Individual negotiators are sometimes overwhelmed by the idea of leading organization-wide changes to negotiation practices. In fact,
it doesn’t take much time or effort to set the wheels of reform in motion, write Hallam Movius and Lawrence Susskind in Built to Win. Here
are four simple steps to implement in your workplace.
Women negotiating for career rewards face a dilemma: they must weigh the benefits of negotiating against the social consequences of having negotiated. This highly focused program, offered for the very first time, is designed to help women develop individual strategies for improving both their negotiation and social outcomes in career negotiations.
Win at win-win negotiating! Find trades that create much more value than either you or your opponent thought possible while satisfying the interests of your back table – the people to whom you report.
Negotiation can be challenging. And so can teaching it! At the Program on Negotiation (PON) at Harvard Law School, we help educators, scholars and practitioners like you learn how to more effectively teach negotiation.
Notably, role-play simulations are a particularly useful way to facilitate experimentation and introduce participants to new dispute resolution tools, techniques and strategies. To help you gain a greater understanding of the impact of role-plays, we’ve recently introduced a new, free report: Teaching Negotiation. It reveals the answers to many common questions like:
• What does it mean to make a negotiation exercise “authentic”?
• When a role-play simulation is based on an historic event, how do you prevent students from simply “re-enacting” what happened?
• What role do human emotions play in role-play simulations?
• How do you create an immersive simulation experience in a short amount of time?
The increasingly diverse and global nature of business sets the stage for disputes that can cross ethnic and cultural lines—fueling the need for expertise in cross-cultural negotiations. To help teach these nuances and tactics, the Teaching Negotiation Resource Center (TNRC) has developed several negotiation exercises that address the challenges that are inherent to cross-cultural negotiations.
Become a skilled mediator.
Salvaging relationships. Opening lines of communication. De-escalating conflicts. Reaching workable agreements.
The success of any mediation is predicated on the skills of the mediator.
In this popular program, you will acquire the practical skills and techniques for facilitating negotiations between disputing parties. From family and employment matters to public policy and business disagreements, you will discover effective ways to settle differences and mediate disputes across a variety of contexts.
Larry Susskind (MIT), Ona Ferguson, and Meredith Sciarrio
Two, separate, two-person, non-scorable negotiations: one between Technical Co-chairs from the Center for Disease Control and USAID; the other between a CDC Technical Co-Chair and the Minister of Health in the imaginary host country of Sabada.
New Free Report – Business Negotiation Strategies: How to Negotiate Better Business Deals
The 2014 Harvard Negotiation Master Class will be held November 5 through 7, 2014.
Larry Susskind (MIT), Ona Ferguson, and Meredith Sciarrio
Two, separate, two-person, non-scorable negotiations: one between Technical Co-chairs from the Center for Disease Control and USAID; the other between a CDC Technical Co-Chair and the Minister of Health in the imaginary host country of Sabada.
Students who master business negotiation become better leaders. But it starts with building the right skills. And that’s where our latest free report comes in. In Negotiation Skills: Negotiation Strategies and Negotiation Techniques to Help You Become a Better Negotiator, you’ll learn:
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 experiencing an epidemic of immorality.
Madoff and Blagojevich seem to represent extreme cases on the fringes of human behavior—a couple of very bad apples. In fact, new psychological research suggests that most of us experience ethical lapses under certain conditions. But rather than knowingly causing harm, as Madoff did, we are more likely to unintentionally violate our own moral code.
In negotiation, even minor instances of immoral behavior could damage your reputation and your organization’s as well. Here we present three common ethical pitfalls and suggest ways to police yourself and your counterparts.
This course examines core decision-making challenges, analyzes complex negotiation scenarios, and provides a range of competitive and cooperative negotiation strategies. Whether you’re an experienced executive or and up-and-coming manager – working in the private or public sector – this program will help you shape important deals, negotiate in uncertain environments, improve working relationships, claim (and create) more value, and resolve seemingly intractable disputes. In short, this three-day executive education program will prepare you to achieve better outcomes at the table, every single time.
Jeswald W. Salacuse
Five- to six-person negotiation between search committee members asked to reach consensus on characteristics needed for a new leader to right a financial company in crisis
Discover how to boost your power at the bargaining table in this free special report, Dealmaking: Secrets of Successful Dealmaking in Business Negotiations, from Harvard Law School.
Private sector or commercial negotiations can range from relatively straightforward, high-stakes contract negotiations between suppliers and distributors to complex, multiparty negotiations between government, industry, and other interest groups. To help teach these key negotiation skills the Teaching Negotiation Resource Center (TNRC) has developed a wide range of role-play exercises that reflect the full breadth and depth of business and commercial negotiations.
Going far beyond war and peace, international negotiation spans issues ranging from global warming to foreign debt to human rights. Offered for first time in conjunction with Negotiation and Leadership, this dynamic full-day program will explore contemporary issues in international negotiations and diplomacy. Utilizing a combination of theoretical analysis, case studies, and simulations, this program will focus on negotiating across and behind the table and provide strategies and tactics for practicing diplomacy and undertaking international negotiations.
This one-day course, which takes place June 23, 2011, is based on Professor Salacuse’s books The Global Negotiator—Making, Managing, and Mending Deals Around the World in the Twenty-First Century and the Seven Secrets for Negotiating with Government. Participants will be provided with both books at the workshop as part of the course.
Two-team (6 person), multi-issue contract negotiation between Canadian zoo CEOs and representatives of Chinese organization responsible for giant panda loans
Join us September 15-17, October 27-29, or December 7-9 for this three-day negotiation seminar at the Charles Hotel in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
How can you say “No” to customers – external or internal – who are pressing you to do something not in your organization’s interest? How can you say “No” to an overly demanding employee or a demanding boss without hurting a valuable relationship? How can you save the deal and the relationship and still say “No”?
Saying “No” the right way may be the single most valuable skill in negotiation—absolutely key to getting to “Yes”. As you will learn in this one-day course, the secret to saying “No” while protecting and advancing your core interests without compromising relationships lies in the art of a “Positive No.”
Four-person, scoreable, prisoner’s dilemma game where players decide how to handle low water levels in 10 quick rounds; an adaptation of the case “Win As Much As You Can.”
As a general manager of a business unit and the father of two daughters in college, I have no tolerance for gender bias in the workplace or anywhere else for that matter. At least that’s what I thought, until a women manager handed me the Negotiation Strategies for Women report that she recently received from the Program on Negotiation.
I read it cover to cover and was startled by what I learned – that double standards and obstacles still exist for women professionals to advocate for themselves. I met with my HR manager and together we scrutinized our business. We realized that we were unintentionally perpetuating gender inequality.
Discover how to collaborate, negotiate, and bargain with even the most combative opponents. In Dealing With Difficult People, you’ll gain actionable strategies for:
Dealing with people who won’t give you what you want
Holding your ground in difficult situations
Negotiating effectively in the face of adversity
In corporate dealmaking, much of the action happens away from the negotiating table. Successful dealmakers understand that deal set-up and design greatly influence negotiation outcomes.
In this program, you will examine the legal, tactical, and structural elements of dealmaking and acquire practical skills and techniques for navigating difficult tactics and pursuing interest-based negotiations.
Whether you are an experienced negotiator or new to the field, you will learn how to abandon behaviors that hinder negotiations and emerge with new conceptual frameworks, practical skills and a systematic approach to navigating complex business deals.
Leah C. Stokes, Lawrence Susskind, and Noelle E. Selin
This mercury game is a free role-play simulation aimed at scientists, students and decision makers. Playing the game will help participants explore the consequences of representing scientific uncertainty in various ways in a policy context.
At the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School (PON), we are dedicated to helping professionals deal with hard bargainers and resolve even the most challenging disputes. To help you understand the principles of negotiation and conflict resolution, we put together a special report: Dealing With Difficult People.
Discover how to collaborate, negotiate, and bargain with even the most combative opponents. In Dealing With Difficult People, you’ll gain actionable strategies for:
Dealing with people who won’t give you what you want
Holding your ground in difficult situations
Negotiating effectively in the face of adversity
Intercultural negotiations are common these days—and so are culture clashes. Here’s how to handle the added complexity such talks can bring.
Imagine that you’re the American representative of a U.S. food company, and you’re hoping to procure a new ingredient for several of your products from a German company. A representative from the company is flying in to meet with you. Do you expect your German counterpart to behave differently than the Americans you typically deal with, and if so, how? Will you adapt your negotiating style according to your expectations?
Now imagine instead that your counterpart represents a Chinese company or that your counterpart is from Mexico.
Turn disputes into deals. Transform deals into better deals. Resolve intractable problems. Negotiating effectively requires the ability to change the game – moving away from conflict and toward collaboration. In this intensive, interactive program, you acquire a proven framework for maximizing the value of your negotiation, whether you are behind the bargaining table with a client or across the table with an opposing party.
Engaged with a professional group of peers, you will participate in discussions and simulations that cover a range of complex scenarios ranging from intellectual property, pricing, and licensing negotiations to international, domestic, public, and private disputes. You will refine your negotiation skills and leave with a set of strategies that you can use to deal with difficult negotiation behaviors and hard-bargaining tactics.
By Susan L. Podziba. Civic fusion is when people bond to achieve a common public goal, even as they sustain deep value differences. This book offers proven strategies for moving polarized parties to consensus solutions based on the author’s 25 years of mediation experience, including working with pro-life and pro-choice leaders after fatal shootings at women’s health clinics, crane industry and union representatives to develop federal worker safety regulations, and citizens of a failed city that reclaimed their democracy by writing a consensus charter.
Join us April 15-18, May 20-23, or June 17-20 for this three-day negotiation seminar at the Charles Hotel in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Designed to accelerate your negotiation capabilities, Negotiation and Leadership (formerly known as the Program on Negotiation for Senior Executives) examines core decision-making challenges, analyzes complex negotiation scenarios, and provides a range of competitive and cooperative negotiation strategies.
On July 7, Eduard Shevardnadze, foreign minister to Mikhail Gorbachev and a driving force behind the perestroika era in Russia, died in his native Georgia at the age of 86.
In June 1985, Shevardnadze—then a lifelong Communist official with no diplomatic experience—was reportedly taken aback when his old friend Gorbachev asked him to take charge of the USSR’s foreign policy, the New York Times reports.
Working together, the two men overhauled Soviet foreign policy—pulling the USSR back from its calamitous war in Afghanistan, negotiating nuclear arms treaties with the United States, permitting the reunification of Germany, and opening up discussions of human rights issues.
Whether you’re a vice president, litigator, manager, or transactional attorney, negotiation is central to nearly every professional activity. Systematic and thorough preparation, as well as an ability to manage shared, different, and conflicting interests, is critical to success.
Designed to address the core issues that you experience as you negotiate on behalf of your clients, organizations, or yourself, this intensive two-day program provides a theoretical framework for thinking about business and legal negotiations. You will address distinct challenges faced by lawyers and professionals – ranging from multi-party, complex negotiations to situations involving difficult people and behaviors – and acquire proven strategies for overcoming them.
Stephen Weiss and Sarah Tatrallyay
This case study centers on the most challenging task for a negotiator: to reach a satisfactory agreement with a tough counterpart from a position of low power—and to do so in an uncommon context. The case concerns the executive director of a zoo in the U.S. who seeks two giant pandas, an endangered species, from their only source on the planet: China.
Perfect your negotiation skills in this free special report, BATNA Basics: Boost Your Power at the Bargaining Table from Harvard Law School.
Whether you’re purchasing a new home or car, or negotiating a discount on an inventory purchase for your firm, the art of haggling enables negotiators to make a strong claim for their share of the pie. Here are six tips from the Negotiation Briefings newsletter to help you start becoming a better at haggling in business negotiations.
Too many negotiators leave value on the table.
They painfully divide a small pie after a costly battle while failing to capture offsetting opportunities for joint gain, or win the battle, but at the cost to relationships and reputation that limit long-term value.
Reliably negotiating optimal outcomes requires a keen appreciation of the negotiation process, systematic preparation, and honed interpersonal skills.
In this intensive, interactive program, you will acquire a framework, tools, techniques, and skills for maximizing the value of your negotiated outcomes by effectively navigating the negotiation process from setup to commitment to implementation.
Sally Soprano is a distinguished soprano who is now somewhat past her prime. She has not had a lead role in two years but would like to revive her career. The Lyric Opera has a production scheduled to open in three weeks, but its lead soprano has become unavailable. Lyric’s representative has requested a meeting with Sally’s agent to discuss the possibility of hiring Sally for the production. Neither knows much about the other’s interests or alternatives. There is a wide-range of possible outcomes.
The Harvard Negotiation Project was recently mentioned in the Wall Street Journal by David Feith in his interview with Benny Tai, “China’s New Freedom Fighters.”
Benny Tai, a 49 year old lawyer who has been branded an “enemy of the state,” founded Occupy Central with Love and Peace, a group that promotes civil disobedience in order to promote free elections in Hong Kong.
Among Tai’s inspirations include works from the Program on Negotiation’s Harvard Negotiation Project.
When negotiations become difficult, emotions often escalate and talks break down.
To overcome barriers and turn negotiations from difficult to collaborative, from breakdown to breakthrough, you must learn to understand the inter- and intra-personal dynamics at play. In this program, you will examine how your own assumptions and behaviors can help create and perpetuate negotiation dynamics you desperately want to avoid, and learn how to modify even deeply held assumptions and enact new behaviors more likely to foster successful negotiations.
Harborco is a consortium of development, industrial, and shipping concerns that are eager to proceed with the building of a new port, but face hurdles and potential opposition as they advance through the licensing process. The Federal Licensing Agency would like to see them work with other stakeholders to develop a project that is acceptable to all, or at least most parties. The project proponents must employ their negotiation skills to craft proposals that win the support of others in order to proceed.
Two stories emerged in the news this month that illustrate polar opposite attitudes toward negotiating salary and benefits in the workplace.
First, a New York Times profile revealed that Ira Glass, the creator and host of the popular radio show “This American Life,” is highly uncomfortable earning a high salary. In recent years, Glass earned about $170,000 in compensation and benefits. In 2013, the board of WBEZ public radio—his show’s producer—raised that figure to $278,000 to bring it in line with his stature and success.
Glass felt “weird about it,” he told Cara Buckley of the Times. In fact, he felt so weird about the
increase that he asked the board to lower his salary the following year to $146,000. “Then this year, I asked to lower it again,” he wrote in an email to Buckley, adding, “It’s still a lot of money.”
Shafiqul Islam and Lawrence E. Susskind
In this book, the authors show how open and constantly changing water networks can be managed successfully using collaborative adaptive techniques to build informed agreements among disciplinary experts, water users with conflicting interests, and governmental bodies with countervailing claims.
In this Special Report, we offer advice from the world of sports, taken from the Negotiation newsletter, to help you navigate your most important negotiations. You will learn to get your head in the game, manage team dynamics, and get a competitive edge.
While the blueprint for achieving your negotiation goals may differ depending on the type of negotiation, the road to negotiation success looks much the same across most negotiation scenarios.
In discussing the art and science of negotiation, Great Negotiator 2014 Tommy Koh described five “fundamentals” that Program on Negotiation faculty member James K. Sebenius says, “have value in almost any negotiation.”
In this Special Report, we offer expert advice from the ‘Negotiation’ newsletter to help you in international negotiations.
Suppose your research reveals that the TV you want is fairly new on the market.
Further research about your local store leads you to believe it may be willing to go as low as Amazon.com’s price of $900. Now you have a general sense of the ZOPA, or zone of possible agreement: between $900 (your estimate of the store’s reservation price) and $975 (your reservation price).
In this free special report negotiation experts offers advice on how to turn crisis situations into collaborative negotiations. Throughout the report, you will discover how to apply the lessons of professional hostage negotiators, avoid disasters through careful planning, diffuse tensions with angry members of the public, and break through impasse with open communication.
Now it’s time to assess the best deal you might get. Figuring out the other party’s reservation price is the key to knowing how far you will be able to push him, 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 (Bantam, 2007).
Start by considering the other party’s BATNA: What will he do if he can’t close the sale with you?
Like most retailers, he’ll simply have to wait for someone else to walk through the door.
In this Special Report, we offer expert advice from the ‘Negotiation’ newsletter to help you in international negotiations. You will learn to cope with culture clashes, weigh culture against other important factors, prepare for possible cultural barriers and much more.
We tend to view job negotiations as battles over a fixed pie of resources: A higher salary for the employee means lower profits for the employer. More vacation time equals lowered productivity, and so on.
But employment negotiations can lead to win-win agreements. If an entrepreneur can’t afford office space, she will benefit from hiring employees who prefer to work at home. In that case, the parties have compatible preferences. Even when their preferences aren’t compatible, the two sides can make tradeoffs across issues to reach satisfying agreements: an employee who wants more vacation time might volunteer for a responsibility that others have shunned, for example.
In this Special Report, we offer expert advice from the ‘Negotiation’ newsletter to help you close your most important sales negotiations.
In today’s market, consumers are often the more powerful parties in negotiations with sellers.
To claim the most value in your next haggling experience, use the following six strategies.
In this Special Report, the experts and editors from Harvard’s Program on
Negotiation offer a sampling of advice from past issues of Negotiation to help you learn the techniques you need to resolve your disputes through mediation. You will learn to select the right dispute-resolution process, choose a mediator with appropriate expertise, learn the steps your mediator is likely to follow and enhance your outcomes through novel strategies.
