans’ reaction to dropping the ball in a packed stadium, critical voices can come from within. The negotiation process is … Read More 

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Negotiate for what you really want

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It may seem elementary, but one of the first questions you should ask when you’re thinking about negotiating for an important purchase is whether you truly want or need it. We tend to assume that future events—such as buying a new car or signing a seemingly important contract—will have a lasting impact on our overall happiness. … Read More 

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Capitalize on negotiator differences

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Adapted from “What Divides You May Unite You,” by James K. Sebenius (professor, Harvard Business School), first published in the Negotiation newsletter, July 2005. Some years ago, an English property development firm had assembled most of the land outside London that it needed to build a large regional hospital. Yet a key parcel remained, and its … Read More 

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The Gilad Shalit-Palestinian prisoners exchange: the process, deal and implications

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The Middle East Negotiation Initiative at PON invites you to a panel discussion on The Gilad Shalit-Palestinian prisoners exchange: the process, deal and implications November 7, 2011 • 12:15 – 2 p.m. Pound 100 • Harvard Law School Please bring your lunch. Drinks and cookies will be served. PANELISTS Robert H. Mnookin is the Samuel Williston Professor of Law at Harvard … Read More 

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How much authority do they have?

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Adapted from “Contracts 101: What Every Negotiator Should Know about Contract and Agency Law” by Guhan Subramanian (professor, Harvard Business School and Harvard Law School), first published in the Negotiation newsletter, February 2006. While hammering out an agreement, a mid-level manager offered a customer a significant price discount. When the discount failed to materialize, the customer … Read More 

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Gender and competition: what companies need to know

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Recent research by Harvard professors Iris Bohnet and Kathleen McGinn, and Harvard Business school doctoral student Pinar Fletcher, explores the relationship between gender, competitiveness and cooperation. In this HBS Working Knowledge article, Bohnet and McGinn discuss the results of their work. Read the article here. … Read More 

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Conflict management from the start

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Adapted from “Before You Sign on the Dotted Line…”first published in the Negotiation newsletter, May 2009. After reaching an agreement, professionals often rely on their lawyers to draw up the official contract. Unfortunately, miscommunication between negotiators and their lawyers often leads to costly mistakes. Contract terms may not accurately represent the negotiated agreement, key deal terms … Read More 

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Negotiating in three-dimensions

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James Sebenius and David Lax, co-authors of 3D Negotiation, share their thoughts on why negotiation is a core skill for all managers in this interview with Martha Lagace, senior editor of Harvard Business School’s Working Knowledge. Offering examples of common mistakes made by negotiators, they explain how negotiators can improve their results by negotiating … Read More 

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Have you chosen the right counterpart?

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Adapted from “Reach Your Target with Backward Mapping,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter, March 2010. Here’s the problem: Your negotiation seems to be over before it has begun. Your targeted counterpart is refusing to sit down with you or simply ignoring your requests. How can you get her to see that she would benefit from … Read More 

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When you have all the power

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

Adapted from “The Danger of ‘Take It or Leave It,’” by Ian Larkin (professor, Harvard Business School), first published in the Negotiation newsletter, January 2010. Imagine that one of your organization’s suppliers, with whom you have been very happy, recently lost its only other big customer. Your contract comes up for renegotiation next month. You know … Read More 

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Is it really worth that much?

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

Adapted from “Trying to Make a Sale? Avoid These Common Pitfalls,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter, April 2010. Why is it that even in sluggish markets, some homes are plucked off the real estate listings within days or weeks, and others sit for months, even years? Location and curb appeal have something to do with … Read More 

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Sizing up the competition

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

Adapted from “The Ins and Outs of Making Sealed Bids,” by Guhan Subramanian (professor, Harvard Business School and Harvard Law School), first published in the Negotiation newsletter, July 2007. Imagine you’re bidding for a house against another “very interested party,” according to your real-estate agent, and the seller wants a sealed bid from you by close … Read More 

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Negotiating the Gender Gap

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

Is there a social cost for women who negotiate assertively for themselves in the workplace? Research suggests that women who negotiated higher compensation are viewed by evaluators as being more “demanding,” which leads to a disinclination to work with them in the future. In our most recent “Dear Negotiation Coach” feature in the … Read More 

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When irrationality isn’t the issue

