It’s an article of faith in negotiation that expanding the pie of value enhances the parties’ welfare. When there’s only one issue on the bargaining table, the size of the pie is fixed. If one party gets more, the other party gets less. But when multiple issues exist, negotiators can expand the size of the pie by engaging in give-and-take trading that leaves everyone better off. The more issues that are to trade, it would seem, the happier negotiators should be.
Work by Charles Naquin, who teaches at the University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business, challenges this conventional wisdow. Naquin found that subjects who negotiated a four-issue simulation were significantly more satisfied with their outcomes than those who worked with eight issues. Although the latter group created demonstrably more value, they were less pleased with their results.
Michael Wheeler holds the MBA Class of 1952 Professor of Management Practice at the Harvard Business School where he teaches both Complex Negotiation and The Moral Leader, as well as a variety of executive courses. In recent years he served as faculty chair of the first year MBA program and headed the required Negotiation course.
Adapted from “When More Is Less,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter.
It’s an article of faith in negotiation that expanding the pie of value enhances parties’ welfare. When there’s only one issue on the bargaining table, the size of the pie is fixed. If one party gets more, the other party must get less. But
Negotiation for Lawyers
SUFFOLK UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF LAW
The course will focus on negotiation issues in lawyering, dealing with adversaries and allies, advising clients, resolving ethical issues, preserving professional relationships, understanding cooperation, competition, and compromise, and evaluating the strength and weakness of legal positions. Students will regularly engage in simulated negotiations. In lieu of