In recent months, U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders have struggled to find a winning strategy to convince Russian President Vladimir Putin to back away from his aggressions toward Ukraine. In a Wall Street Journal editorial, Ken Adelman, U.S. President Ronald Reagan’s ambassador to the United Nations and arms-control director, writes that recently declassified accounts of negotiations between Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev offer lessons that could help Western leaders approach their Russian counterpart more effectively.
According to Adelman, on his way to accept the 1980 Republican nomination, Reagan told an adviser that the primary reason he wanted to be president was “To win the Cold War.” Having set this overarching goal, Reagan tenaciously pursued it throughout his two terms in the White House.
The experts and editors from Harvard’s Program on Negotiation offer a sampling of advice from past issues of Negotiation to help
you learn to foster relationships by building rapport, manage conflict in long-term relationships and negotiate business decisions with family members.
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 article, those who are trying to woo business from an apparel company often end up dressing down, for strategic reasons.
Take the IPO of yogawear company Lululemon Athletics in 2007. As Mattioli recounts, deal teams from several banks were so eager to win the company’s business that they showed up at meetings wearing “form-fitting yoga pants, track suit tops and sneakers.” One banker said of the experience, “It was pretty embarrassing, actually.” His team didn’t get a slice of the deal underwriting. Another bank, UBS AG, did, after staging a “flash mob” yoga session with 75 of its employees in Central Park, all of them decked out in Lululemon.
This report reveals how wise negotiators extract unexpected value using an indirect approach to conflict management. An aggressive management style can set you up for repeated failure. Direct conflict management approaches can be overly combative and counter-productive. Experienced negotiators know that compromise seldom succeeds. Win/lose is really lose/lose. The best negotiation strategy results in a deal that works for all parties.
Just like the prices of houses, cars, and other big-ticket items, the prices of furniture, electronics, wine, jewelry, another “medium-ticket” goods are now frequently up for discussion. The ancient art of haggling—the back-and-forth dance of offers and concessions between buyer and seller—is making a comeback, and you would do well to brush up on your skills.
Discover how to build a winning team, find an effective negotiation “coach,” budget for negotiations training and boost your business negotiation results in this free special report from Harvard Law School.
In the early 1990s, NASA managers and engineers were warned by an expert in risk
analysis that the heat-resistant tiles that protected space shuttles during reentry into Earth’s
atmosphere could be damaged by debris from the insulating foam on the shuttle’s’ fuel tanks.
During missions over the next 10 years, debris did, indeed, hit tiles, but the damage was always minor and could be repaired between missions.
This spring, the Metropolitan Opera opened labor talks with the 16 unions representing its workers, whose contracts all expire at the end of July, the New York Times reports. Labor and management agree on one fundamental point—that the opera is struggling financially amid falling ticket sales, a depleted endowment, and growing expenses. Perhaps not surprisingly, however, they disagree on where needed budget cuts should come from.
Met management has asked for 16-17% salary cuts from its workers. The unions have refused, saying the company should shrink its rapidly increasing budget by scaling back on new productions and trim administrative spending.
D. Joseph Hartnett, the assistant director of stagecraft from the opera’s stagehands’ union, struck a conciliatory note, saying “We can save the Met…but it means all of us working together to bring the budget in line.”
CNN Tonight host Dan Lemon recently featured Program on Negotiation Chair Robert Mnookin along with fellow Harvard Law School professor Alan Dershowitz, storied commentator Anne Coulter, and Peter Bergen, CNN national security analyst, for a panel discussion regarding the recent exchange of Taliban prisoner for US soldier, Bowe Bergdahl.
The night’s discussion centered on whether or not US President Barack Obama was remiss in releasing five Taliban prisoners in exchange for one US soldier who was being held by the Taliban.
The recent exchange between the United States and the Taliban of Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl for five Taliban leaders held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, represented the first public prisoner exchange of a US soldier in the thirteen year US involvement in Afghanistan. The background of the deal including how Private First Class Bergdahl (promoted twice to Sergeant while in captivity) entered Taliban control, how the deal was crafted and executed, and what it means for the future have rapidly come forward in bits and pieces through media channels.
What is currently missing in the existing commentary is a holistic negotiation analysis. A negotiation analysis applies negotiation frameworks and theory to better understand the events that have taken place and the unfolding debates, and can provide insight into future negotiations. It also enables understanding by using a template that includes stakeholders, core interests, deal set-up and components, execution, and post-deal debate and legacy to allow for a focused discussion.
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, faced a competitive atmosphere, or lacked strong deal alternatives can learn a lot from team athletics.
Why are sports talks tough? In his chapter “First, Let’s Kill All the Agents!” in Negotiating on Behalf of Others (Sage, 1999), Harvard Business School professor Michael Wheeler analyzes the key features that can make sports negotiations so contentious.
Robert Barnett, a corporate attorney based in Washington, D.C., moonlights as a book agent for celebrity politicians—including Barack Obama, Laura Bush, and Bill and Hillary Clinton. New York editors line up to sign Barnett’s clients and, they hope, rake in blockbuster profits.
Barnett’s technique is to introduce his latest superstar to the major publishing houses and then hold a multiround auction, writes Guhan Subramanian, a Harvard University professor and Negotiation’s academic editor, in his new book, Negotiauctions: New Dealmaking Strategies for a Competitive Marketplace (Norton, 2010). After the first round of bidding, Barnett gives low bidders chance to top the high bid, until an unbeatable offer emerges.
On May 30, the National Basketball Association (NBA) announced it had approved former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer’s record-breaking $2 billion offer to buy the Los Angeles Clippers from Shelly Sterling, wife of Clippers owner Donald Sterling. In April, the NBA banned Sterling from the league for life after racist remarks he made during a phone call were made public.
Negotiations to buy the Clippers were fast and furious. Aware that the NBA Board of Governors could have voted to terminate both of the Sterlings’ ownership interests at a meeting scheduled for June 3, Shelly Sterling was eager to sell the team before that date and reportedly was authorized by her estranged husband to negotiate on his behalf. As part of the sale agreement, Shelly Sterling and her family’s trust promised not to sue the NBA and to absolve the league of litigation filed by others, including her husband. Donald Sterling, meanwhile, filed a $1 billion lawsuit against the NBA the day his wife’s deal was announced.
Even after the best negotiations, sometimes the other side will demand a renegotiation of the deal. Here are some guidelines on how to proceed.
On May 13, Lakhdar Brahimi, U.N. special envoy to Syria, announced that he was quitting his position as lead mediator of the Syrian conflict due to frustration with a lack of progress. The same day, a French diplomat said the Syrian government had used chemical weapons more than 12 times after signing a treaty banning the weapons, according to the New York Times.
“It’s very sad that I leave this position and leave Syria behind in such a bad state,” Brahimi told reporters.
He was the second high-level mediator to abandon the conflict. In 2012, former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan gave up his efforts to negotiate an end to the civil war after Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government failed to implement the six-point plan that Annan had negotiated between the government and opposition leaders.
Even with a common language and the best of intentions, negotiators from different cultures face special challenges. Try following these guidelines when preparing for talks with someone from a different culture:
After recently losing an important deal in India, a business negotiator learned that her counterpart felt as if she had been rushing through the talks. The business negotiator thought she was being efﬁcient with their time. How can she improve her cross-cultural negotiation skills?
Research shows that dealmaking across cultures tends to lead to worse outcomes as compared with negotiations conducted within the same culture. This is primarily because cultures are characterized by different behaviors, communication styles, and norms. As a result, when negotiating across cultures, we bring different perspectives to the bargaining table, which in turn may result in potential misunderstandings and a lower likelihood of exploring and discovering integrative, or value-creating, solutions.
Although Elfenbein and her colleagues did find that negotiators performed at a similar level from one negotiation to the next, to their surprise, these scores were only minimally related to specific personality traits. And traits that are basically unchangeable, such as gender, ethnic background, and physical attractiveness, were not closely connected to people’s scores.
A small number of traits did affect negotiators’ performance,however. Let’s look at the qualities that stood out in this study, as well as some that other researchers have identified.
In their training, police and professional hostage negotiators are taught skills that will help them defuse tense situations over the course of long phone calls, such as engaging in active listening, determining the person’s emotions from his or her inflection, and trust building.
These crisis negotiators are being put to the test by young criminal suspects and others in crisis, whose first instinct increasingly seems to be texting rather than talking, according to an Associated Press article.
Red Bank, Tennessee, police chief Tim Christol tells the Associated Press that the usual negotiation skills he teaches don’t translate to texting, such as emotional labeling in the form of a statement such as “You sound angry.” Without verbal cues, Christol says, it becomes much more difficult to understand the emotional state of the person in crisis, and misunderstandings are common. “Words are only 7 percent of communication,” he says.
When a negotiation reaches an impasse, it can be tempting to use threats and punishment to try to coerce the other side into conceding. That may be happening in a dispute between Amazon and Hachette, one of the largest New York publishers, as reported in the New York Times.
In recent years, Amazon has been playing hardball in its contracts with publishers in an effort to raise profits. The online retailing behemoth’s share price has been falling, and analysts are issuing pessimistic earnings forecasts.
Lawrence Susskind and Susan Podziba
A set of three simulations developed for and used in training court probation officers in negotiation techniques.
A few years ago, Stephen B. Goldberg was asked to serve as a facilitator for and adviser to a corporate team from a telecommunications firm that was preparing to negotiate with five other telecom companies on the division of radio spectrum for cellular telephone relay satellites.
Selected by Library Journal as one of the best business books of 2003.
From movie moguls hammering out film deals in Los Angeles to publishers and agents assessing each other’s tastes in New York, the “power lunch” has become a familiar institution. Across the globe, negotiators often do business over shared meals, whether out of convenience or as part of a concerted effort to get to know one another better.
Are we correct in assuming that dining together creates a communal spirit that leads to better deals? Not entirely, according to Stanford Graduate School of Business professor Margaret Neale and doctoral student Peter Belmi. In a recent study, the researchers found that whether we are likely to reap benefits from negotiations conducted in the presence of food depends on the type of bargaining situation we are facing—as well as the way the food is served.
Deborah M. Kolb, with the Simmons College Graduate School of Management, and the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School
An exploration of the issue of gender in negotiations, featuring interviews with three professional women negotiators
When it comes to planning and carrying out talks, negotiators are too often left to their own devices.
Here’s how to guide your employees toward better results.
How satisfied are you with the outcomes that negotiators in your organization achieve?
Most likely, you can think of a few successes worth crowing about, a few you’d like to sweep under the carpet, and many more that turned out just so-so. Maybe your department never manages to sign the most promising job candidates.
A group of legal, business, and dispute resolution professionals negotiate a six-person, facilitated role simulation regarding the reconstruction of the World Trade Center site in New York City, following the 9/11/2001 terrorist attacks
Most negotiation advice centers on the mistakes all of us make. But individual differences in personality, intelligence, and outlook could also affect your talks.
Lawrence Susskind and Melissa Manwaring
An unscripted video showing an experienced negotiation professor teaching an executive education session through the running and debriefing of the Teflex Products role simulation, interspersed with instructor commentary
Negotiators tend to concentrate too closely on the here and now. By incorporating future concerns into your talks, you’ll make sounder decisions and guard against crises.
In the midst of the current U.S.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 make: ignoring how our short-term decisions will affect us and others in the future.In their book Predictable Surprises:The Disasters You Should HaveSeen Coming and How to PreventThem (Harvard Business SchoolPress, 2004), Max H. Bazerman and Michael D. Watkins describe the financial scandals of 2001 and 2002that led to the fall of Enron, Arthur Andersen, Tyco, and other companies.They label such crises “predictable surprises”—disasters that shock those involved even though they had the information needed to anticipate them.
Professor Michael Wheeler
An unscripted video showing an experienced negotiation professor teaching a complete class session through role simulation debrief, video, and discussion, interspersed with instructor commentary
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 talks set to span nine months. Each side set a condition to sitting down and staying at the table: Israel pledged to release 104 Palestinian prisoners in four groups over the course of the nine months, and the Palestinians vowed not to join any international bodies during this time.
But the talks eventually became bogged down over borders, security, the future of Jerusalem, the fate of Palestinian refugees, and other issues, the Times reports.
The Program on Negotiation
An unscripted video showing two different pairs of real estate professionals negotiating the terms of a commercial lease
After the conclusion of a reconciliation agreement between Fatah and Hamas that Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu labeled collusion with a terrorist organization, the Middle East peace process has arrived at another, hopefully temporary, standstill.
Jeswald W. Salacuse
A comprehensive video-based seminar featuring Professor Jeswald Salacuse, a leading authority on global deal making
In negotiation, deception can run rampant: parties “stretch” the numbers, conceal key information, and make promises they know they can’t keep.
Unfortunately, most of us are very poor lie detectors. Even professions that encounter liars regularly, such as police officers and judges, do not perform better than chance at detecting deception, Professor Paul Ekman of the University of California at San Francisco has found. That’s in part because some common signs of deception, such as increased blinking and grammatical errors, tend to be quite subtle. In addition, there is often no way to determine with certainty whether a counterpart’s particular claim is true or not.
Two-team, scoreable, multiple round, “prisoner’s dilemma”-style negotiation between representatives of two countries over the monthly price for barrels of oil.
On April 15, Detroit city employees and retirees breathed a huge sigh of relief after the city’s emergency manager and its pension fund managers reached a deal that would significantly reduce proposed cuts to pension benefits, CNNMoney reports. Some civilian workers will face a 4.5% reduction in pensions and lose cost-of-living adjustments. Retired public-safety workers were spared from cuts and promised almost half of their expected annual pension increases.
Two-team, scoreable, multiple round, “prisoner’s dilemma”-style negotiation between representatives of two countries over the monthly price for barrels of oil.
To encourage the negotiators they supervise to do their best, managers routinely rely on performance benchmarks, the promise of bonuses, and other types of goals. But before you engage in further goal setting, consider the following real-life disasters: Under the leadership of turnaround expert Q.T. Wiles, quarterly earnings goals became a company wide obsession at disk drive manufacturer MiniScribe in the 1980s.
In just one example of the unethical behavior inspired by the race for higher earnings, employees shipped bricks disguised as hard drives. Rampant fraud was revealed, and MiniScribe went bankrupt. In the early 1990s, Sears, Roebuck and Co. gave its auto repair staff the goal of achieving$147 per hour in sales. To reach this challenging goal, staff overcharged for work and made unnecessary repairs. The scandal broke, and Sears’s reputation suffered for years. In the years leading up to its collapse, energy-trading company Enron promised its salespeople large bonuses for meeting challenging revenue goals.
A 27-page handbook designed to introduce high school students to problem-solving, interest-based negotiation
Sometimes in negotiation we are forced to deal not only with the issues on the table but also with concerns about status.
One famous instance took place in the late 1980s, when Robert Campeau, head of the Campeau Corporation and then one of Fortune magazine’s “50 Most Fascinating Business People,” tried to acquire Federated Department tores, the parent company of the prestigious department store Bloomingdale’s.
A bidding war over Bloomingdale’s escalated between Campeau and R.H. Macy. Campeau won with an irrationally high offer – but had to declare bankruptcy shortly thereafter.
Robert H. Mnookin and Susan Hackley
An illustration of interviewing and listening techniques appropriate for lawyer-client interviews, featuring Harvard Law School Professor Robert Mnookin
Just one week after David Letterman revealed his decision to leave his long-running talk show, the Late Show with David Letterman, CBS announced that comedian Stephen Colbert would be his replacement. The negotiations surrounding the changing-of-the-guard were remarkably business-like and calm for the tumultuous world of late-night television.
Letterman debuted his show Late Night in 1982 and then switched to CBS in 1992 following a contentious battle with Jay Leno for Johnny Carson’s chair at the Tonight Show. Letterman’s voluntary decision to retire comes on the heels of Leno’s forced retirement from NBC, which replaced him with Jimmy Kimmel while his ratings were still healthy.
Morgan Guaranty Trust Company
Realistic video depicting the use of principled negotiation to prepare for and negotiate a bitter business dispute, featuring Getting to YES co-author Roger Fisher
You set up the contract renegotiation with a key client months ago. You had every intention of gathering a range of information to establish realistic goals and assess the client’s needs, but short-term projects got in the way. Suddenly it’s the day before the first meeting. Aside from making a few phone calls and calculations, you’ll have to wing it—but that’s OK. You’ve always worked well under pressure. Right?
We all know we’re supposed to prepare to negotiate, yet we often fail to follow through on these best intentions. That’s a problem because research overwhelmingly shows that underprepared negotiators make unnecessary concessions, overlook sources of value, and walk away from beneficial agreements.
Edited by James K. Sebenius and Ellen Knebel
DVD featuring Ambassador Richard Holbrooke discussing his role brokering the Dayton agreement that ended the 1992-95 war in Bosnia as well as his role in resolving the multinational dispute over U.S. dues owed in arrears to the United Nations
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 at a distance have trouble accurately reading each other’s tone and building rapport.
But what, exactly, do negotiators learn from nonverbal behavior? Dowe read each other’s gestures and expressions accurately or not? Can we increase our negotiation success by deliberately modifying our own nonverbal behavior? Here we analyze three scenarios to help you understand how nonverbal behavior may be affecting your negotiations.
Program on Negotiation
DVD featuring excerpts from a discussion with Stuart Eizenstat regarding his efforts negotiating reparations for victims of Nazi Germany
During a meeting with a potential customer, a new salesperson leaves the room several times to make phone calls. Each time when she returns, she tells the customer she can’t accept the terms they just negotiated. Exasperated by her apparent lack of authority, the customer ends the meeting abruptly.