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

Adapted from “Is Your Counterpart Rational . . . Really?” by Deepak Malhotra (professor, Harvard Business School), first published in the Negotiation newsletter, March 2006. How can you negotiate with someone who seems irrational? First, by questioning whether it is reasonable for you to judge your counterparts as irrational. As it turns out, behavior that negotiators … Read More 

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Why “thinking” trumps “blinking”

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

Adapted from “In Negotiation, Think Before You ‘Blink’,” by Max H. Bazerman (professor, Harvard Business School), first published in the Negotiation newsletter, October 2006. Most experienced negotiators trust their instincts. They believe they can identify a good business opportunity within five minutes. They think they can quickly assess whether a salesperson is honest. And if … Read More 

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Don’t rush into a flawed contract

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

Adapted from “A Contingent Contract? Weigh the Costs and Benefits of Making a ‘Bet’,” by Guhan Subramanian (professor, Harvard Law School and Harvard Business School), first published in the Negotiation newsletter, August 2006. Contracts in professional sports are often chock-full of contingencies -“bets” that parties place on their different expectations of future outcomes – and former … Read More 

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Video: Setting the Stage for Productive Negotiations

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Understanding how to arrange the meeting space is a key aspect of preparing for negotiation. In this video, Guhan Subramanian, professor at Harvard Law School and Harvard Business School, discusses a real world example of how seating arrangements can influence a negotiator’s success. The discussion was held in his negotiation training workshop “Setting the Stage … Read More 

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When Negotiation Trumps Procurement Auctions

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

Adapted from “Negotiations versus Auctions: New Advice for Buyers,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter, August 2007. Economists have long advocated auctions as an effective means of increasing value. Yet recent research contradicts this conventional wisdom. In fact, as compared with negotiations, auctions can actually raise prices in procurement contracts. Suppliers tend to prefer negotiations because … Read More 

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How Subtle Favoritism Harms Negotiators

Posted by & filed under Conflict Resolution.

Adapted from “The Robin Hood Effect in Negotiation,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter, March 2009. Business transactions often occur between people of different socioeconomic levels, and our choice of clothing, cars, and other material possessions can signal such differences. We may attempt to treat everyone equally in our negotiations, but do we always succeed? Just as … Read More 

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Consider the Setting

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Adapted from “The Crucial First Five Minutes,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter, October 2007. Your designated meeting place can have a critical impact on talks. When you don’t have a choice about where to meet, be aware that situational factors may color your judgment. For instance, the visual cues of a car lot—flashy banners, cheerful … Read More 

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Build Your Bargaining Endowment

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

Adapted from “Want to Pull Ahead of the Competition?” by Michael Wheeler (Class of 1952 Professor of Management Practice, Harvard Business School), first published in the Negotiation newsletter, October 2005. What happens when lots of other people are selling what you’ve got, or many others are bidding for what you want? One solution to distinguishing yourself … Read More 

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Video: PON-sponsored negotiation workshop engages Jewish and Arab students in Tel Aviv

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In March 2011, Professor James Sebenius, Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School, led a negotiation workshop for Jewish and Arab high school students in Tel Aviv, as part of a pilot program co-sponsored by the Program on Negotiation, with support from the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv. This innovative program offered three … Read More 

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Decisions Without Blinders

Posted by & filed under Conflict Resolution.

Max H. Bazerman (Jesse Isidor Straus Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School) and Dolly Chugh (Assistant Professor, Department of Management and Organizations, New York University Stern School of Business ) What causes even highly intelligent, focused professionals to miss glaring warning signs and render bad, risky or unethical decisions? In this article, the authors discuss … Read More 

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Negotiating Across Borders

Posted by & filed under Conflict Resolution.

Adapted from “Hidden Roadblocks in Cross-border Talks,” by James K. Sebenius (professor, Harvard Business School), first published in the Negotiation newsletter, September 2009. Imagine you are leading a team that will soon be negotiating for the first time in several foreign countries. You’ve researched likely cultural factors, such as differences in etiquette or risk taking, while … Read More 

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Three Steps for Crisis Prevention

Posted by & filed under Conflict Resolution.

Michael D. Watkins and Max H. Bazerman (Jesse Isidor Straus Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School) Leaders who don’t prepare for predictable surprises make their companies vulnerable unnecessarily. In this article, the authors outline a three-step process for recognizing, prioritizing and mobilizing for disasters that can be foreseen. Read More … Read More 

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Why Classic Cases?

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

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Reducing Negotiation Stress

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Adapted from “Poise under Pressure: The Well-Balanced Negotiator,” by Michael Wheeler (professor, Harvard Business School), first published in the Negotiation newsletter, December 2006. Too many people overlook the fact that negotiation is a demanding physical act. They cram for negotiations, pulling all-nighters in an attempt to master each and every detail—only to become irritable and fuzzy … Read More 

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Irrationality in Negotiations: How to Negotiate the Impossible

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

Negotiators often struggle with the task of bargaining with those who behave rashly, reason poorly, and act in ways that contradict their own self-interest. But as it turns out, behavior that negotiators often view as evidence of irrationality may in fact indicate something entirely different. … Read More 

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How to Choose the Best Deal

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

Michael Wheeler (MBA Class of 1952 Professor of Management Practice, Harvard Business School) How do you decide between two promising options in a negotiation? In this article, the author outlines techniques for picking the best possible deal. Read more For more information about Professor Wheeler, click here. … Read More 

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How to Avoid the Status Trap

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Adapted from “Don’t Get Stuck in the Status Trap,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter, September 2009. Graduating MBA students often tend to choose their first postgraduate jobs based on vivid aspects of their job offers, such as a high starting salary or the prestige of the firm, Harvard Business School professor Max H. Bazerman has … Read More 

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Could Your Power Trip Backfire?

Posted by & filed under Conflict Resolution.

Adapted from “When You Hold All the Cards,” by Guhan Subramanian (professor, Harvard Business School and Harvard Law School), first published in the Negotiation newsletter. Being the more powerful party in a negotiation doesn’t guarantee a free ride. Specifically, legal rules may constrain your actions. In particular, the courts might read additional terms into the deal … Read More 

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When Not to Trust Your Gut

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Max H. Bazerman (Jesse Isidor Straus Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School) and Deepak Malhotra (Associate Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School) Intuition can sabotage your negotiations without your awareness. In this article, the authors explore why we often think irrationally and reveal four practical strategies for how and when to abandon intuition … Read More 

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Stumbling Into Bad Behavior

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

In an op-ed article in today’s edition of The New York Times, Max H. Bazerman, Straus Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School, and Ann E. Tenbrunsel, Martin Professor of Business Ethics at the University of Notre Dame, discuss the reasons why ethical lapses occur so often in business settings. According to … Read More 

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Learning from Negotiation Training

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Adapted from “Putting Negotiation Training to Work,” by Max H. Bazerman (professor, Harvard Business School), first published in the Negotiation newsletter. Many executives read books and newsletters to improve their negotiating skills. Many also take time out of their busy work lives to attend classes and training programs, including ones focused on negotiation. Their teachers pass … Read More 

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When Negotiators Act Like Parasites

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Adapted from “Creating Values, Weighing Values,” by Max H. Bazerman (professor, Harvard Business School), first published in the Negotiation newsletter. In April 2001, the FTC filed a complaint accusing pharmaceutical companies Schering-Plough and Upsher-Smith of restricting trade. Upsher-Smith had been preparing to introduce a generic pharmaceutical product that would threaten a near monopoly held by Schering-Plough. … Read More 

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Max Bazerman Discusses “Blind Spots” at the Harvard Book Store

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The Harvard Book Store presents

“Blind Spots” with Max Bazerman Date: Monday, April 18, 2011 Time: 7:00 PM Location: 1256 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge See Event Details Online: http://www.harvard.com/event/max_h._bazerman/ About the Book: When confronted with an ethical dilemma, most of us like to think we would stand up for our principles. But we are not as ethical as we think we are. In “Blind … Read More 

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The Negotiator’s Secret: More Than Merely Effective

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

James K. Sebenius (Program on Negotiation Executive Committee Vice-Chair; Gordon Donaldson Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School; Co-author of 3-D Negotiation) Negotiators are often too confident of their own position and too quick to demonize the other side. In this article, the author describes steps to conquer these damaging biases. Read More … Read More 

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Investigative Negotiation

Posted by & filed under Conflict Resolution.