As this scenario shows, your counterpart’s constituents are bound to play a role in negotiations, whether you realize it or not. When the other side negotiates on behalf of an organization, his superiors and coworkers have a stake in the outcome. In more personal negotiations, his friends or family members may attempt to sway his choices.
James Sebenius and Kristen Schneeman
DVD featuring excerpts from a discussion with Ambassador Lakhdar Brahimi regarding his international negotiation experiences, including negotiating a new government for Afghanistan in 2002
Most negotiators will never engage in the kinds of high-stakes bargaining we read about in publications such as The Wall Street Journal and The Financial Times, but almost every negotiator will encounter the dreaded salary negotiation during the course of her career, a scenario that is, in many ways, the definition of a “difficult conversation.”
We stress preparation for negotiations in our literature and in our Negotiation and Leadership executive education course but both research and experience recognize that even the most prepared and adept negotiator can have her planning and negotiation preparation scuttled by unforeseen circumstances and invisible barriers.
That is why women often encounter difficulty during salary negotiations, according to a recent article by Tara Siegel Bernard for the New York Times. Self-advocating for a pay raise in the workplace often places women in the unenviable role of attempting, “…to juggle when they are on a tight rope.”
On April 9, the Paycheck Fairness Act, legislation intended to close the pay gap between men and women, was defeated in the Senate due to a lack of Republican support. The bill would have made it illegal for employers to penalize employees for discussing their salaries and would have required the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to collect pay information from employers.
Pay inequities and a lack of women in upper management remain enduring problems in the workplace. Absent government initiatives to mandate solutions, how can women themselves better advocate for higher pay, promotions, and plum assignments? Negotiation researchers advise women to avoid a backlash against asking for more by connecting their interests to those of the organization.
Negotiating the right process for your negotiation is well worth the time and effort, for two important reasons.
First, process drives substance.
Imagine what might have happened if the pharmaceutical company and the biotech firm had agreed up front to resolve the royalty issue rather than simply exchanging their best arguments before splitting the difference.
Addresses the key variables involved in negotiating with government, from the influence of bureaucracy to the perception of power on the government side of the negotiating table
Sometimes the courts will be unwilling to get involved in the substantive terms of the deal but will impose procedural constraints on the more powerful party.
Consider the case of a controlling shareholder in a publicly traded company – someone who holds more than 51% – who wants to “cash out” the minority shareholders.
Under the corporate law of every state, the board of directors and majority shareholders must approve the terms of the offer.
An annual compilation of research papers addressing a range of transboundary environmental negotiation issues
Consider the following hypothetical negotiation scenarios, in which you seem to hold all the cards:
- One of your customers has just landed a lucrative new contract, and you’re the only supplier who can add a critical component to that customer’s production process.
- You own a controlling interest in a publicly traded company and are seeking to buy out the minority shareholders and take the company private [LINK to Michael Dell’s Negotiations with Shareholders article].
- You sell umbrellas, and a man in a well-tailored suit rushes into your shop at the start of a downpour.
What’s the problem, you might reasonably ask?
Bringing together auction theory and negotiation theory in a practical and accessible way, Negotiauctions is an authoritative guide to negotiating deals
In a related maneuver aimed at protecting the weaker party to the deal, courts might infer additional terms within the contract or expand common-law notions of fiduciary duty.
Consider the famous case of the Page brothers – let’s call them “Big Page” and “Little Page” for simplicity – who started a linen supply company in Santa Maria, California, in the late 1940s.
Big Page was the brains of the operations; Little Page supplied equal capital but deferred to his older brother’s expertise.
Business was slow for several years, and the partnership lost money.
A recent ruling by a regional branch of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) raises the question of whether college football and basketball players will engage in the kind of collective dealmaking with university administrations that is found in business and government.
In March, the NLRB in Chicago sided in favor of a group called the College Athletes Players Association (CAPA), which had petitioned for Northwestern University’s scholarship football players to be allowed to unionize as employees. The regional NLRB director, Peter Ohr, ruled that Northwestern’s players should be considered employees rather than students because of the amount of time they devoted to team activities and the fact that coaches control their scholarships.
Clear and methodical advice for preparing for and executing any negotiation, drawing on decades of behavioral research and the experience of thousands of business clients – Co-winner of the 2008 CPR Award for Excellence in ADR (Outstanding Book Category)
This three-step approach to managing process issues in negotiations will reap significant rewards at the bargaining table.
Winner of the 2003 CPR Award for Excellence in ADR (Outstanding Book Category)
Join us for a conversation with Ambassador Tommy Koh of Singapore, the recipient of the 2014 Great Negotiator Award. This public program will feature panel discussions with Ambassador Koh and faculty from the Program on Negotiation and the Future of Diplomacy Project. The award recognizes Ambassador Koh for his work as chief negotiator for the United States-Singapore Free Trade Agreement, for chairing the negotiations that produced a charter for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), for key actions that resolved territorial and humanitarian disputes in the Baltics and Asia, and for successfully leading two unprecedented global megaconferences: the Third U.N. Conference on the Law of the Sea and the U.N. Conference on the Environment and Development, also known as the Rio Earth Summit.
When most of us think about preparing for a negotiation, we consider the substance of the issues under discussion.
Depending on your industry, such issues might include price terms, warranties, liquidated damages clauses, benefits, or wage increases.
By contrast, the negotiation-process issues concern how parties go about resolving the various points that have brought them together in the first place.
In February, the news that Facebook would pay an astounding $19 billion to acquire text-messaging start-up WhatsApp caused jaws to drop across the tech world and beyond.
Jan Koum, a Ukrainian immigrant, and his friend Brian Acton launched WhatsApp in 2009 with the goal of creating a text-messaging application that would connect users with family and friends abroad at a low cost. Since its inception, WhatsApp has been ad-free. It now has 450 million global users who pay a 99-cent annual fee for this service.
Imagine that you’re a national account sales manager and are preparing to negotiate your annual raise.
You have met all your sales objectives and feel that you are not only a valuable employee but also the top producer in the department.
You feel quite confident that you will receive the highest possible salary increase. But during an informal discussion with some of your peers, you realize that they, while aware of your achievements, believe that they have contributed more to the team than you think they have.
Most negotiations are “mixed motive” in structure, requiring us both to compete to claim value and to cooperate to create value.
The ability to move back and forth between these two goals is a critical – and difficult – skill to master.
How do emotions affect value creation and claiming?
Researchers Alice Isen and Peter Carnevale found that a positive mood leads to greater value creation.
This comprehensive four-volume collection on multiparty negotiation brings together nearly 100 classic works and cutting-edge papers from law, international politics, organization studies and public administration
The meeting of the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany) and Iran last week to discuss Iran’s nuclear ambitions ended on a positive note but left many analysts skeptical of the possibility for substantive change.
Program on Negotiation faculty member James K. Sebenius, writing for Foreign Policy, analyzes the various positions of the P5+1 and Iran and offers an assessment of the various behind-the-table actors and their interests as well as the interests of external actors and groups not a party to the negotiations, but very much influential in the direction of their course.
Given the pitfalls of having a position of relative power, what is a powerful negotiator to do?
By following these steps, you can keep your edge while encouraging cooperative, rather than competitive, behavior.
An edited version of three lectures on negotiation analysis by Professor Howard Raiffa
Most negotiators understand the importance of preparation and will dedicate significant time and energy to analyzing important negotiations in advance.
Chances are, however, that powerful negotiators will undertake less informative and less accurate analyses than their weaker counterparts will.
For instance, in a hypothetical salary raise negotiation, a negotiator may be so confident of her contributions that she will fail to thoroughly investigate several other important factors; the extent to which her boss met his annual sales goals, the relative performance of her peers, or the company’s overall financial health. Clearly all these variables would be relevant to your salary negotiation.
A straightforward, universally applicable method for negotiating personal and professional disputes without getting taken-and without getting angry.
Emotional flooding – when strong, specific, and often negative feelings overwhelm us – poses obvious hazards to negotiators, who need to be able to think clearly when faced with the complex, strategically demanding task of creating and claiming value.
For this reason, emotional regulation can be an essential component of negotiation.
But different types of regulation create different results.
Renegotiations generally are triggered for one of two reasons: an imperfect contract or changed circumstances.
The goal of any written contract is to express the parties’ full understanding of their deal.
Despite lawyers’ belief in their abilities to capture that agreement in writing, in practice they can only achieve that goal imperfectly, for three reasons.
In a hypothetical raise negotiation [LINK], suppose you find out that your peers have told your boss disparaging and blatantly untrue stories about your interactions with customers.
You feel shocked and upset by their betrayal; you always believed that you had a good relationship with you coworkers. It never crossed your mind that they would attempt to sabotage you, particularly because of your high status in the department.
Whether out of jealousy or a sense of injustice, less powerful parties will do whatever it takes to see their more powerful counterparts fail. Unfortunately, powerful parties often are unaware of their counterparts’ animosity.
Writing for WBUR’s Cognoscenti with Shane Hunt, a student in the Harvard Law Negotiation Mediation Clinical Program, Program on Negotiation faculty member Robert Bordone describes the debate around the petition of LGBTQ groups to be included in Boston’s annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade as a unique chance for dialogue among groups to address their concerns about LGBTQ groups participating in the parade and bring a decades-old conflict to an end.
Winner of the 2001 CPR Award for Excellence in ADR (Oustanding Book Category)
Many observers view Russian president Vladimir Putin’s decision to send Russian troops into Crimea in the wake of violence between protesters and police in Kiev and Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovich’s abrupt departure as the first gambit in a carefully reasoned strategy.
“Putin is playing chess and I think we are playing marbles, and I don’t think it’s even close,” said Representative Mike Rogers, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, in criticism of President Barack Obama and his administration. Arguing that Putin’s advance into Ukraine is part of a plan to strengthen Russia’s “buffer zones,” Rogers accused the Obama administration for making too many concessions to Russia and failing to respond decisively to the crisis.
Winner of the 2002 CPR Award for Excellence in ADR (Outstanding Book Category)
National Geographic Traveller’s Ben Lerwill recently compiled a list of the best new walking trails from around the world, and the Program on Negotiation’s Abraham Path took the number 1 spot on his list of 10.
The Abraham Path is a long-distance walking trail that follows the path of the patriarch Abraham from Sanliurfa in southeastern Turkey through the countries of Syria, Jordan, Palestine and Israel.
Founded by Program on Negotiation co-founder William Ury, the Abraham Path is the result of complex long-term negotiations with various nations and groups along the route in order to establish a safe, continuous path for hikers. The project’s success may have an impact in helping foster regional economic development, engagement, and peace-building efforts. The Program on Negotiation is the intellectual and academic home of the Abraham Path.
Winner of the 2000 CPR Award for Excellence in ADR (Outstanding Book Category)
Aggressive tactics and hard-bargaining strategies may, at face value, provide a roadmap to success at the bargaining table but, as the Washington Post’s Kelly Johnson discovered in her interview with Program on Negotiation faculty member Michael Wheeler, adaptability to ever-changing circumstances is essential for the “dynamic” negotiations one encounters in everyday life.
In negotiation, we are often confronted with the task of dealing with difficult people—those who seem to prefer to set up roadblocks rather than break down walls, or who choose to take hardline stances rather than seeking common ground.
How can you deal with such difficult people?
One tactic you might consider is avoiding the conversation altogether by finding more collaborative negotiating partners, but this is not always an option.
When avoidance is impossible, strengthening your best alternative to a negotiated agreement (BATNA) can help give you the confidence you need to deal with obstinacy among negotiating partners.
Three-volume authoritative reference selection of some of the most significant writings on negotiation, decision making, and conflict management from 1950 – 2002
In Western countries, women negotiators are faced with the challenge of advocating on their own behalf as forcefully as men in the workplace. Fear of a backlash often holds women back from negotiating assertively for higher pay, benefits, and responsibilities.
In many other parts of the world, women face the daunting challenge of winning a place at the negotiating table in the first place. In particular, UN Women, an agency of the United Nations, has noted that women are vastly underrepresented in formal peace negotiations worldwide.
Robert Mnookin offers practical advice for the most challenging conflicts — when you are facing an adversary you don’t trust, who may harm you, or who you may even feel is evil.
Here’s a list of some of the most notable negotiation flops of the past year – from deals that were over before they started, to those that were botched at the table, to those that proved disastrous well after the ink had dried.
“I’ve learned to make chaos my friend in negotiation,” says Thomas Green, managing director of Citigroup Global Markets and former first assistant attorney general for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Green’s provocative remark flies in the face of conventional negotiation wisdom. Shouldn’t we be able to get our ducks in a row before going to the bargaining table?
And when we’re done, aren’t we supposed to dot all the i’s and cross all the t’s? We’re taught that the purpose of strategy is to chart the optimal path for reaching our goals. Embracing chaos seems the opposite of discipline and planning.
Lawrence Susskind, Katherine Harvey, David Kovick, F. Peter Phillips, Marc Wolinsky, Cathy Cronin Harris, and Simeon Baum
Six-person facilitated negotiation among representatives of the city, state, developer, insurer, and victims’ families regarding the redevelopment of the World Trade Center site following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks
Here’s an overview of some of the most interesting and challenging international negotiations of 2013.
Two-team iterated scoreable prisoner’s dilemma exercise set in a labor/management context
On November 24, the United States and five other world powers announced an interim agreement to temporarily freeze Iran’s nuclear program. The six-month accord is designed to give international negotiators time to negotiate a more comprehensive pact that would remove the threat of Iran producing nuclear weapons.
Five- or six-person, multi-issue, facilitated negotiation among federal agency, state government, environmental, and industry representatives over the regulation of woodstove emissions; optional sixth role for industry association counsel
On September 15, U.S. secretary of state John Kerry and Sergey Lavrov, Russia’s foreign minister, announced a deal aimed at heading off a U.S. attack on Syria, threatened by President Obama, in exchange for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s promise to dismantle his country’s chemical weapons.
Jonathan Raab, Sarah McKearnan, Jan Martinez, and Michele Ferenz
Four-party negotiation among a federal building manager, the building contracting officer, a local employment agency, and a nonprofit organization regarding the renewal of a janitorial services contract in the context of past service problems
China’s establishment of an “air defense” zone over a disputed chain of islands in the East China Sea in November is the latest salvo in an escalating international dispute. Japan and China have both laid claim to the islands, known as the Senkaku by Japan and the Diaoyu by China, which are believed to be rich in oil and are also strategically important, according to CNN.
Susan Podziba and Lawrence Susskind
Seven-person, four-issue mediation among three Israeli water authority and regional representatives and three Palestinian water authority and political representatives over plans to drill a new well on the West Bank
On August 7, President Barack Obama canceled a summit with Russian President Valdimir Putin scheduled for September in Moscow, citing a lack of progress on a variety of issues.
The announcement came on the heels of Russian’s decision to grant temporary asylum to former National Security Agency contractor and Edward Snowden, who made confidential data on American surveillance programs public.
Dan Vogel, under the supervision of Robert Bordone
Four-person, three-issue, two-round between U.S. prosecutors, an executive charged with securities fraud, and defense counsel over the terms of a possible plea bargain; attorney-client interviews are followed by a plea bargain negotiation
On June 12, North Korea and South Korea were supposed to have met in Seoul to explore whether they could get beyond their decades-old divisions and forge a rapprochement. It would have been the highest government dialogue between the divided nations in years.
Lawrence Susskind and Bruce Patton
Three-person, integrative, facilitated negotiation with two department heads and a Human Resources observer/facilitator regarding the possible transfer of an employee from one department to the other
A European Union summit held in late October failed to make headway toward more coordination of economic policies. Facing resistance from Germany in particular, European officials are growing pessimistic regarding their odds of negotiating a deal over the next year to lay the foundation for a banking union for the 17 nations that use the euro, the Wall Street Journal reports. The proposed banking union would pool assets to allow the nations to engage in shared spending and borrowing, among other activities.
Short three-party scoreable negotiation among representatives of three organizations over the integrative and distributive aspects of a possible 2- or 3-party coalition
On March 19, with the economy of the tiny Mediterranean country of Cyprus on the verge of collapse, its lawmakers rejected a 10 billion euro international bailout package, leaving the nation’s president, Nicos Anastasiades, scrambling to come up with a Plan B.
Beth Doherty under the supervision of Lawrence Susskind
Two-party, two-issue, integrative, scoreable negotiation over the terms of a telecommunications services contract
On September 3, Microsoft announced a deal to acquire Finnish mobile phone company Nokia’s handset and services business for $7.2 billion, the New York Times reports. The agreement marks a belated but bold move by Microsoft to upgrade its presence in handheld devices.
Tracey Brenner, under the supervision of Lawrence Susskind
Two-team, six-party, four-issue negotiation between representatives of two corporations setting up a simultaneous high-tech joint venture and purchasing agreement
On April 24, an eight-story building in Bangladesh known as Rana Plaza collapsed, killing an estimated 1,129 people, many of them low-wage garment workers who made goods for foreign companies.
In the weeks after the disaster, apparel outsourcers faced mounting public pressure to address hazardous conditions in the factories where their goods are manufactured. Labor unions focused their efforts on persuading Swedish “cheap chic” giant H&M to take the lead on safety improvements. “Get H&M on board, the thinking went, and others would follow,” wrote Liz Alderman in the Times.
Two-party criminal plea bargain negotiation between a prosecutor and a public defender for a man charged with aggravated rape
In China this April, Apple CEO Timothy D. Cook made the unusual move of apologizing to Chinese customers for his company’s warranty policy and promised to make amends, the New York Times reports.