Max H. Bazerman (Jesse Isidor Straus Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School) and Deepak Malhotra (Associate Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School) Negotiations can hit a brick wall because one party wrongly assumes they understand the other side’s motivations and therefore don’t explore them further. In this article, the authors discuss five principles underlying … Read More 

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Professor Subramanian and Professor Bordone featured on Law School Homepage

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PON Executive Committee member, Professor Guhan Subramanian and Harvard Negotiation Mediation Clinical Program director, Professor Robert Bordone recently coached Harvard Law School and Harvard Business School students in a day long negotiation exercise. Information about the exercise is featured on the HLS homepage. Click here to read more. … Read More 

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Make Your Best Offer Look Better

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

Adapted from “Picking the Right Frame: Make Your Best Offer Seem Better,” by Max H. Bazerman (professor, Harvard Business School), first published in the Negotiation newsletter. Imagine that you bought a house in 2000 for $400,000. You have just put it on the market for $499,000, with a real target of $470,000—your estimation of the house’s … Read More 

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Negotiators: Don’t Go on a Power Trip

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

Adapted from “When You Hold All the Cards,” by Guhan Subramanian (professor, Harvard Business School and Harvard Law School), first published in the Negotiation newsletter. One of your customers has just landed a lucrative new contract, and you’re the only supplier who can add a critical component to that customer’s production process. Concerns about violating your … Read More 

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Dealing with the ‘Irrational’ Negotiator

Posted by & filed under Conflict Resolution.

Max H. Bazerman (Jesse Isidor Straus Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School) and Deepak Malhotra (Associate Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School) You don’t have to let a recalcitrant negotiator derail your progress. In this article, the authors describe strategies and tactics to overcome another party’s counterproductive behavior and keep the deal on track. Read … Read More 

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Negotiating When the Rules Suddenly Change

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

Michael Wheeler (MBA Class of 1952 Professor of Management Practice, Harvard Business School) When a volatile situation threatens to derail your negotiation, drawing lessons from the military can be useful. In this article, the author explains three strategies to give you a decided advantage. Read More … Read More 

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Negotiating Online? Meet Face to Face First

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

Adapted from “How to Negotiate Successfully Online,” by Kathleen L. McGinn (professor, Harvard Business School) and Eric J. Wilson (Cogos Consulting), first published in the Negotiation newsletter. The intricacies of electronic negotiation can be dizzying. You’re likely to find yourself communicating with numerous people you’ve never met about issues you each value differently, and you all … Read More 

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How to Turn a Maybe Into a Yes

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

Adapted from “Closing the Deal,” by Michael Wheeler (professor, Harvard Business School), first published in the Negotiation newsletter. You’ve followed the negotiation guidebooks to a T, uncovered the parties’ key interests, brainstormed creative solutions, and even developed good rapport with your counterpart. You’ve done everything right…but you still don’t have agreement. How do you turn the other … Read More 

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When Focus Comes at a Price

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

Adapted from “The High Cost of Low Focus,” by Max H. Bazerman (professor, Harvard Business School), first published in the Negotiation newsletter. Has someone (perhaps a significant other) ever told you that you’ve previously seen or heard something that you don’t recall? When someone says, “I already told you that!” in exasperation, do you assume that … Read More 

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Conflicts of Interest

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

Max H. Bazerman (Jesse Isidor Straus Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School) and Deepak Malhotra (Associate Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School) (An excerpt from the book Negotiation Genius by Deepak Malhotra and Max H. Bazerman) When conflicting interests are involved, none of us is immune from the effects of personal or professional bias. In … Read More 

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Agreeing to Disagree

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

Adapted from “What Divides You May Unite You,” by James K. Sebenius (professor, Harvard Business School), first published in the Negotiation newsletter. Mark Twain once quipped that “it is differences of opinion that make horse races.” Along these lines, differences in beliefs about how future events will unfold—what a key price will be, whether a technology … Read More 

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Is That Really Your Best Offer?

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

Michael Wheeler (MBA Class of 1952 Professor of Management Practice, Harvard Business School) Studies show that our hunches about when people are being honest aren’t much better than a coin toss. In this article, Michael Wheeler reveals six strategies for distinguishing lies from truth in a negotiation. Read More … Read More 

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New PON Teaching Materials About the Work of Martti Ahtisaari, 2010 Great Negotiator Award Recipient

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

The Program on Negotiation’s 2010 Great Negotiator Award was given to former Finnish President, Martti Ahtisaari, for his many significant achievements in the fields of negotiation and diplomacy. He was central to the Namibian independence negotiations in the late 1980s. He also served as chief United Nations negotiator to Kosovo from 2005-2006, and was instrumental … Read More 

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Negotiation? Auction? A Deal Maker’s Guide