On March 15, International Consumers’ Day in China, the nation’s largest state-run television network criticized Apple for giving iPhone customers in China a short warranty and for charging consumers to replace faulty back covers on iPhones. Apple products are immensely popular in China.
Two-party, multi-issue, scoreable negotiation regarding a prenuptial agreement, calling for a balance of substantive and relationship concerns
The agreement seemed well on its way to being passed. On November 20, U.S. secretary of state John Kerry announced that the United States and Afghanistan had finished negotiating a bilateral security agreement.
The terms included a continued American troop presence through 2024 and a promise of billions in international aid to the Afghan government. The United States negotiated concessions on two hotly contested issues: Afghanistan agreed that U.S. soldiers would be subject only to American military law, not Afghan laws; and U.S. Special Operations forces could continue to conduct antiterrorism raids on private Afghan homes, the New York Times reports. Most U.S. troops would have no combat role, aside from a small counterterrorism force.
Patricia Moore and Lawrence Susskind
Five-party, four-issue negotiation among representatives for a financially struggling hospital’s administrators, doctors, and nurses over budget priorities and expanded application of the managed medical model
2013 witnessed a series of colorful mergers, acquisitions, and other deals. Here are 10 negotiations and negotiation trends from which business dealmakers can learn.
Three-party scoreable negotiation among three non-profit social service providers over whether to apply for funding in a consortium of two or three; variation of Three-Party Coalition Exercise
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.
Two-party international negotiation between Russian and U.S. negotiators over a naval incident; teams internally prepare instructions for a representative not involved in the preparation
A number of noteworthy disputes among businesses, organizations, and individuals made headlines in 2013. We point out the negotiation angles behind stories first reported by the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and other media outlets. Keep an eye out for these common themes: hardball tactics that backfire, costly legal battles that could have been avoided, and disputes over poorly worded contracts.
Tod Loofbourrow, Lawrence Susskind, Denise Madigan and Wendy Rundle
Six-party, multi-issue negotiation among state and local government, enviromental, and industry representatives to select one of three sites for low-level radioactive waste disposal
In July 2013, U.S. Associate Attorney General Tony West met with JPMorgan Chase executives to outline an array of civil and criminal investigations of the bank, related primarily to its sales of troubled mortgage investments during the financial crisis.
Tod Loofbourrow, Lawrence Susskind, Denise Madigan and Wendy Rundle
Seven-party, multi-issue, scoreable negotiation among regulatory, environmental, tribal, local government, and industry representatives to choose criteria for selecting a low-level radioactive waste disposal site
Back in 2007, unhappy with Amazon’s low, flat price of $9.99 for e-books, five major U.S. publishers negotiated a new business model for e-book pricing with Apple, which was getting ready to launch the iPad.
Orion Kriegman and Stacie Nicole Smith, under the direction of Stacie Nicole Smith and David Fairman
Six-person mediated negotiation among representatives of the Pullman Palace Car Company, its workers and others involved in a general strike, to address issues of workers’ rights
On October 31, 2013, Time Warner Cable reported a huge quarterly loss of television subscribers, the largest in its history: 306,000 of its 11.7 million subscribers had dropped the company, the New York Times reports. The bad news has been attributed largely to an impasse with television network CBS over fees, which led to Time Warner blacking CBS out of millions of homes in New York, Los Angeles, and Dallas for a month during the summer of 2013.
Mieke van der Wansem, Tracy Dyke and Lawrence Susskind
Thirteen-person, multi-issue, two-round, partially scoreable negotiation among government, industry, environmental, and farming stakeholders to develop a land-use plan (Part I) and among additional government stakeholders over plan approval (Part II)
In 2009, when Chrysler on the verge of financial collapse, the Treasury Department negotiated a swift solution to save it from extinction. Chrysler would go into bankruptcy, and then its ownership would be divided up, with the majority going to a Chrysler union workers’ health-care trust, 20% to Italian automaker Fiat, 10% to the U.S. Treasury Department, and 2% to the Canadian government. Chrysler also gave a $4.59 billion note to the health-care trust to eliminate the company’s future health benefit obligations to retirees. And Fiat negotiated a plan to eventually acquire all of Chrysler by gradually buying the health-care trust and the U.S. government’s stake in Chrysler.
Bruce Patton, Mark Gordon and Andrew Clarkson
Two-party integrative negotiation between the lawyers for business partners concerning the ownership of a new computer program one of them has developed
In the early hours of January 6, the National Hockey League (NHL) and the NHL Players’ Association (NHLPA) announced they had reached agreement to end a 113-day lockout. The players returned to the ice for a shortened 2012-2013 season on January 19.
Three-party, multi-issue international trade negotiation among three culturally different countries over which of two countries will export rice to the third; inculdes coalition and ongoing relationship issues
When months of negotiations with publishing house Simon & Schuster reached a standoff in January 2013, Barnes & Noble attempted to gain leverage by significantly reducing its orders of Simon & Schuster titles and engaging in other hardball tactics, such as refusing to book the publisher’s authors for in-store readings.
Patrick Field, Ric Richardson, and John Harrison
Eight-person facilitated negotiation among seven landowners to develop voluntary private land-use plan to provide financial security while preserving open space and agricultural land
In August 2012, a California jury ruled that Samsung would have to pay Apple more than $1 billion in damages for patent violations of Apple products, particularly its iPhone. The judge eventually reduced the payout to $600 million. In November 2013, another jury ruled that Samsung would have to pay Apple $290 million of the amount overruled by the judge in the 2012 case.
Susan Podziba and Lawrence Susskind
Eight-party, multi-issue negotiation among prison administrators, government leaders, criminal justice advocates, and prisoners’ rights advocates to develop recommendations for a comprehensive state policy to alleviate prison overcrowding
In 2010, New York State passed a law requiring its school districts to replace their old teacher-evaluation systems with more stringent systems. Local school districts and their unions were charged with specifying certain aspects of their new systems by January 17, 2013.
Six-person negotiation among hospital administration and employee representatives to reach consensus on budget cuts in three departments
A three-year dispute between Starbucks and Kraft Foods over distribution of Starbucks packaged coffee in grocery stores was resolved on November 12 when an arbitrator determined that Starbucks had breached its agreement with Kraft and ordered the coffeemaker to pay the food giant $2.75 billion.
Eric Jay Dolin, Daniel Greenberg and Lawrence Susskind
Highly complex multi-party, multi-issue negotiation among political, industry, environmental, and consumer leaders and lobbyists to develop a detailed proposal to reduce U.S. vulnerability to changes in energy prices and supply
Thicke had previously acknowledged Gaye’s 1977 hit “Got to Give It Up” as an inspiration for “Blurred Lines,” but he and his cowriters insisted they had not committed copyright infringement. They filed the suit in anticipation of a lawsuit from Gaye’s children.
Patricia Moore and Hal Movius with Lawrence Susskind
Six-party, four-issue negotiation among representatives of several international aircraft companies over the terms of a potential long-term partnership
A three-year dispute between Starbucks and Kraft Foods over distribution of Starbucks packaged coffee in grocery stores was resolved on November 12, when an arbitrator determined that Starbucks had breached its agreement with Kraft and ordered the coffeemaker to pay the food giant $2.75 billion, Stephanie Strom reported in The New York Times.
The dispute dates back to an agreement negotiated in 1998 when Kraft began selling Starbucks packaged coffee through grocery stores. In 2010, with sales of its ground whole bean coffee reaching $500 million annually, Starbucks offered Kraft $750 million to end their agreement.
Starbucks wanted greater flexibility to sell the single-serve coffee pods that were taking off in the market at the time. The company’s agreement with Kraft limited Starbucks to selling pods that worked in Kraft’s Tassimo machines. Starbucks was in danger of being left behind in a race for market share against Green Mountain Coffee’s Keurig system and K-Cup single serving packs.
Geoffrey Fink and Maria Baute Stewart
Seven-party, multi-issue negotiation among a theme-park developer, neighboring mayors, a regional organization, and a national government representative over the development of a proposed theme park; involves coalition-building and cultural issues
Sometimes the goal in negotiation is to improve your fortunes. But sometimes, the best you can hope for is to lessen the fallout from past mistakes.
Take the case of JPMorgan Chase, which in September was threatened with a lawsuit from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) for its sales of troubled mortgage investments during the financial crisis. JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon’s hands-on negotiations to settle the potential charges and avoid a lawsuit, as recounted by Ben Protess and Jessica Silver-Greenberg in the New York Times, serve as a reminder of the burdens we must sometimes assume to head off a disaster.
Roger Fisher and Andrew Clarkson
Two-party, multi-issue integrative negotiation between a farmer and a neighbor over the sale or lease of part of the neighbor’s land
Consider the saga of a company that developed a hot new technology just as it was going public.
The device could detect underground leaks in gas storage tanks much more cheaply and accurately than any other products on the market.
The timing seemed perfect: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was persuading Congress to mandate that gas storage tanks be continuously tested for leaks. Not surprisingly, the company’s board of directors pushed the CEO to get the device on the market, and fast.
Abram Chayes and Antonia Handler Chayes
Two-party, four-issue negotiation between representatives of a Central American country and an international petroleum corporation over the terms of an offshore drilling project
A European Union summit held in late October failed to make much headway toward better coordination of economic policies, the Wall Street Journal reports. Facing resistance from Germany in particular, European officials are growing pessimistic regarding their odds of negotiating a deal over the next year to lay the foundation for a banking union for the 17 nations that use the euro. The proposed banking union would pool assets to allow the nations to engage in shared spending and borrowing, among other activities.
The plan for greater financial coordination was conceived at the height of the European financial crisis in 2012. As consensus grew that a shared currency with 17 different economic policies was unsustainable, the European Union began looking for ways to prevent future disasters.
Candace Lun and Jeswald W. Salacuse
Two-party, four-issue negotiation between representatives of two companies with different national and corporate cultures regarding a possible joint venture
No matter how many right moves you make at the table – however skillfully you read body language, frame arguments, make offers and counteroffers – doing so at the wrong table can undercut your results.
Not only should you negotiate right, you should do the right negotiation. Sometimes this means looking with new eyes for a more promising table.
For example, the owners of a niche packaging company that boasted an innovative technology and a novel product were deep in price negotiations to sell the company to one of three potential industry buyers, all larger packaging operations. The owners’ first instinct had been to persuade their bankers of the need for a higher valuation, refine their at-the-table negotiating tactics for dealing with each major player, and try to spark a bidding war.
Dan Delisi, under the supervision of Lawrence Susskind and Paul Levy
Six-person integrative negotiation among representatives of manufacturing company, occupational safety agency, union, local fire department, and local technical expert to settle claims of safety violations that allegedly caused two employee deaths
It’s a familiar practice in negotiation training: Students are divided up and assigned to engage in role-play exercises known as simulations. Each person reads confidential information about her role, the two (or more) players get together and negotiate, and then the class reconvenes to debrief the experiences.
Simulation took root as a common method for teaching negotiation because it allows students to practice their skills in a low-risk setting and requires them to confront common negotiation problems directly, among other benefits.
Mark Gordon, Elizabeth Gray, Tim Rieser, and Lynn Gerber
Two-team, multi-issue collective bargaining negotiation between three police union representatives and three municipal representatives over police salaries, benefits, and working conditions
Some might argue that confrontation is inevitable. But a wide range of collaborative efforts around the country have shown that it can be avoided.
How can negotiators find their way into the trading zone quickly and easily?
One proven method is joint fact finding.
Two-team, ten-person, multi-issue, co-chaired negotiation between representatives of two adjacent countries regarding the transboundary management of a severe water shortage crisis
John Palenberg, Elizabeth Gray, Deborah Winter, and Wayne Davis
Two-party negotiation between representatives of two law firms over the sale of a collection of law books
Joint fact finding is a multistep, collaborative process for bringing together negotiating partners with different interests, values, and perspectives. Here are the five stages through which joint fact finding typically proceeds.
International Programme for the Management of Sustainability, with Lawrence Susskind
Ten-party, multi-issue negotiation among government, development, industry, labor, and preservation interests over port improvements, real-estate development, and environmental protection in a Caribbean island harbor expansion
A Q&A with Michael Wheeler, author of The Art of Negotiation: How to Improvise Agreement in a Chaotic World.
We recently interviewed Michael Wheeler, HBS Professor and PON faculty member, about his critically acclaimed new book, The Art of Negotiation: How to Improvise Agreement in a Chaotic World. In his latest offering, Wheeler introduces his powerful, next-generation approach to negotiation that takes into account the dynamic, and often uncertain, nature of negotiations.
Denise Madigan, Thomas Weeks, and Lawrence Susskind
Six-party, multi-issue, scoreable negotiation among representatives of a port developer, labor union, environmental coalition, other regional ports, governor’s office, and department of coastal resources over a proposal to build a new deep-water port
Stefanos Mouzas is Professor of Marketing and Strategy at Lancaster University Management School in England, where he is also affiliated with the Center of Law and Society. He received his B.Sc. (Economics) from the University of Athens, LL.M. (Contract Law) from University of Bristol, and Ph.D. (Marketing) from Lancaster University. He was Visiting Professor at University of Bocconi (2009), Singapore Management University (2010), University of Duesseldorf (2010-13) and Vienna University of Economics and Business WU (2013).
Michael Maturo, Kate Mahoney, Francisco Ingouville and Anthony Wanis St. John, under the direction of David Fairman
Six-person mediated negotiation among representatives of the Guatemalan government, military, rebel groups, indigenous people, and U.S. government to address post-armed-conflict human rights, land claims, and cultural and political rights issues
When two groups are embroiled in a conflict, it is common for the party with less power to have difficulty convincing the more powerful party to sit down at the negotiating table. Think of a labor union that wants to convince company management to agree to pay increases. In such cases, the more powerful player is likely to resist the notion of shaking up the status quo—and thus avoid negotiating altogether.
This tendency can be a particular problem in international negotiations, particularly those involving a protracted conflict.
In a new study, Nour Kteily of Northwestern University and his colleagues found that low-power groups can influence powerful parties to engage with them through their framing of the proposed negotiating agenda. Specifically, across four experiments, participants in the high-power position were more willing to negotiate when a low-power group proposed negotiating less important issues before more significant areas of disagreement, rather than vice versa. This preference is the opposite of what low-power parties prefer, the researchers learned.
Cheri Peele and Lawrence Susskind
Six-party, four-issue negotiation among a company’s management and union representatives, environmental groups, and state and federal environmental agencies over fines and adoption of new technology in response to the company’s illegal polluting
Not all matching rights are created equal.
As the prospective right holder, you should know precisely what a proposed matching right will give you. Many deals that seem to guarantee a matching right are, in fact, murky about the exact 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.
Catherine Preston and Lawrence Susskind
Twelve-person, two-round negotiation between six foundation board members and six school board and community leaders over efforts to address racial disparities in academic performance; internal negotiations precede external
When the mergers-and-acquisitions 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 to match or improve upon another bidder’s offer. Guhan Subramanian’s investigation revealed that matching rights were included in approximately 20% of M&A deals before 1999 – and in 80% of deals since then. Today, matching rights are virtually ubiquitous in large M&A deals and are being rapidly incorporated into deals at all levels in many industries.
Jeffrey Litwak and Lawrence Susskind
Six-party negotiation among lending institution representatives, community leaders, a contractors’ association, and the mayor’s office to develop a public relations strategy and solutions to a foreclosure crisis caused by a widespread mortgage scam
The MIT-Harvard Public Disputes Program, one of the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School’s many research programs, acts as a center for research committed to thinking about and resolving disputes in the public sector. Led by its Director and Program on Negotiation executive committee member Lawrence Susskind, the MIT-Harvard Public Disputes Program conducts research dealing with international environmental treaty negotiations, public sector consensus building, and advocating for the importance of the science behind any negotiations about resource management.
Jeremy Bird under the supervision of Melissa Manwaring
Two-party integrative e-mail negotiation between a soccer star and her long-term representative over the terms of a potential new agency contract
When two people share the same motive, they fall prey to the same flaws and reinforce each other’s failings. Consider a labor negotiation in which the chief management negotiator withholds information about revenue projections, while the labor leader holds back details about workforce sentiment. Impasse is the predictable result. When you’re negotiating with a fellow individualist or a fellow cooperator, your goal should be to overcome the inherent flaws of your orientation.
Consensus Building Institute, Montana Consensus Council, and Bureau of Land Management
Facilitated multi-party negotiation over the appropriate decision-making process for a federal land management dispute
In an article, “Beyond Blame: Choosing a Mediator,” Stephen B. Goldberg advised negotiators involved in a dispute to seek out an interests-based mediator to assist both sides in reaching a resolution.
Bruce Patton (adapted by Sheila Heen)
Four-party, two-stage negotiation between an auto mechanic and a client and their respective attorneys over a disputed repair bill; first stage involves lawyer-client interviews and second stage involves negotiation
Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School Chair and Samuel Williston Professor of Law Robert Mnookin wrote for CNN’s Opinion about the government shutdown negotiations between congressional Republicans and United States President Barack Obama. To read “How Obama and Boehner Can Get to ‘Yes’ ,” please click here.
Tracy Dyke, under the direction of Lawrence Susskind and Susan Podziba
Seven-person, non-scoreable, facilitated negotiation among planners, regulators and activists regarding the cleanup and redevelopment of environmentally contaminated property
At last, the deal is done. After 18 months of negotiation, eight trips across the country, and countless meetings, you’ve finally signed a contract creating a joint venture with a Silicon Valley firm to manufacture imaging devices using your technology and their engineering.
The contract is clear and precise. It covers all the contingencies and has strong enforcement mechanisms. You’ve given your company a solid foundation for a profitable new business. As you file the contract, a question dawns on you: Now what?
Two-party negotiation between a shopping center developer and a prospective anchor tenant over the terms of the proposed lease’s “use, assignment, and subletting” clause
The Washington Post’s “On Leadership” column by Jenna McGregor asked renowned negotiation experts on how the government shutdown in Washington, DC could be ended at the bargaining table.
Among the experts interviewed were Robert Mnookin, Chair of the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School (PON) and author of Bargaining With The Devil: When To Negotiate, When To Fight, Robert Bordone, PON Executive Committee member and co-author with mediation pioneer Frank E.A. Sander of “Designing Systems and Processes for Managing Disputes,” and William Ury, co-founder of PON and co-author of “Getting to Yes,” a foundational work in the field of negotiation written in collaboration with PON co-founders Bruce Patton and Roger Fisher.
Five-person, multi-issue facilitated negotiation among industry, environmental, labor, and government representatives to develop single-text regulation of toxic industrial by-product
Scott Horsley, writer for National Public Radio’s “It’s All Politics,” recently interviewed Program on Negotiation faculty to discuss the negotiation strategies, and their pitfalls, currently being used by congressional Republicans and US President Barack Obama in the government shutdown negotiations.
Author of Bargaining With The Devil: When To Negotiate, When To Fight, Robert Mnookin advocates for Barack Obama to take a strong position at the bargaining table, but notes the risks: “Perhaps if he simply hangs tough, a week and a half from now, the Republicans will cave and he won’t have to do anything. But if it doesn’t happen, the consequences for all of us, for the American economy, are very, very serious.”
Two-party, three-issue, scoreable negotiation between a developer and a city planner over the design, process, and affordability of a proposed housing development
Program on Negotiation Chair Robert Mnookin sat down with National Public Radio’s Here & Now to discuss the government shutdown and the negotiating impasse between congressional Republicans and US President Barack Obama. Currently the clip is available on Here & Now’s website – click here to listen.
Lawrence Susskind, Thomas Dinell, and Vicki Shook
Six-party, multi-issue, facilitated negotiation of a dispute over environmental issues, native rights, and commercial development interests in Hawaii
Negotiators succumb to these forces for two main reasons:
They don’t realize that their behavior is unethical, and even when they do, they justify their behavior as ethical in this particular case.
David Lax, James Sebenius, Lawrence Susskind, and Thomas Weeks
Two-party, multi-issue, scoreable negotiation between a manufacturer and a state environmental agency to reach a settlement over the manufacturer’s pollution of a local river
Despite your best intentions, one or more of these four forces might lead you to behave unethically during a negotiation. Here are four ways in which you may be tempted to behave unethically while at the bargaining table.
Nine-party, multi-issue contract negotiation among three coalitions involved in the building trades; includes internal coalition meetings before the external negotiations
As the U.S. government approaches a potentially catastrophic default on its debt in October, President Obama remains determined to avoid negotiations with Republican leaders on the issue, the New York Times reports, a situation that leaves House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner with an uncertain BATNA, or best alternative to a negotiated agreement.
Six-person, multi-issue mediation between two construction company representatives and two neighborhood residents over a construction project’s safety and noise issues; mediated by two representatives of the bank financing the construction
They say it pays to keep your friends close and your enemies closer, but in negotiation, keeping your enemies—or competitors—close could end you up in court, as Apple’s recent encounter with the U.S. Department of Justice suggests.
The story begins back in 2007 when, unhappy with Amazon’s low, flat price of $9.99 for e-books, five major U.S. pub¬lishers negotiated a new business model for e-book pricing with Apple, which was getting ready to launch the iPad.
Under the prevailing wholesaling model, publishers sold their books and e-books to retailers like Amazon, which could then set whatever price they liked. Apple and the five publishers agreed to switch to a so-called agency model, which would allow the publishers to set their own prices for e-books in exchange for giv¬ing Apple a 30% sales commission. At least one of the publishers then upped the ante by threatening to delay the release of its digital editions to Amazon unless it switched to an agency model. Amazon reluctantly agreed, and e-book prices rose across the industry to about $14.99.
The publishers and Apple claimed that their goal was to increase competition in the e-book market by opening up alternatives to Amazon’s Kindle reader. But the U.S. Department of Justice didn’t see it that way and accused the parties of colluding to artificially raise e-book prices. The five publishers reached a settle¬ment with the government; Apple did not.
Lawrence Susskind and Charles Hecksher
Two-team, multi-issue collective bargaining contract negotiation between three union representatives and three management representatives for a major airline; includes an internal team meeting before external negotiations
Ever win something you wanted, then realize too late you got a raw deal? Here’s how to recognize when backing away is your best bet in a negotiation.
Imagine that while exploring an outdoor bazaar in a foreign country, you see a beautiful rug that would look perfect in your home. While you’ve purchased a rug or two in your life, you’re far from an expert. Thinking on your feet, you guess the rug is worth about $5,000. You decide to make a bid, but a low one. You engage the merchant in some pleasantries and then make an offer of $1,000. She quickly accepts, and the transaction is complete.
How do you feel as you walk away? Pleased with your purchase – which was, after all, far cheaper than you expected – or uneasy about it?
Lawrence Susskind, Charles Hecksher, and Elaine Landry
Two-team, multi-issue collective bargaining contract negotiation between three union representatives and three management representatives for a telephone company; includes an internal team meeting before external negotiations
The Program on Negotiation, an inter-university consortium of Harvard, MIT, and Tufts, and Harvard’s Future of Diplomacy Project have named Ambassador Tommy Koh of Singapore the recipient of the 2014 Great Negotiator Award. In public events at Harvard planned for the afternoon of Thursday, April 10, 2014 (details to be announced), participants will honor Koh’s distinguished career contributions to the fields of negotiation and dispute resolution, especially his leading roles in challenging settings, from the Law of the Sea and the “Rio” Earth Summit to the ASEAN Charter and the Singapore-U.S. Free Trade Agreement.
Wendy Pabich and Lawrence Susskind
Six-person, five-issue negotiation between three industrial factory representatives and three environmental agency representatives over environmental and economic concerns in the wake of damaging negative publicity for both parties
A five-year old American manufacturer of medical equipment has just secured a patent on its primary product, a new kind of heart monitor. The potential market is even stronger than the company imagined, yet its second round of venture capital funding is coming to an end. A few other manufacturers are about to go public with similar, though less well-tested, products. To shore up funding of the big launch, the CEO decides to explore joint-venture possibilities with several overseas partners.
There is a problem, though. She has never been involved in joint-venture negotiations before; what’s more, she has never done business with an overseas investor. Meanwhile, one of the European companies she approached knew all about her company’s internal strengths and weaknesses. The CEO feels she is in the best position to represent her small company’s interests in the upcoming negotiations, and yet she is extremely nervous. The company’s future is on the line. Does she have enough knowledge and experience to succeed?
Multi-party, multi-issue facilitated negotiation for five or six players representing civic and business leaders and owner of a senior center regarding the expansion of other groups’ use of the center
On August 7, President Barack Obama canceled a summit with Russian President Valdimir Putin scheduled for September in Moscow, citing a lack of progress on a variety of issues. The announcement came on the heels of Russian’s decision to grant temporary asylum to former National Security Agency contractor and Edward Snowden, who made confidential data on American surveillance programs public. Obama still plans to attend the annual conference of the Group of 20 nations in Russia in early September.
“We weren’t going to have a summit for the sake of appearances,” U.S. Deputy National Security Advisor Benjamin Rhodes told the New York Times. Moscow and Washington have failed to make headway on a variety of issues, including arms control, missile defense, trade, human rights, and Syria.
Holly Goo and Lawrence Susskind
Seven-person, three-issue mediation among a landowner and representatives of an engineering firm, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, town council, and environmental interests over cost and timing of removal of an unauthorized extension of property into a river
Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School faculty member Erica Ariel Fox recently published an article for Forbes.com discussing the inner negotiations that she advises leaders to focus on when formulating theirnegotiation strategy and how this relates to US President Barack Obama’s deliberations with regard to the crisis in Syria.
Holly Goo and Lawrence Susskind
Six-party, three-issue negotiation among a landowner and representatives of an engineering firm, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, town council, and environmental interests over cost and timing of removal of an unauthorized extension of property into a river
Don’t settle for uninspired compromises.
Find ways to modify and expand resources to achieve more value.
Typically, when parties are negotiating over a resource they both desire – whether fees, budgets, salaries, schedules, or staff – the process results in an uninspired compromise somewhere between their positions. Is it possible to avoid a compromise when negotiating tough distributive issues.
Ron Karp, David Gold and Mox Tan
Two-party, multi-issue real estate negotiation between representatives for a buyer and seller, where BATNAs are important
In negotiation, a combination of several negotiation skills and tactics may be needed to break past a difficult impasse. A recent protracted negotiation between North Korea and South Korea provides a case study.
In April, North Korea abruptly removed its workforce from the Kaesong Industrial Complex, a joint venture it launched within its borders nine years ago with South Korea. The complex shut down, and the two nations engaged in seven rounds of negotiations over the course of 133 days to try to reach agreement to reopen it.
Two-team, multi-issue employment contract negotiation between three teachers’ union representatives and three school committee representatives; includes internal team meetings before external negotiations
When you communicate in person, social norms – including body language, manners, and physical appearance – guide your behavior and ease the process. A common environment can facilitate understanding as well. Over the telephone, the speaker’s intensity, speed, and inflection provide useful social information.
As a consequence, face-to-face and telephone interactions generate greater social awareness and greater stability and cooperation than do online interactions.
Melissa Manwaring, under the direction of David Fairman and Stacie Nicole Smith
Six-party, multi-issue negotiation among governmental, organizational, and family stakeholders regarding the implementation of court-ordered racial integration measures in Boston public schools and possible improvements in education and community relations
With home sales heating up in some parts of the United States, homebuyers are facing competition they haven’t seen since before the real-estate bubble burst, and it’s showing up in the form of packed open houses, multiple bids above the asking price, and all-cash offers.
To take an extreme case, in New York City, low condominium inventory combined with low mortgage rates have driven prices up 12% over the past year, from $829,000 to $930,000, writes Michelle Higgins in the New York Times. Real-estate agents are capitalizing on the frenzy with tactics like one-day-only showings and tight deadlines for bidders to submit their best-and-final offers.
In such an environment, negotiation might seem futile. After all, if a seller has 20 offers, how could you possibly stand out – other than, perhaps, by overbidding? In fact, there are other ways to separate yourself from the pack, while also ensuring that you make smart financial decisions for yourself.
Paddy Moore, Hal Movius, and Lawrence Susskind
Five-party, four-issue internal negotiation among employees of a major engine manufacturer to agree on procurement guidelines in preparation for external negotiations with suppliers
Executives rarely view themselves as diplomats. Rightly or wrongly, diplomacy evokes images of frivolity – days spent wandering exotic capitals, nights spent cruising embassy cocktail parties. Sure, both diplomats and executives negotiate, but an ambassador doesn’t have to worry about protecting the company’s bottom line or losing a deal to a competitor.
Yet it would be a mistake for those in the corporate world to dismiss the diplomatic realm so quickly. After all, diplomacy is the art of creating and managing relationships among nations. As such, it offers valuable tools for all business negotiators, who themselves are in the business of creating and managing relationships among companies – whether they view this as their overall goal or not.
James Emerson with Ben Longoria, under the supervision of Professors Robert Mnookin and Lawrence Susskind
This exercise is a six-party simulation of multiparty negotiations in a bankruptcy (reorganization) and mass torts context. The simulation represents a …
Some negotiations end with a plan of action rather than a signed contract – for example, a plumber agrees to fix the tile damage caused by his work. Other negotiations wouldn’t be appropriate to commemorate in writing, such as how you and your spouse decide to discipline your young child. But in virtually all significant business negotiations, parties should put pen to paper after negotiating the terms of their deal. In fact, contract law requires certain types of deals to be in writing for them to be enforceable.
Imam Soliman under the direction of David Fairman
The Athens-Melos Role Play is a simulation from the Workable Peace Curriculum Series unit on Ancient Greece and the Peloponnesian War.
Negotiators engaged in conflict management are commonly advised to focus on the big picture, but sometimes it’s the smaller signs that can derail an agreement.
That was literally the case in July when the U.S. government’s plans to engage in peace talks with the Taliban were scuttled over a simple sign and other symbols, as Dion Nissenbaum writes in the Wall Street Journal.
In June, the Taliban opened an office in Doha, Qatar, the results of years of negotiations. The ceremonial opening was supposed to have launched direct talks with the Taliban aimed at ending the war in Afghanistan.
But to the surprise of both U.S. and Afghan officials, the Taliban wasted no time in putting up signs, flags, and banners that identified the office as the “Political Office of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan” – the name that the Taliban used when it ruled Afghanistan. The signage was viewed as an attempt by the Taliban to represent itself as Afghanistan’s government in-exile.
P. Terrance Hopmann
Multi-issue arms control negotiation among representatives of eight fictional countries
Program on Negotiation and Harvard Law School faculty member Gabriella Blum’s essay “Invisible Threats,” co-authored with Benjamin Wittes of the Brookings Institution, was featured on the Harvard Law School website.
In a panel discussion about her research, Professor Blum explained her perspective on the growing threat of technology to peace and how the accessibility of this technology is changing the ways in which nations and people wage warfare.
The Consensus Building Institute
Six-party nonscorable negotiation among nonprofit, business, and community representatives regarding the most appropriate methods for fund raising and distributions
In the past we have encouraged you to ‘debias’ your own behavior by identifying the assumptions that may be clouding your judgment. We have introduced you to a number of judgment biases – common, systematic errors in thinking that are likely to affect your decisions and harm your outcomes in negotiation. Learn how to identify your biases and learn how to correct them.
Six-party, multi-issue contract negotiation between management and union members of a publishing firm
When you expect an opponent to be competitive, your confidence in the outcomes you can achieve is likely to plummet. In research with Adam Galinsky of Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management, negotiators were provided with some background about their opponent including background information on how competitive their opponent has been in previous negotiations. This information was bogus; it didn’t necessarily describe the opponent accurately but the information still impacted negotiators performance.
Mark Drooks and Mark Gordon
Two-team, scoreable, multiple round, “prisoner’s dilemma”-style negotiation between representatives of two companies over the monthly price for fictional products called “pepulators”
Although forecasting errors are extremely common, you can minimize their impact on your negotiations by following these three guidelines.
Three-party scoreable negotiation among three firms regarding the joint construction of an off-street parking facility; variation of “Three-Party Coalition”
Test your knowledge. Sharpen your skills. Become a better negotiator.
Join fellow professionals, executives, graduate students, and community members for the Negotiation and Dispute Resolution Seminar to learn how to skillfully negotiate to create value and resolve disputes.
Two-party, single-issue distributive negotiation between two neighbors regarding the potential sale of a vacant lot; refinement of Appleton-Baker
Relationships are as important to leadership as they are to negotiation.
A relationship is a perceived connection that can be psychological, economic, political, or personal; whatever its basis, wise leaders, like skilled negotiators, work to foster a strong connection because effective leadership depends on it. How you negotiate your relationships with your counterpart not only determines your success at the bargaining table but also your effectiveness as a leader.
Armand Ciccarelli and Lawrence Susskind
Seven-person, multi-issue mediation among business, planning, environmental, and agricultural interests regarding growth management and comprehensive planning
Peace talks in the Middle East between Israel and Palestine have stalled for years and, with no ‘new beginnings’ on the horizon, many have come to expect stagnation and lack of progress in talks between the neighbors. That was until this week when Secretary of State John Kerry was successful in getting Palestinian and Israeli negotiators to sit down at the dinner table for a meal for the first time in years.
Ron Karp and Bruce Patton
Two-party conversation between an employee and his supervisor regarding the employee’s recent poor job performance and potential termination
Executives are increasingly faced with the task of negotiating in a realm that many know little about: technology.
Whether you’re bargaining over the purchase of a companywide network, coping with the possible infringement of patented technology, or seeking better customer service from a software supplier, technology negotiations have become a fact of managerial life.
How do such negotiations differ from those that are less technologically complex?
Jeffrey Litwak and Lawrence Susskind
Six-person, multi-issue facilitated negotiation among industry, environmental, consumer/community, labor, and government representatives to develop single-text regulation of toxic industrial by-product
Social psychologists have described types of power that exist in society, and these types of power emerge in negotiation as well.
Two types of power spring from objective features of the bargaining process.
Multi-party, multi-issue negotiation between 3-4 construction company representatives and 5-6 neighborhood representatives over safety and nuisance complaints regarding a local construction project; internal team meetings precede external negotiations
Founded in 1983, the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School is a pioneer in the fields of negotiation, mediation, and alternative dispute resolution.
In commemoration of the program’s 30th anniversary this year, the Program on Negotiation is proud to present a video describing many of PON’s various educational and research activities.
According to Chair Robert Mnookin, at its core the Program on Negotiation is devoted to improving the theory and practice of negotiation and dispute resolution.
Paddy Moore, Hal Movius and Lawrence Susskind
Six-person, four-issue negotiation between three representatives of an industrial manufacturer and three representatives of its primary client over restructuring of an existing purchase agreement
Business professionals seeking to improve their negotiation training can learn a great deal from the mistakes made in newsworthy negotiations.
To take one recent example, Steven M. Davidoff of the New York Times’ “DealBook” recently analyzed how the U.S. governments rushed negotiations to save U.S. automaker Chrysler led to a costly long-term problem.