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

Guhan Subramanian, Joseph Flom Professor of Law and Business, Harvard Law School; Douglas Weaver Professor of Business Law, Harvard Business School; Author of Negotiauctions When you have something to sell, should you hold an auction or negotiate a collaborative deal that delivers maximum value to both sides? In this article, professor Guhan Subramanian compares the risks … Read More 

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When You’re on Stage

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Adapted from “How to Deal When the Going Gets Tough,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter. Negotiators tend to feel pressured when they’re performing in front of an audience, according to Harvard Business School professor Deepak Malhotra. If your boss is watching your every move, if you are bargaining as part of a team, or if … Read More 

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Everyday Ingenuity

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Adapted from the Negotiation newsletter. Negotiation expert Roger Fisher sagely counsels, “Solutions are not the answer.” Instead of tossing demands back and forth on their way to an outcome, negotiators should focus on the process of exploring their underlying needs and interests. Get the process right, and practical solutions often follow. But process still depends on the … Read More 

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Checking Your Ego

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

Adapted from “When Self-Interest is Sabotage,” by Max H. Bazerman (professor, Harvard Business School), first published in the Negotiation newsletter. Researchers Frederick G. Banting and John Macleod were jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in 1923 for their partnership in the discovery of insulin. After receiving the prize, Banting publicly contended that Macleod, the head of their … Read More 

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When Goal Setting Goes Bad

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

Max Bazerman (Jesse Isidor Straus Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School; author of Judgment in Managerial Decision Making; co-author of Negotiation Genius and Predictable Surprises) Setting goals has become an embedded practice in management, but does it truly produce beneficial results? In this provocative article by Max Bazerman, he and his collaborators from top business … Read More 

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When Compromise Fails

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

Adapted from “The Dangers of Compromise,” by Max H. Bazerman (professor, Harvard Business School), first published in the Negotiation newsletter. In July 2000, Arthur Levitt, then chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), held hearings on the question of auditor independence. Believing that auditors’ close ties to their clients posed a conflict of interest … Read More 

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Pull Ahead of the Pack

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

Adapted from “Think You’re Powerless? Think Again,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter. If your organization regularly bids for business, you may be accustomed to feeling like the weaker party, write Deepak Malhotra and Max H. Bazerman in their book Negotiation Genius: How to Overcome Obstacles and Achieve Brilliant Results at the Bargaining Table and Beyond … Read More 

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To Get Ahead, Grab Their Coattails

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Adapted from “Want to Pull Ahead of the Competition?” by Michael Wheeler (professor, Harvard Business School), first published in the Negotiation newsletter. Lots of people have great ideas for new products and services, but most lack the imagination and doggedness to actually get them launched. Darren Rovell is a notable exception. As a college student, he … Read More 

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Honor Your Fellow Negotiator

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Adapted from “Negotiators: Guard Against Ethical Lapses,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter. During the past couple of years, a number of scandalous stories involving unethical behavior made headlines: Countrywide’s and AIG’s risky business practices, trader Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme, and former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich’s alleged attempt to sell a U.S. Senate seat. As instances … Read More 

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Don’t Just Do the Math

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Adapted from “Do the Numbers Get in Your Way?” by Brian J. Hall (professor, Harvard Business School) and P. Trent Staats (vice president, Verenium Corp.), first published in the Negotiation newsletter. Consider the customer support center that sought to increase the number of calls it could process per hour without increasing its capacity. When the call … Read More 

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See No Evil: Why We Overlook Other People’s Unethical Behavior

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

Francesca Gino, Don A. Moore, and Max Bazerman (Jesse Isidor Straus Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School) Managers unknowingly promote unethical behavior in the way they issue orders to subordinates or outsource work or mishandle their priorities. The result:  scandals that can cost trillions of dollars. In this article, the authors explain how leaders can … Read More 

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Former President Martti Ahtisaari honored with Great Negotiator Award!