Michael D. Landry
Two-team, multi-issue negotiation between representatives of two fictional countries regarding a disputed border and a military stand-off
In the The Third Side, William Ury suggests several concrete steps that you can take to start mobilizing the third-side approach to tackle naggling conflicts.
Lawrence Susskind, Sarah McKearnan, Mike Gordon, Adil Najam, Joshua Secunda, Granville Sewell, Parag Shah and Andrea Strimling
Thirteen-person, multi-issue facilitated negotiation among eight country representatives, four NGO representatives, and a working group chairperson must draft a treaty aimed at reducing harmful organochlorines; also known as “Chlorine Game”
Even with these precautions in place, there will be times when one side demands renegotiation of a deal. Here are some guidelines on how to proceed.
Elizabeth Gray, Mark Gordon and Bruce Patton
Two-party distributive and potentially integrative negotiation between principals over the sale of a house
When it comes to negotiation, the more choices on the table, the better your outcomes will be – right? Not necessarily. An excess of options can stand in the way off efficient agreements and, moreover, prevent you from being satisfied with the final result.
The Negotiation Journal is a multidisciplinary international journal devoted to the publication of works that advance the theory, analysis, practice, and instruction of negotiation and dispute resolution.
It stands to reason that devoting less time to relatively unimportant choices should free you up for more meaningful pursuits and increase your overall satisfaction. But how does the concept of satisficing apply to your most important decisions and negotiations?
Subscribe to Negotiation, the monthly newsletter of negotiation strategy that helps you build agreements and partnerships.
The clearest method for achieving exclusivity is an exclusive negotiating period, during which both sides agree not to talk to third parties, even if approached unexpectedly by others. In some arenas, these terms are called no-talk periods.
Students learn conflict resolution skills through the use of historical documents and a role play simulation, set in the context of the historical conflict among the Greek city-states before, during and after the Peloponnesian War.
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 a start-up and failing to nurture it, as was the case after Yahoo bought Flickr and GeoCities.
The likelihood that a provision for final-offer arbitration in the event of impasse will actually result in arbitration is slim. However, as a precaution, you and your counterpart should agree on an arbitrator before you start negotiating. It’s easier to choose an arbitrator when both sides view arbitration as an unlikely event when arbitration is imminent and feelings are running high. You need not engage the arbitrator at this time since you probably won’t need her services.
Like other cognitive biases, competitive expectations can be insidious. Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to forestall their negative consequences.
Traditionally, the arbitrator is not limited to selecting one of the parties’ contract proposals but may determine the contract terms on his own. If negotiators know that impasse will lead to traditional arbitration, they typically assume that the arbitrator will reach a decision that’s an approximate midpoint between their final offers.
Preparation. Practice. Persistence. Those qualities make for a good firefighter, and as Nantucket Firefighter Nate Barber learned from working with Harvard Negotiation and Mediation Clinical Program (HNMCP) students, they also make for a good negotiator.
As a member of Nantucket’s Local 2509 of the International Association of Firefighters and a former undergraduate negotiation student at Boston University, Mr. Barber knew relations between the Town of Nantucket’s management and his union could be better. Since the firefighters’ contracts only lasted two or three years and the negotiation process itself often took that long, the union and the management sat down for contract negotiations every year. And every year, the negotiations spilled over into the next year or, if it was the final year of the contract, went to arbitration. This impacted everyone: arbitration provoked more fighting, poorer relations, and less of what everyone wanted. They hadn’t had a mutual agreement for six years. As one of the interested parties, though, Mr. Barber knew he was not the person to fix a broken bargaining system.
With its booming economy and growing international consumer influence, negotiation skills appropriate for China is in high-demand. Here are a few tips to help you successfully navigate your next round of negotiations in China.
If Chinese culture favors insiders, it stands to reason that outsiders face an uphill battle.
In One Billion Customers: Lessons from the Front Lines of Doing Business in China (Free Press, 2005), business executive and Wall Street Journal bureau chief James McGregor writes of the 1996 attempt by Xinhua, the official Chinese news agency, to declare that only it had the right to publish financial data in China, thereby locking out Dow Jones and Reuters. It was a bold move based on brute power. Xinhua backed down only after Dow Jones and Reuters appealed to the U.S. government, which threatened to abandon a trade agreement with China.
Congratulations to the graduates of Harvard Law School’s Class of 2013 and appreciation to Harvard University President Drew Gilpin Faust at today’s graduation events for recognizing the Program on Negotiation’s Confronting Evil Conference, cosponsored by the Mahindra Humanities Center at Harvard and the Volkswagen Foundation, as one of the many ways HLS seeks to solve the world’s problems.
It can be difficult to keep future concerns at the forefront of your company’s most important decisions. Fortunatly, research on intergenerational conflict has uncovered best practices for ensuring that you and your employees take the long view.
Whether you have one of its ubiquitous products or even its rivals’ offerings, you most certainly have heard of Apple, the United States electronics giant whose phoenix-like rise to the top of the business world has inspired legions of fans and detractors alike.
Started in a garage in California, Apple has grown into a technological powerhouse of innovation that has changed the way the world works and lives. Along the way, the company has demonstrated unparalleled business acumen and leadership, both commercially and through leaders like Steve Jobs and current CEO Tim Cook.
Trust may develop naturally over time, but negotiators rarely have the luxury of letting nature take its course. Thus it sometimes seems easiest to play it safe with cautious deals involving few tradeoffs, few concessions, and little information sharing between parties. But avoiding risk can mean missing out on significant opportunities. For this reason, fostering trust on the fly is a critical skill for managers. As Kristen knew, the first step to inspiring trust is to demonstrate trustworthiness. All negotiators can apply the six strategies that follow to influence others’ perceptions of their trustworthiness at the bargaining table.
As the following points will demonstrate, ensuring that your counterpart is satisfied with a particular deal requires you to manage several aspects of the negotiation process, including his outcome expectations, his perceptions of your outcome, the comparisons he makes with others, and his overall negotiation experience itself.
Once you’ve decided to use an agent, it’s important not to rush headlong into the process – picking the first one you speak to, for example, and sending him off to talks the next day.
You need to choose your agent carefully, then establish a clear, detailed understanding of each other’s responsibilities and expectations.
The following are critical steps in picking an agent and negotiating his contract.
Here the Program on Negotiation offers a checklist of negotiation design categories. Whether your overall negotiation design is decide-announce-defend (DAD) or full-consensus (FC), or a hybrid of both, raising these issues is usually preferable to falling into a set of important decisions by default.
In any negotiation, you’re likely to have information about the other party or about the deal (industry facts, economic health, new products, and so on) that the other party might not know you have.
When considering a potential mediator, ask the following questions of those who have worked with him in the past.
Do you ever feel ambushed by strong emotions?
To guard against acting irrationally or in ways that can harm you, authors of Beyond Reason: Using Emotions As You Negotiate Roger Fisher and Daniel Shapiro advise you to take your emotional temperature during a negotiation. Specifically, try to gauge whether your emotions are manageable, starting to heat up, or threatening to boil over.
What to do when you’ve done everything right, but you still don’t have an agreement.
By following these steps in your next negotiation, you’ll improve the chances of meeting everyone’s interests.
A recent article in Tufts Magazine by Program on Negotiation faculty member Jeswald Salacuse discusses an oft neglected aspect of negotiation: putting into action what negotiators agree to at the bargaining table.
Normally negotiators focus on the deal-at-hand as well as those present at the negotiation, neglecting other aspects of the negotiated agreement that would not only impact others outside of the room but also require their cooperation for its success.
Professor Salacuse calls this process of putting a negotiated agreement into action “the toughest challenge” in negotiation.
Dozens of female CEOs and other high-level executives have told us about their experiences negotiating in traditionally masculine contexts where standards and expectations were ambiguous. Their experiences varied according to the gender triggers that were present in the negotiations.
To protect the future interests of their organization, negotiators sometimes must accept fewer benefits or absorb greater burdens in the short run to maximize the value to all relevant parties – including future employees and shareholders – over time.
Suppose that the operations VPs of two subsidiaries of an energy company are preparing to negotiate the location of a new energy source within the company. Beta, the energy source, is limited in supply, but it is inexpensive and efficient to use in the present and grows in potency over time.
In Lessons in Life Diplomacy, the New York Times’ Bruce Feiler asks, how do we break out of negative patterns of conduct and proactively approach problems encountered in our everyday lives? His advice, gleaned from his own experiences as well as from the research of experts in the field of conflict management and dispute resolution, is actually quite simple on its face yet very complex in practice.
When you’re getting ready to meet with more than one party, the usual steps of two-party negotiation apply.
Imagine that your counterpart has placed a draft on the table. Here are three approaches to consider in response.
In the early days of his tenure, a chairman spends too much time reviewing the details of his proposed policy with his staff and not enough time sounding out council members to drum up support for his reforms.
The chairman’s missteps lead us to the first rule of coalition building: think carefully about how and when to meet one-on-one with other parties.
Negotiations become especially complex when agents are involved on two or more sides.
In the course, of their research, Robert Mnookin and Lawrence Susskind discovered that many negotiators often mistakenly assume that an agent representing the other side
The Program on Negotiation has identified three basic sets of circumstances in which you’ll be better off tapping an agent to take your place at the bargaining table (at least for part of the negotiating process).
In past articles, we have highlighted a variety of psychological biases that affect negotiators, many of which spring from a reliance on intuition.
Of course, negotiators are not always affected by bias; we often think systematically and clearly at the bargaining table.
With thorough preparation, the help of a trained mediator, and useful reports from subgroups, participants in a multiparty negotiation should be able to find their way to the trading zone. Once they’ve arrived, the next step is to work together to ensure that everyone’s interests are met.
When multiple parties gather to discuss issues, someone has to oversee the group’s efforts, or the process will descend into chaos or stalemate.
A negotiation manager should prepare the group’s agenda, establish ground rules, assign research tasks, summarize conclusions, and represent the process to the outside world.
When preparing to negotiate, always take time to consider these important questions:
What’s my BATNA – my walkaway option if the deal fails?
What are my most important interests, in ranked order?
What is the other side’s BATNA, and what are his interests?
A draft agreement may allow you to control the early stages of talks, but be aware that it also can obstruct agreement in the long run.
Putting a draft on the table may lock parties into bargaining positions prematurely, interfering with a search for common interests and creative options.
On February 1, the Obama administration proposed a compromise to a federal policy requiring health insurance plans to provide free contraceptives to women.
The proposal would expand the number of groups that need not pay directly for birth control coverage, the New York Times reports. Some religiously affiliated hospitals, universities, and social service agencies would join churches and other religious organizations as exempted groups.
When you’re thinking about resolving a dispute in court, it’s crucial to remember that the decision that will be imposed on you is binding.
If blinders lead a judge to grant a motion that should be denied, deny a motion that should be granted, assign responsibility to the wrong party, or award too much or too little in damages, there can be no going back.
Concerns about status will arise in any negotiation. How can you deal with them, both in yourself and in others? The following six guidelines can help in virtually any context
When a negotiation reaches an impasse (or, preferably, sooner), it’s important to consider that you may be at the wrong table.
What other individuals or groups might be able to break the deadlock? Perhaps you should be talking to them instead.
These suggestions from Dina Pradel, Hannah Riley Bowles, and Kathleen L. McGinn can help prevent gender from becoming a significant fact in negotiations.
On February 16, in the midst of the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) All-Star weekend, members of the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) unanimously voted to oust Billy Hunter as the union’s executive director.
“This is our union and we have taken it back,” National Basketball Players Association president Derek Fisher said, as reported by ESPN.com. Fisher said the union had been “divided, misled, [and] misinformed,” by its leader. Hunter hinted in a statement that he might contest his firing in court.
Here are some concrete guidelines for fostering a strong relationship between negotiating partners drawn from The Global Negotiator: Making, Managing, and Mending Deals Around the World in the 21st Century.
An American company and a Japanese company formed a joint-venture to manufacture gauges and measurement equipment for sale in Asia.
A growing body of research suggests that status concerns vary depending on the gender of interested parties.
First, men tend to care more about status than women do. Using a university sponsored fundraising campaign, researchers Bruno S. Frey and Stephan Meier of the University of Zurich examined how social-comparison information affected contribution rates.
Male students who learned that a high percentage of students had contributed to the campaign were more likely to make a contribution than were female students who received the same information.
In the context of negotiation, professors John Rizzo of Stony Brook University and Richard Zeckhauser of Harvard University asked a group of young physicians about their reference groups and salary aspirations.
When you’re making important decisions during a negotiation and have the luxury of time, what’s the alternative to Blink?
Should you completely ignore your rapid cognitions?
In the article “Strategies for Negotiating More Rationally,” we described University of Toronto professor Keith Stanovich and James Madison University professor Richard F. West’s distinction between System 1 and System 2 thinking.
System 1 roughly corresponds to Gladwell’s notion of rapid cognitions and System 2 refers to more deliberative thought.
The sale of Vivendi Universal Entertainment in the summer of 2003 was one recent high-profile negotiauction.
On February 14, the news broke that Berkshire Hathaway, the conglomerate run by Warren Buffett, is planning to purchase H.J. Heinz—and its iconic Heinz ketchup—for $23 billion. Joining Berkshire Hathaway in the acquisition is 3G Capital Management, a Brazilian-backed investment firm that owns a majority stake in Burger King. The deal marks a harmonious pairing between burgers and ketchup.
The work of University of Iowa neuroscientists Antoine Bechara, Daniel Tranel, and Hanna Damasio demonstrates the effects of emotion on decision making.
The Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School and the Middle East Initiative at the Harvard Kennedy School held a panel discussion following a screening of My Neighborhood, a Just Vision documentary. The podcast is now available.
In 1995, a new government came into power in the Indian state of Maharashtra and canceled a 20-year power purchase agreement with the Dabhol Power Company, a joint-venture formed by Enron, General Electric, and Bechtel. Claiming that the deal was improper and even illegal, the government declared publicly that it would not renegotiate.
There are two main reasons the winner’s curse is a common and dangerous trap in negotiations.
While you might choose many processes for conducting your negotiations, we recommend the following three steps of a mutual-gains approach.
In a recent study of selfishness in negotiation, Fei Song of York University and C. Brian Cadsby and Tristan Morris of the University of Guelph had participants play the “dictator game,” adapted from experimental economics literature. In this game, Party A is given a sum of money to allocate between himself and Party B. Because Party B has no power, Party A’s allocation goes into effect without debate. The dictator game captures the essence of negotiations in contexts with an extreme power differential.
In 1992 as part of efforts to privatize its energy sector, the Indian government chose energy-trading firm Enron, in conjunction with General Electric and the Bechtel Corporation, to build the world’s largest electricity-generating plant in Maharashtra, one of the poorest states in India. Possessing significant financial, intellectual, and reputational capital, Enron had to have been a formidable opponent in those initial negotiations. Enron was then on top of the business world, with sky-high stock prices and a reputation for innovation and growth.
As direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations appear to have ground to an indefinite halt, attention has shifted to other, less conventional methods for achieving mutually desirable outcomes for the two peoples. Tonight’s panelists will discuss the potential of alternatives including Track II diplomacy, isolated areas of coordination, a pro-active role of the third party and even unilateral action.
Based on current research, the following is a summary of the information you need to set up an optimal accountability system for negotiators in your organization.
In the early hours of January 6, the National Hockey League (NHL) and the NHL Players’ Association (NHLPA) concluded a 16-hour mediation session by announcing they had reached agreement to end a 113-day lockout. The deal was finalized a week later, and the players returned to the ice for a shortened 2012-2013 season on January 19.
If you’ve ever been part of an organization team preparing to negotiate an agreement with another organization, you probably have faced this frustrating task: Aligning your individual interests , other team members’ interests, and those of your company as a whole.
This presentation by Karen Lee Bar-Sinai and Prof. Robert Mnookin is the fourth seminar 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.
Although most Americans treat those they know better than they treat strangers, Chinese behavior towards insiders and outsiders tends to be more extreme than in the United States. A guiding principle in Chinese society is guanxi – personal relationships with people from whom one can expect (and who expect in return) special favors and services. Family ties are paramount, but friends, fellow students, and neighbors can also join the inner circle. As a foreigner, you can cultivate guanxi either by hiring people with close ties to your counterpart or by developing your own relationships with key contacts.
In many cultures, alcohol consumption plans a central role in the negotiation process. Members of other cultures, particularly Islamic ones, adhere to strict abstinence; the presence of alcohol may offend these negotiators.
On December 28, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed into law a ban on adoptions of Russian children by American citizens. The ban was part of a broader law tailored to retaliate against the United States for passing a recent law intended to punish Russian human rights violators, the New York Times reports. Yet it may have spawned a need for crisis negotiations between the two countries.
“Separate the people from the problem,” advises the best-selling negotiation text Getting to Yes. That’s certainly good counsel when tempers flare and bargaining descends into ego battles, but it’s a mistake to ignore the psychological crosscurrents in negotiation. Unless they are addressed, a deal may never be reached.
Cognitive biases affect even smart and highly educated negotiators. Unfortunately, awareness of our biases is not enough to prevent their having a negative impact on our next negotiation.
Computer giant Dell’s potential $23 billion leveraged buyout could mark the beginning of a new era of sky-high-priced acquisitions, writes Matt Wirz in the Wall Street Journal.
Stewart recently interviewed negotiation expert and Program on Negotiation co-founder William Ury to discuss the aftermath of avoiding the fiscal cliff and the rounds of tough negotiations between Democrats and Republicans still to come.
You don’t have to be serious to be a serious negotiator. Humor, deftly used, can be a positive factor in promoting agreement.
That’s what Finnish researcher Taina Vuorela confirmed in a comparative study of two real-world transactions. One was an internal meeting of a sales team trying to hammer out a strategy to land a potential customer. The other was the subsequent negotiation between that same team and its outside client.
Not all contracts are created equal. Some maximize joint through creative trades, while others are barely satisfactory. Strategic wariness causes many people to leave untapped value on the bargaining table. Of course, agreements based on incomplete and distorted information aren’t likely to be efficient.
Managers often are surprised to learn that deals don’t need to be written down to be legally binding. As a matter of contract law, all that’s needed is an offer, acceptance, and consideration - legalese for a benefit gained by each side. For many deals, this means that a handshake is sufficient to “bind” the parties.
How would you characterize your negotiating style: Are you collaborative, competitive, or compromising? If you have trouble answering that question, you’re probably not alone. That’s because skilled negotiators typically take on all these styles during a negotiation: they listen closely and collaborate to create value, they compete for the biggest slice of the pie, and they make compromises when necessary.
The Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School and the Middle East Initiative at the Harvard Kennedy School are pleased to present a screening of “My Neighborhood,” a new Just Vision documentary. A panel discussion will be held after the screening with Julia Bacha, director/producer of My Neighbourhood.
On October 30, the Walt Disney Company made a bold leap into the world of fantasy movies with its surprise announcement that it was acquiring Lucasfilm, home of the immensely successful Star Wars brands, from its founder, George Lucas, for $4.05 billion, split evenly between stock and cash. Lucas is the sole shareholder of his company.
Before launching a workaround, run through this list of skills-based strategies adopted from Getting Past No: Negotiating Your Way from Confrontation to Cooperation by William Ury (Bantam, 1993).
Though Congress and the President were able to reach a deal and avoid the dreaded fiscal cliff, both sides engaged in some tough negotiating which has both bewildered and captivated the United States for months. Given all of the posturing and tough talk, some may ask: Is there a method to this madness?
Placing Trust in Others
When it comes to trusting others, negotiators often rely on their gut instincts.
Recent studies indicate, however, that extraneous factors can sway such judgments.
For example, Michael Kosfeld and other University of Zurich researchers introduced a twist in a classic trust game in which subjects must decide on how much money to invest when there’s no guarantee that the party playing the “trustee” will return the investment or share the gains.
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.
Imagine that you’re the CEO of a sports clothing manufacturer based in Chicago. You recently traveled to Amsterdam, the Netherlands, to meet with a distributor who has a rich and diverse network in the European sports market.
During the business trip, you both express enthusiasm about the possibility of a joint venture and agree to give the potential alliance more thought.
Back home, you learn that one of your competitors has discussed similar plans with the same distributor.
Negotiators seek to raise their stature and increase their influence in international negotiations and other realms by serving as mediators and peacekeepers when conflicts emerge. To do so, they need to cultivate a reputation for impartiality or, at the very least, a willingness to listen to both sides.
Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School Chair Robert Mnookin was recently invited to a panel discussion on San Francisco radio station KQED’s ‘Forum’ to discuss the fiscal cliff negotiations.
On November 28, dozens of employees at several fast-food restaurants in New York City walked off their jobs and demanded better pay and unionization. In doing so, they launched what is believed to be the largest coordinated campaign in the United States to unionize fast-food workers from different restaurants, reports Steven Greenhouse in the New York Times.
Negotiating by email poses a set of challenges that one doesn’t often encounter in face-to-face negotiations.
Without the benefit of seeing your counterpart’s body language, what one person might intend to be a straightforward request the other might perceive to be rude.
A legitimate delay responding to an email offer by one party might be construed by the other as a dirty negotiating tactic. If the subject matter being negotiated has an emotional element, the lack of seeing the other party’s facial expression could lead to big misunderstandings.
Here’s a recap of some of the most interesting and challenging negotiations of 2012.
The law of attorney-client privilege protects certain communications on the assumption that clients will reveal critical information to their attorneys only if they know such disclosures will not harm them in court. Despite the inadmissibility of such evidence, judges can have difficulty disregarding privileged information that sheds light on a case.
When a conflict looms, it can be tempting for each side to try to make unilateral decisions on key issues because of the belief that negotiations with the other side will be a dead end. This strategy may pay off in the short term, but it’s important to factor in the long-term costs.
How can we avert a full-throttle drive over the fiscal cliff? Despite some promising signs of movement on both sides of the aisle, the current negotiation approach – positional bargaining – is bound to bring us dangerously close to the edge.
The standoff between recently re-elected Democrat President Barack Obama and congressional Republicans has focused attention on the negotiation styles employed by the two parties as they seek to secure their interests while also working toward the resolution of the current budgetary battle.
Program on Negotiation and Harvard Business School professor Deepak Malhotra recently sat down with CNBC to discuss the fiscal cliff and how Democrats and Republicans can not only complete their current negotiation successfully, but also their future negotiations.
In 1901, J.P. Morgan wanted to buy the Carnegie Steel Company from its founder, Andrew Carnegie.
Carnegie was 65 years old and considering retirement. As Harold C. Livesay recounts in his book Andrew Carnegie and the Rise of Big Business (Little, Brown, 1975), when Carnegie finally decided he was ready to sell, he jotted down his estimate of his company’s worth in pencil: $480 million. Carnegie had the sheet of paper delivered to Morgan, who took one look and said, “I accept this price.”
Over-precision doesn’t necessarily lead us to think we’re better negotiators than we actually are. Rather, it causes us to trust our initial instincts too much.
Sometimes we’re actually overconfident that we’ll perform worse than others. This tendency applies to competitive situations, including negotiation.
Those who underestimate their ability to be competitive usually will choose to stay out of a negotiation.
Here are four pieces of advice that current negotiation research offers to reduce your overconfidence.
Attempts to exercise power can backfire. As a negotiator, you must balance these three risks against the potential benefits of developing and exercising power.
In both improv and negotiation, confidence often comes from having fallback routines. Improv performers buy time by resorting to “physical business” – pouring an imaginary glass of beer, for example. Seasoned negotiators use similar gambits to slow down the clock and get their bearings:
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 and his staff rebuilt the team from the ground up, writes Noah Trister of the Associated Press. The Tigers have reached the World Series for the second time in seven seasons and, at the time of this writing, are favored to beat the Giants.
When tensions rise between parties, the temptation to escalate commitment to a specified position can be overwhelming—and the likelihood that negotiations will resolve the dispute becomes increasingly slim.
In June 1993, a little over a year after the fall of communist rule in Russia, President Boris Yeltsin submitted an application for Russia to join the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), the precursor to the World Trade Organization (WTO). Eighteen years later, in November 2011, Russia finally was voted into the WTO, which administers international trade rules among its members. This past August, the nation officially became a member of the organization.
Due to deeply ingrained gender stereotypes, women may find it easier to negotiate their time instead of their financial compensation.
Consider that men and women are likely to rely on gender-stereotypic arguments to support their demands in negotiation. For women, the gender-stereotypic notion of being caregivers is readily available and likely to be well received. By contrast, men, who generally are expected to be the primary family breadwinner, have less difficulty negotiating financial issues than women do.
This presentation by Karen Lee Bar-Sinai and Prof. Robert Mnookin is the second 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.
In this business world, it’s typically smart practice to keep disputes with key partners private, at least until doing so becomes unfeasible for financial or other reasons. That’s why the book publisher Penguin’s decision to file lawsuits against 12 of its authors for breach of contract is being widely judged as a public relations misstep.
Great Negotiator Award winner and former United States trade representative (1997-2001) to Japan and China, Ambassador Charlene Barshefsky visited Harvard Law School to speak with students in HLS Clinical Professor Robert Bordone’s Advanced Negotiations Workshop course on October 3.
The case of Jordan and Israel shows how even countries at war can negotiate a water agreement if it is framed in non-zero sum terms and trust continues to be built over time. And that is not the only case of a treaty that has succeeded against all odds to bridge conflicting water interests; the Indus Waters Treaty between India and Pakistan and the Ganges Water Treaty between Bangladesh and India are other examples.
Zero-sum thinking emerges when people conceive of water as a fixed resource – one provided by nature in a given quantity that is either static or diminishing. Based on these assumptions, diplomats often focus on what share of the existing water will be given to each entity. Negotiations of this type typically involve decision makers who are political leaders focused on preserving sovereignty and maintaining state security. They are often unprepared to think about improving the overall efficiency of water use, which, in effect, can “create” more water.
Scientific and technical knowledge is important in water negotiations, but not in the ways it has often been used. It is counterproductive to use scientific information to justify arbitrary (political) decisions. For example, scientific information about water has increased dramatically over the last several decades, but our ability to manage water resources has not improved proportionately.
When two parties are attempting to resolve a contentious dispute, the most effective peacemakers may be those at the highest levels. That’s the lesson from recent productive talks between President Obama and Afghan leader Hamid Karzai on the issue of rules for detaining terrorism suspects.
When countries face contending water claims, one of the biggest obstacles to reaching an agreement is uncertainty. Specifically, there are three types of uncertainty: uncertainty of information, uncertainty of action, and uncertainty of perception. In part 2 of this 5 part series, Program on Negotiation faculty member Lawrence Susskind explains the uncertainties facing negotiators trying to make agreements.
Most difficulties in water negotiations are due to rigid assumptions about how water must be allocated. When countries (or states) share boundary waters, the presumption is that there is a fixed amount of water to divide among them, often in the face of ever-increasing demand and uncertain variability. Such assumptions lead to a zero-sum mindset, with absolute winners and losers. However, when parties instead understand that water is a flexible resource and use processes and mechanisms to focus on building and enhancing trust, even countries in conflict can reach agreements that satisfy their citizens’ water needs and their national interests.
What happens in negotiations between two individuals who care little about each other’s outcomes? Suppose an engineer and an industrial designer are arguing over the design of a car bumper. The designer only cares about whether the bumper matches the style of the vehicle; the engineer is concerned only about how the bumper connects to the front. After describing the trouble he’s having with the existing design, the engineer presents a solution that the designer deems “ugly.” The designer threatens to involve her boss if the engineer doesn’t revert back to the prior design.
Before launching a workaround, run through this list of skills-based strategies adopted from Getting Past No: Negotiating Your Way from Confrontation to Cooperation by William Ury (Bantam, 1993). Only attempt a workaround if you’ve tried them all without success:
Experiments conducted by Program on Negotiation faculty member Francesca Gino and her colleague Sreedhan Desai suggest that remembering childhood memories may cause a person to behave in a more ethical manner.
It is the spring of 1997 and I am sitting in Pound 107 while Roger Fisher ’48, Williston Professor of Law, Emeritus, is telling a story about his serving as a weather reconnaissance pilot in World War II. As a teaching assistant for the Negotiation Workshop, I have heard the story at least a dozen times by now and feel my mind wandering. And yet, against my will, as the story reaches its crescendo and the combination punch line/negotiation issue flows from Roger’s lips, I find myself involuntarily leaning forward and, a second later, helplessly bursting into laughter. The note I jot down to myself is: “All of life is about who tells better stories.”
Research suggests that email often poses more problems than solutions when it comes to relationships, information exchange, and outcomes.
Roger Fisher, co-founder of the Program on Negotiation and the Harvard Negotiation Project, died on August 25 at age 90. A true pioneer and leader, he helped launch a new way of thinking about negotiation, and he worked tirelessly to help people deal productively with conflict.
“Through his writing and teaching, Roger Fisher’s seminal contributions literally changed the way millions of people around the world approach negotiation and dispute resolution,” commented Professor Robert H. Mnookin, Chair of the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School. “He taught that conflict is not simply a ‘zero-sum’ game in which a fixed pie is divided through haggling or threats. Instead, he showed how by exploring underlying interests and being imaginative, parties could often expand the pie and create value. Here at the Program on Negotiation and the Harvard Negotiation Project, both of which Roger helped launch, we, his colleagues, are committed to carrying on his work of improving the theory and practice of negotiation and dispute resolution.”
Recently, executives at the Silicon Valley-based internet giant Google noticed a disturbing trend: the company was having difficulty hiring and retaining female employees, from engineers to senior executives, Claire Cain Miller writes in the August 22 issue of the New York Times. Women were dropping out during the job interview process and were not being promoted at the same rate as men. In addition, women have lost ground in top leadership positions since Larry Page took over as the company’s CEO in 2011. The issue at Google reflects a larger trend, as the percentage of women working in professional computing jobs fell from 25% in 2011 to 16% in 2010. In many cases, women have been leaving large computer companies for jobs in the public sector or with start-ups.
Another option for dealing with difficult negotiations is to craft what Harvard Law School professor Robert C. Bordone calls a “workaround” – a strategy for meeting your current goals without the involvement or support of your adversary. You might be able to induce a yes with a tempting concession on a key issue, according to Bordone. Offering a concession can be a risky strategy, as it may only encourage someone to push for more. But if a concession would allow you to move beyond that person once and for all, it may be your best option.
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 a psychological need that isn’t being satisfied.
Some of the trickier aspects of designing the right contract with your agent include properly aligning her incentives and monitoring her work. Supervising your agent can be especially hard when she knows more than you do about the area of work. For example, hiring an agent who’s a lawyer and paying her on an hourly basis may induce her to spend more time than you think you necessary – at your expense. She might become a literary perfectionist, spending hours crafting and polishing an offer letter to the other side when, as far as you’re concerned, the second draft would have done just fine. To prevent her from running up needless hours, you might opt instead for a fixed-fee engagement. Then, however, she may cut corners, doing just enough to reach her fee.
In negotiation, different types of reputations serve different purposes. When you’re haggling over just one issue, such as the price of a used car or a computer installation, one party’s win is typically the other’s party’s loss. In such distributive negotiations, where each party is trying to claim the biggest piece of a fixed pie, having a reputation as a tough bargainer can be an effective means of undermining a competitor’s confidence and power.
Even when not based in reality, the expectation that someone is “tough” or “cooperative” becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy at the bargaining table. When you approach an allegedly tough competitor with suspicion and guardedness, he is likely to absord these expectations and become more competitive.
Negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) between the National Hockey League Player’s Association (NHLPA) and the NHL’s team owners took a tumultuous turn in mid-August, a month before the current agreement’s looming expiration date of September 15.
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 aid the negotiation process in general.
Despite the bloody conflicts in the Middle East, people of goodwill from both Arab and Western nations earnestly seek to collaborate in diplomatic and business transactions.
Following a violation, negotiators become less cooperative, less trusting, more upset, and more likely to retaliate against the perceived perpetrator. An apology can reverse the damage.
Most of us have had the experience of delivering an apology that fell on deaf ears. When apologies fail to achieve their aims, poor delivery is usually to blame. In particular, if the recipient thinks your apology is less than sincere, she is unlikely to forgive you.
Some researchers have found that the most effective type of apology depends on the nature of the mistake made.
In a study by Peter Kim of the University of Southern California, Cecily Cooper of the University of Miami, Kurt Dirks of Washington University, and Donald Ferrin of Singapore Management University, participants assumed the role of a manager responsible for hiring a senior level tax accountant. The participants watched one of four videotaped interviews of a hypothetical job candidate. During each video, the interviewer mentioned that the candidate’s previous employer had accused her of filing a tax return that understated the client’s capital-gains income. In one version of the video, the interviewer suggested that the candidate incorrectly filed the tax return because she is incompetent – she didn’t understand the mistake she made. In another version, he accused her of deliberately underreporting the earnings.
On August 2, Kofi Annan announced he was resigning as the special peace envoy of the United Nations and the Arab League. reports Rick Gladstone in the New York Times. Since February, the former Nobel Peace Prize winner and former U.N. Secretary General has attempted to negotiate a resolution of the Syrian conflict. The peaceful uprising against President Bashar al-Assad that began 17 months ago has since exploded into a civil war.
Advice seeking inherently employs multiple self-presentation tactics (including ingratiation, self-promotion, and supplication), it allows us to improve both our competence and our likability. Think about the last time someone asked you for advice. How did you respond? You probably had at least one of these reactions:
Advice seeking is a versatile negotiation tool, as long as you project the right image and tone. Here are three guidelines:
How can organizations capitalize on negotiation experience? Through reflective practice: the process of considering the results of each negotiation in light of initial expectations and then discussing what ought to be tried next. While each negotiator must take initiative for reflective practice, to truly learn from experience, most need continual coaching from mentors.
To further improve negotiations, a company could publish an internal negotiation newsletter that can be distributed through a secure company intranet. Each month, the person overseeing the newsletter could choose a negotiation involving someone within the company.
Toby knew that Dara was the perfect New York literary agent for him as soon as he heard her friendly, professional voice on the phone. Never mind that 17 other agents had already rejected his book proposal. Dara’s enthusiasm and recent sales convinced him to sign the three-year exclusive contract she mailed to him in Atlanta.
In previous posts, the widespread belief that some people are honest negotiators and others are not has been shown to be inapplicable to real-world negotiations. Rather, because people respond strongly to their environment, ethical standards often vary depending on the context.
You’ve found a beautiful condo that you’d like to call your own. You conduct a thorough assessment of its value and identify several other appealing properties in the same neighborhood and price range. Believing you’ve found the magic bid, you phone your real-estate agent.
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.
On June 5, another casualty in the European debt crisis emerged, as Spain announced that it soon would be unable to borrow in the bond market without assistance from other European Union nations. Emilio Botin, the chairman of Banco Santander, said about 40 billion euros, or $50 billion, in European funds would be needed to repair Spain’s banking sector, according to Bloomberg News.