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The Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School Will Honor Former President of Finland Martti Ahtisaari with the 2010 Great Negotiator Award Co-sponsored with the Future of Diplomacy Project at the Harvard Kennedy School, the Great Negotiator Event Offers Real-World Negotiation Discussion to All Students For Immediate Release CAMBRIDGE, MA (September 21,  2010) The Program on Negotiation … Read More 

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Great Negotiator Schedule Announced

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

Drafts of the case studies of President Martti Ahtisaari’s work in Aceh and Kosovo are available for review in order to prepare for this year’s Great Negotiator discussion. A Nobel Peace Prize recipient (2008) and former President of Finland (1994-2000), Martti Ahtisaari will be honored with the 2010 Great Negotiator Award by the Program on Negotiation … Read More 

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Find Strength in Numbers

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

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Don’t Be Cursed

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

Adapted from “How to Win an Auction—and Avoid the Sinking Feeling that You Overbid,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter. Imagine that at the beginning of class, a professor produces a jar full of coins and announces that he is auctioning it off. Students can write down a bid, he explains, and the highest bidder will … Read More 

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Deal with Last-Minute Demands

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Adapted from “When They Slice the Deal Too Thin,” by Michael Wheeler (professor, Harvard Business School), first published in the Negotiation newsletter. Suppose that, after months of negotiation, you reach a detailed agreement with a customer and shake hands. A week later, the customer’s procurement officer calls to tell you that there have to be some … Read More 

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Set Yourself Up for Success

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

Adapted from “Do a 3-D Audit of Barriers to Agreement,” by James K. Sebenius (professor, Harvard Business School), first published in the Negotiation newsletter. When talks stall, it’s tempting to jump to conclusions: “They’re being unreasonable.” “We’re not communicating well.” “We’re in a weak position.” Sometimes, however, setup barriers are to blame—that is, you don’t have … Read More 

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The 2010 Great Negotiator

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

On September 27, 2010, Nobel Peace Prize recipient (2008) and former President of Finland (1994-2000) Martti Ahtisaari will be honored with the 2010 Great Negotiator Award by the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School and the Future of Diplomacy Project. Martti Ahtisaari will participate in a faculty led discussion in Spangler Auditorium at Harvard … Read More 

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Get the Kinks Out

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

Adapted from “Should You Get the Kinks Out?” by Ian Larkin (professor, Harvard Business School), first published in the Negotiation newsletter. You may have heard about the power of contingent contracts in negotiation. As an example, imagine that a supplier has proposed you pay a bonus of 10% if the fault rate for its products is … Read More 

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Caveat Emptor?

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Adapted from “Fair Enough? An Ethical Fitness Quiz for Negotiators,” by Michael Wheeler (professor, Harvard Business School), first published in the Negotiation newsletter. Imagine that you bought a rustic cabin at its asking price. Now flash-forward a few years. You’ve enjoyed the place immensely but just learned that a motorcycle racetrack will be up and running … Read More 

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A Decision-Making Perspective to Negotiation: A Review of the Past and a Look into the Future

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Author: Max Bazerman, Jesse Isidor Straus Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School, author of Judgment in Managerial Decision Making; co-author of Negotiation Genius and Predictable Surprises Over the past 30 years, the collaboration between the social sciences and the practical application of new ideas in negotiation have provided exciting results. In this paper, Max Bazerman … Read More 

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Choose Your Words

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Adapted from “Metaphorical Negotiation,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter. Negotiators talk about building agreement, bluffing the opposition, and volleying offers back and forth. According to mediator Thomas Smith, careful attention to such metaphors can reveal deeper meaning beneath the explicit words that people use, notably regarding how they view the negotiation process and their relationship … Read More 

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Keeping Your Options Alive

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

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Choosing Your Next Relationship

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Adapted from “For Better or Worse: How Relationships Affect Negotiations,” by Kathleen L. McGinn (professor, Harvard Business School), first published in the Negotiation newsletter. Six years ago, Esther Lorenza, an experienced entrepreneur and the founder of a new Internet and catalog retailer, concluded that only one supplier could meet her unique product specifications and high standards … Read More 

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Making Time for Relationships

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

Adapted from “Leverage Time to Your Advantage,” by Deepak Malhotra (professor, Harvard Business School), first published in the Negotiation newsletter. Businesspeople often make the mistake of beginning negotiations only after an offer is on the table or after an old contract has expired. Why is this a problem? When money is at stake, it can be … Read More 

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Think Fast!

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Adapted from “What Negotiators Can Learn from Improv Comedy,” by Lakshmi Balachandra (lecturer, MIT Sloan School of Management) and Michael Wheeler (professor, Harvard Business School), first published in the Negotiation newsletter. You’re onstage without a script, relying on your mind and wits to come up with lines and actions that advance the game. Should you trust … Read More 

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The Power of Vivid Data

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

Adapted from “What’s Really Relevant? The Role of Vivid Data in Negotiation,” by Max H. Bazerman (professor, Harvard Business School), first published in the Negotiation newsletter. Students at top business schools are in an enviable position to negotiate for issues central to their careers and personal happiness. After all, they’re bright, well-trained, and highly sought after … Read More 

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Smoking out liars

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Adapted from “How Body Language Affects Negotiation,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter. In a real-life example of the power of image, Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter, a German, successfully passed himself off as a member of the Rockefeller family for many years while living in the United States. Armed with little more than an aloof personality and … Read More 

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Make your threat more credible

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Adapted from “Making Threats Credible,” by Deepak Malhotra (professor, Harvard Business School), first published in the Negotiation newsletter. While the stakes are usually lower, negotiation often resembles a game of Chicken. Both sides make threats in an effort to change their counterpart’s behavior or beliefs. You might threaten to take your business elsewhere unless the other … Read More 

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Know your rights!

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

Adapted from “Matching Rights: A Boon to Both Sides,” by Guhan Subramanian (professor, Harvard Business School and Harvard Law School), first published in the Negotiation newsletter. As dealmakers look for more sophisticated ways to reduce risks and increase returns, a matching right—a contractual guarantee that one side can match any offer that the other side … Read More 

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After the deal is inked

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Adapted from “Uncover Hidden Value with a Post-settlement Settlement,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter. You’ve reached an agreement that you find satisfactory and your counterpart does as well-but you can’t shake the sense that you could have done even better. For example, you might be happy with the price you achieved in a purchasing contract … Read More 

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Get the sequence right

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Adapted from “Set off a Chain Reaction,” by Michael Wheeler (professor, Harvard Business School), first published in the Negotiation newsletter. Artful sequencing in negotiation means lining up deals so that each agreement increases the odds of nailing down the next one. A hedge fund manager might find that certain investors will decline to put their … Read More 

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When “fairness” is a distraction

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

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

Daily

Gain greater leverage with sole suppliers

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

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

Daily

When women make good agents

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Adapted from “When Does Gender Matter in Negotiation?” by Dina W. Pradel (vice president, Y2M), Hannah Riley Bowles (professor, Harvard Kennedy School), and Kathleen L. Mcginn (professor, Harvard Business School), first published in the Negotiation newsletter. Businesspeople often wonder whether men or women are better negotiators. According to research, gender is not a reliable predictor of … Read More 

Daily

Too much commitment?

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

Daily

Fine-Tuning Your Contract

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

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

Daily

A second look at snap decisions

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Adapted from “It’s Not Intuitive: Strategies for Negotiating More Rationally,” by Max H. Bazerman and Deepak Malhotra (professors, Harvard Business School), first published in the Negotiation newsletter. When deciding whether to start a new business, entrepreneurs should critically and comprehensively analyze negotiations over land, construction, hiring, and so on. Yet in a study by Arnold Cooper … Read More 

Daily

Who are the founders of PON?

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The Program on Negotiation (PON) is the world’s first teaching and research center dedicated to negotiation, and its founders are among the true pioneers in the field. On April 8, 2003, seven of these founders gathered to reflect on PON’s beginnings in the early 1980s, and on their own journeys as leaders in the field … Read More 

Daily

Small Talk, Big Gains?

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

Daily

“Are We Exclusive?”

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

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Daily

Give at work

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Adapted from “Pitch Your Offer—and Close the Deal,” by Deepak Malhotra and Max H. Bazerman (professors, Harvard Business School), first published in the Negotiation newsletter. When you’re having trouble persuading someone, you might be tempted to sweeten the pot with hefty financial incentives. Before doing so, consider whether there are cheaper ways of gaining compliance. A … Read More 

Daily

When We Expect Too Much

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

Daily

Are you afraid of commitment?

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

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

Daily

Business Negotiations: Spoiler Alert!

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At one time or another, most of us have confronted a fellow negotiator who seemed intent on blocking even our most reasonable requests and actions. This was the situation faced by Alexis, the CIO at a midsize publishing company. Phil, the company’s CEO, hired Alexis to create an online information system tailored to the needs … Read More 

Daily

To Avoid Disaster, Plan Ahead

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

Daily

Daily

Should You Go Dutch?

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

Daily

Deception in Negotiation

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Adapted from “Smart Alternatives to Lying in Negotiation,” by Deepak Malhotra (associate professor, Harvard Business School), first published in the Negotiation newsletter. Daniel, a senior manager at a large consumer products firm, has been asked by a company vice president to submit a detailed budget request for his department. Daniel has an incentive to overstate anticipated … Read More 

Daily

Why We Misjudge What’s Fair

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Researchers Frederick G. Banting and John Macleod were jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in 1923 for their partnership in the discovery of insulin. After receiving the prize, Banting publicly contended that Macleod, the head of their laboratory, had been more of a hindrance in the research than a help. For his part, Macleod, in speeches … Read More 

Daily

Is Your Agent Faulty?

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

Daily

Negotiating Without Conditions

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Adapted from “Without Conditions:  The Case for Negotiating With the Enemy” by Deepak Malhotra. is Associate Professor at Harvard Business School and a co-author of Negotiation Genius: How to Overcome Obstacles and Achieve Brilliant Results at the Bargaining Table and Beyond. For the full article, visit Foreign Affairs. Diplomacy appears ready to make a comeback. The … Read More 

Daily

Daily

When It Pays to Delay

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

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Program on Negotiation saddened by the loss of 2007 Great Negotiator, Bruce Wasserstein

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The Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School was saddened to learn of the death of Bruce Wasserstein, PON’s 2007 Great Negotiator. The Great Negotiator Award is  given to recognize an individual whose lifetime achievements in the field of negotiation and dispute resolution have had a significant and lasting impact. Wasserstein, Chairman and CEO of  … Read More 

Daily

Dealing with choice overload

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When it comes to offering and considering choices in a negotiation, the more the better, right? In fact, the presence of too many options may actually hamper people from coming to any agreement. A study from the decision-making realm supports this conclusion. Draeger’s Market in Menlo Park, Calif., is renowned for its wide selection of gourmet … Read More 

Daily

Daily

Professor Max Bazerman Publishes a Working Paper: “A Decision-Making Perspective to Negotiation: A Review of the Past and a Look into the Future”

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Professor Max Bazerman, member of the PON Executive Committee and professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School (HBS), and HBS Ph.D. candidate Chia-Jung Tsay published a working paper titled, “A Decision-Making Perspective to Negotiation: A Review of the Past and a Look into the Future” on August 20, 2009. Abstract Through the decision-analytic approach to negotiations, … Read More 

Daily

Obama healthcare moves follow Harvard playbook

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President Obama’s healthcare reform game plan is classic “3-D Negotiation,” a strategy developed at the Harvard Program on Negotiation. We have no idea whether the President or his aides are students of the Harvard approach, as set out by Prof. James K. Sebenius, vice chair of the Program on Negotiation, and co-author David Lax, in their … Read More 

Daily

Teachers and Trainers Gather to Talk About Mediation Pedagogy

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By Larry Susskind Nearly two hundred educators and trainers from eighteen countries gathered on May 15th and 16th to share ideas about teaching mediation.  It was unusual for mediation teachers and trainers from fields as diverse as law, family services, public management, business, international relations, urban planning, community development, psychotherapy, and education to share ideas on … Read More 

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Mediation Pedagogy Conference

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Registration is now closed for the NP@PON Mediation Pedagogy Conference. Professors Lawrence Susskind (MIT) and Michael Wheeler (Harvard Business School) are pleased to announce a Mediation Pedagogy Conference to be held by Negotiation Pedagogy at the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School (NP@PON). This two-day Conference will be held Friday, May 15 and Saturday, May … Read More 

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Negotiating the Financial Crisis

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Panelists will discuss the negotiation challenges presented by the banking crisis, GM’s restructuring, and the policy making process. Moderator: Robert Mnookin, Chair of the Program on Negotiation and Samuel Williston Professor of Law at Harvard Law School Panelists: Howell Jackson, Acting Dean and Professor, Harvard Law School Robert Pozen, Chairman of MFS Investment Management and Senior Lecturer of Business Administration … Read More 

Daily

You Want How Much for the Mug?!

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Common psychological barriers lead us to overvalue our possessions. That can be a problem when it’s time to get rid of them. Some possessions truly are priceless—we wouldn’t part with them for any amount of money. Others are virtually priceless, or “pseudosacred,” according to Harvard Business School professor Max Bazerman. We might claim that these … Read More 

Daily

Resolving Hot Conflicts: Skills for Managers

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Conventional wisdom suggests that team conflicts be resolved by focusing on the task at hand and avoiding interpersonal relationship issues. However, Amy Edmonson of Harvard Business School and Diana McLain Smith of The Monitor Group argue that this approach only works with issues that are “cool” because they can be resolved using objective means. On the … Read More