Reading groups at Harvard Law School, consisting of 2Ls and 3Ls, present faculty and students with opportunities to study with one another in a less formal setting. Additionally, students are encouraged and are able to gain an in-depth knowledge of the particular reading group’s subject matter.
Many negotiation experts recommend that you try to take the other party’s perspective, particularly when attempting to resolve disputes.
Recent research by Nicholas Epley of the University of Chicago and Eugene Caruso and Max Bazerman of Harvard University suggests a dark side to this generally sound negotiation advice. The researchers ran a series of experiments in which they asked participants to determine the fair division of a scarce resource. Half of the subjects (the “self-focused condition”) were asked how much would be fair for them to take. The other subjects (the “other-focused” condition) were asked to think about what would be fair for others to take and then write down how much would be fair for each party (not just themselves) to take.
Death to modifiers! All hail the active verb. Be succinct. These are some of Strunk and White’s commandments for simple and direct writing from The Elements of Style. They may also be effective guidelines for establishing verbal power in negotiation – though not always, it turns out.
An energy boom has hit the rural counties of the upper Ohio River Valley, resulting in a flood of investment in mineral leasing that is revitalizing economies and creating newfound prosperity for many landowners, Keith Schneider reported in the New York Times on June 4.
Imagine that you and a colleague get in an argument about the layout of a final report in front of a coworker you both like. Now suppose the same argument occurs in front of someone your colleague likes but you do not or vice versa – in front of an ally who is your colleague’s foe.
How well will you negotiate in front of your boss? Conventional wisdom suggests that the presence of superiors motivates us to put our best foot forward and seize opportunities to make a good impression. This expectation is probably overly optimistic.
Your boss, turning to you and a coworker near the end of your team’s weekly meeting, says, “So, which one of you wants to present our proposal in San Francisco next week?”
Should you make the first offer? Few questions related to negotiation have yield more academic attention and debate among practitioners.
Past Negotiation articles have highlighted many of the cognitive biases likely to confront negotiators. Work by researchers Russell B. Korobkin of UCLA and Chris P. Guthrie of Vanderbilt University suggests how to turn knowledge of four specific biases into tools of persuasion.
Like in the title character in Woody Allen’s movie Zelig, some people can smoothly adopt the manner and attitudes of those around them. Due to the lengths such chameleons go to alter their behavior, contemporary psychologists have dubbed them “high self-monitors.”
Many people consider negotiations to be stressful and threatening. Others view them as challenges to be overcome. Do these different attitudes influence the outcomes that people reach? New research by professors Kathleen M. O’Connor of Cornell University and Josh A. Arnold of California State University sheds light on this important question.
The power of anchors in negotiation has been demonstrated time and again. Sellers who demand more tend to get more. Indeed, the initial asking price is usually the best predictor of the final agreement.
A trio of researchers may have found an important exception to this rule, however; lower starting numbers set by the seller in an auction can lead to higher ultimate prices. Professors Gillian Ku of the London Business School and Adam D. Galinsky and J. Keith Murnighan of Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management found this result both in laboratory experiments and from data taken from online eBay auctions.
Many organizations subject their executives to rigorous performance reviews, yet few companies include negotiation effectiveness as one of the core competencies they track. Instead, negotiation is usually subsumed under categories such as “emotional intelligence,” or “persuasiveness.” The negotiator-related questions posed in most “36-degree assessments” don’t measure the right skills and abilities, such as preparation. When evaluators do assess negotiations, they typically rely only on post hoc accounts and overlook the details of the bargaining experience.
Most negotiators leave the bargaining table believing they were better at pushing the other side to its limit than was actually the case, according to recent experimental studies by Richard P. Larrick of Duke University and George Wu of the University of Chicago.
Imagine that after ample preparation and weeks of negotiations with three potential vendors, you have to choose among their proposals, each of which has numerous strengths and weaknesses. What’s more, you have only five minutes left to make this tough decision.
How should you spend this precious time? Ap Dijksterhuis and other researchers at the University of Amsterdam offer this somewhat surprising advice: fight for the temptation to read through the proposals one last time, and don’t run any more numbers. Their studies suggest that you actually may make a better decision by putting the proposals aside, doing an anagram puzzle, and following your intuition.
Negotiators tend to want the best of both worlds. When reaching an agreement, they want to nail down parties’ respective rights and responsibilities, but they also want to retain the flexibility to deal with ever-changing business conditions.
One solution to this apparent dilemma is to craft umbrella, or framework, agreements. (The term umbrella is more commonly used in the business world, while framework is more widely used in legal and diplomatic circles.) Such agreements set out general principals that will apply to more specific give-and-take contracts in the future. An umbrella agreement between a soft-drink company and a grocery chain, for example, would typically cover issues such as exclusivity, invoicing, confidentiality, and termination. Subsequent short-term contracts would set prices and promotional allowances for specific products.
As Professor Cheryl Rivers of Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia, points out in a recent literature review, seasoned negotiators often hear stories about the unethical behaviors of people of other nationalities. Perhaps the toughest problems arise surrounding what Rivers calls “ethically ambiguous” negotiation tactics. Ambiguity can lead us to reach sinister conclusions about the motives of our counterparts, particularly when we lack a solid understanding of an opponent’s culture.
What are social psychologists learning about the connections among emotions, negotiation, and decision making? Negotiation contributor Jennifer S. Lerner of Harvard Kennedy School and her colleagues have identified two critical themes. First, they have studied the carryover of emotion from one episode, such as a car accident, to an unrelated situation, such as a workplace negotiation.
Second, these researchers are studying the influence of specific emotions such as happiness, sadness, and anger on decision-making.
Going to trial, it’s said, is like rolling the dice. That proved true when an exasperated federal judge, the Honorable Gregory A. Presnell, ordered litigants to play a game of Rock Paper Scissors if they could not privately resolve their differences over a procedural issue. The lawyers were stalemated on where to depose a witness in the case, despite the fact that their offices were located just four floors apart in the same building. The judge didn’t want to waste public resources resolving such a trivial matter.
Many took the order as yet another exhibit in the case against shortsighted lawyers – and an attempt to shame them and their clients into more constructive behavior. Judge Presnell’s ruling also established a new best alternative to a negotiated agreement, or BATNA, for the parties: The matter would be decided by chance rather than on its merits, an unsettling prospect if each side was convinced of the righteousness of its position.
As discussed in past articles, anchoring and framing can bias important decisions in negotiation. A buyer may make a more generous offer than she intended, for example, after a seller drops anchor on a bold demand. A litigant who focuses on his chances of winning in court – a positive frame – may be less likely to settle than if he concentrated on a negative frame: his corresponding chances of losing.
Many researchers have studied how such biases are amplified or moderated by mood, expertise, and personality. Groundbreaking work by professors John D. Jasper and Stephen D. Christman of University of Toledo now suggests that our susceptibility to decision biases is hardwired.
When transferring property, sellers sometimes insist on rights of first refusal – the chance to be first in line to repurchase the property if their buyer later decides to sell. Rights of first refusal can be obvious advantages if your financial circumstances later change. If you’re keeping adjoining land, you may wish to protect yourself against the risk of something unattractive being built next door.
The Program on Negotiation Graduate Research Fellowships are designed to encourage young scholars from the social sciences and professional disciplines to pursue theoretical, empirical, and/or applied research in negotiation and dispute resolution. Consistent with the PON goal of fostering the development of the next generation of scholars, this program provides support for one year of dissertation research and writing in negotiation and related topics in alternative dispute resolution, as well as giving fellows an opportunity to immerse themselves in the diverse array of resources available at PON.
We are very excited to have three new fellows join us this fall:
The Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School, in conjunction with the Future of Diplomacy Project at Harvard Kennedy School, honored distinguished statesman and former Secretary of State James A. Baker III as the recipient of their Great Negotiator Award for 2012. Secretary Baker served under President George H.W. Bush from 1989 to 1992.
A panel discussion was held on the afternoon of March 29 and included Program on Negotiation faculty members James Sebenius and Robert Mnookin, as well as Harvard Kennedy School faculty member Nicholas Burns. The Great Negotiator Award was created twelve years ago by the Program on Negotiation to recognize an individual whose lifetime achievements in the field of negotiation and dispute resolution have had a lasting impact.
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.
Imagine that you are 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.
The above scenario is common in many transactional negotiations: you play your cards close and share as little information as needed to achieve the end goal.
In a Harvard Business Review article, P. Christopher Earley and Elaine Mosakowski describe the value of improving your cultural intelligence, or the ability to make sense of unfamiliar contexts and adapt to them. Some people are naturally skilled at determining whether a person’s behavior is unique to him or determined by his culture. For others, this process requires more effort. Regardless, this ability is important for successful international negotiations.
Earley and Mosakowski illustrate this point through a domestic and an international example. Peter, a Los Angeles-based sales manager for Eli Lilly pharmaceuticals, was transferred to the company’s Indianopolis headquarters. In L.A., Peter’s confrontational, high-pressure style was the norm and effectively motivated his sales staff. In Indianopolis, his new team disliked his hard charging ways and avoided the challenges he set for them.
The Obama administration’s powers of diplomacy were put to the test in recent weeks when Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng made a dramatic escape from house arrest to the U.S. Embassy in Beijing on the eve of the United States’ and China’s annual negotiations on strategic and economic issues.
Negotiations between U.S. and Chinese officials involving Chen’s fate were conducted under top secrecy, at the Chinese government’s insistence. “Face is more important in Asian society than any contract,” one senior American official told the Times, emphasizing China’s need to keep the sensitive negotiations under wraps.
Group negotiations are a fact of managerial life, yet the outcomes of teamwork are highly unpredictable. Sometimes, groups cohere, reaching novel solutions to nagging problems, and sometimes infighting causes them to collapse. How can you predict when conflict will emerge in groups, and what can you do to stop it?
Effective negotiators seek opportunities to create value. By making tradeoffs across issues, parties can obtain greater value on the issues that are most important to them. But how can you be sure you’re making the right offer?
Victoria Husted Medvec and Adam D. Galinsky of Northwestern University argued that, in negotiations involving many issues, you can create a great deal of value by making multiple equivalent simultaneous offers or MESOs. This strategy entails identifying several proposals that you value equally and presenting them to the other side.By making multiple offers, the theory goes, you appear more flexible, collect information about the other side’s preferences based on which offer she likes best, and increase the odds of reaching agreement.
In her book, The Mind and Heart of the Negotiator, Leigh Thompson cites four widely held myths that bar negotiators from improving their skills. This analysis is worth the attention of anyone who wants to move beyond platitudes to a deeper understanding of negotiation.
Myth 1: Great negotiators are born.
While we’re all born with varying abilities for almost any skill that can be imagined, our social environment and education have a tremendous impact on what we achieve. Negotiations professors recognize that executives enter the classroom with different capabilities. They also understand that all students can gain confidence and competence. The belief that one is either born a great negotiator, or not, can stand in the way of learning.
Decision makers often overlook others’ viewpoints. When we do take others’ thinking into account, we tend to assume that they know as much as we do. For this reason, marketing experts are generally worse than non-expert consumers at predicting the beliefs, values, and tastes of consumers.
Similarly, individuals who correctly solve a problem overestimate the percentage of their peers who will be just as successful solving the same problem.
During his years as George H.W. Bush’s Secretary of State, one of James A. Baker, III’s, goals was to encourage the free-market reforms that Communist Party of the Soviet Union General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev had launched in the late 1980s. One day during his tenure, a high-level Bush Administration commented in the press that Gorbachev’s efforts were sure to fail. Baker called Bush to complain.
“I said, you can’t have other people pontificating about these major foreign policy matters when this is one of our goals, and it’s totally contrary to our policy,” he said. “So they cut the knees off of this particular individual, and we didn’t hear that anymore.”
During his years as George H.W. Bush’s Secretary of State, one of James A. Baker, III’s, goals was to encourage the free-market reforms that Communist Party of the Soviet Union General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev had launched in the late 1980s. One day during his tenure, a high-level Bush administration official commented in the press that Gorbachev’s efforts were sure to fail. Baker called Bush to complain. “I said, you can’t have other people pontificating about these major foreign policy matters when this is one of our goals, and it’s totally contrary to our policy,” he said. “So they cut the knees off of this particular individual, and we didn’t hear that anymore.”
Baker shared this story on March 29 while receiving the 2012 Great Negotiator Award from the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School and the Future of Diplomacy Project at Harvard Kennedy School. In discussion with Harvard faculty at the Great Negotiator event, Baker elaborated on his greatest challenges as Secretary of State and shared negotiation lessons learned over the course of his long, successful career as a lawyer, campaign manager, and diplomat.
In a classic New Yorker cartoon, a dinner guest shows up for the party, hands the host a $20 bill, and announce that this was the amount he had planned to spend on a bottle of win before he ran out of time. Negotiation buffs might admire the guest for making an efficient tradeoff that saved him the effort of shopping and gave the host $20 to spend as he wished. But most people would view the guest’s behavior as highly inappropriate. Why?
On April 16, the Pulitzer Prize board announced its annual writing prizes, with two notable omissions: the board chose not to award Pulitzers in the categories of fiction and editorial writing. The reaction from the publishing industry to the Pulitzer’s fiction snub, in particular, was swift and hostile. “If I feel disappointment as a writer and indignation as a reader, I manage to get all the way to rage as a bookseller,” writes Ann Patchett, a fiction writer and bookstore owner, in a New York Times editorial.
The Pulitzer Board’s decision comes at a difficult time for the publishing industry, which has faced steadily declining book sales in recent years. And just five days before the Pulitzer announcement, the Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against five of the biggest U.S. publishers for colluding to set e-book prices. Now the industry must do without the annual boost the Pulitzer gives to the winning author and publisher – and cope with the implication that it was a miserable year for literary fiction.
While most negotiation research aims to sharpen individual managers’ skills, there is growing scholarly and professional interest in an organizational approach to negotiation.A systemic perspective evaluates the training, authority, procedures, and resources that manager need to improve their companies’ “return on negotiation,” as consultant Danny Ertel puts it. Looking at negotiations broadly reveals important design questions.
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 U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) sued Apple and five major U.S. publishers for colluding to raise the price of e-books during secretive, anti-competitive negotiations. Three of the publishers have settle the suit; two others and Apple have so far been unwilling to settle.
Suppose that one bargainer is impatient, gritting her teeth and thinking, “Cut to the chase, for Pete’s sake!” Feeling pressured, the other person wants to say, “Easy on the coffee, pal! Let’s give this the time it deserves.”
According to a recent study by professor Karen J. Jansen of Pennsylvania State University’s Smeal College of Business and Amy L. Kristoff-Brown of the Tippie College of Business at the University of Iowa, this different sense of pacing will lead both parties to experience psychological strain.
For your next negotiation, what would you pay for a gadget that shows you how well you’re engaging the other side?
It would tell you when you’ve been persuasive enough to close a deal.
It would also alert you when the other side has tuned you out, so you’d know how to take a different tack.
A team of researchers at MIT’s Media Laboratory are developing just such a device: specifically, software for cell phones and PDAs that analyzes speech patterns and tone of voice to determine how people are relating in conversation.
In March, reported Rob Wildeboer of Chicago’s WBEZ radio station broke the news that inmate in Cook County prisons (including those in the city of Chicago) were being charged inflated phone rates due to a profit-generating contract between the county and Securus Technologies, the company that operates the jail phone service. The contract requires Securus to pay 57.5% of the revenue from phone calls back to the county, an arrangement that netted the county $12 million from outgoing calls from inmates over the life of the three-year contract.
In early February, following months of difficult negotiations, the attorneys general of 49 states (all but Oklahoma) and the Obama administration reached a settlement agreement with five of the nation’s largest banks aimed at improving the stability of the U.S. housing market and punishing the banks for foreclosure abuses, the New York Times reports.
The deal was rooted in an investigation into mortgage servicing following revelations that banks were evicting borrowers based on false or incomplete documentation. The settlements gives financial relief to nearly 2 million current and former American homeowners hurt by the 2008 housing crisis through reductions in mortgage debt, home refinancing, and cash payments. Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citigroup, and Ally Financial must pay about $5 billion in fines and spend at least $20 billion in borrowers assistance.
When a large number of parties is involved in jointly hammering out a deal or dispute, agreement can be elusive, as illustrated by the failure of recent global climate change negotiations. The difficulty of coordinating a wide range of perspectives and interests often results in delays, disagreement, and impasse.
In the article, “Too Big to Succeed? The Copenhagen Climate Talks” in our March 2010 issue of Negotiation, we explained how an attempted negotiation among the 192 member states of the United Nations fell apart due to a clash between two factions – developing and developed nations – on how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The large number of parties involved led to chaos, confusion, and very little progress.
When life becomes routine we are more likely to overlook details or, conversely, we cannot see the forest for the trees. In both instances, what we may lack is a creative outlook on the situation at hand. In negotiations, creativity can lead to value-creation for both parties. Coming up with innovative ideas in the middle of the collaborative process can be difficult so how does the skillful negotiator change her mindset to become more creative? The March 2012 issue of the Negotiation newsletter offers three practical tips for obtaining more creative deals with your counterpart in negotiation.
To the surprise of many, Congress reached a bipartisan agreement on the 17th of February to extend payroll tax cuts and unemployment benefits. It was only the second time a House bill in the 112th Congress split roughly along party lines, according to the New York Times.
Largely regarded as a coup for Congressional Democrats, the bill maintains a two-percentage point payroll tax cut for 160 million working Americans and provides additional unemployment benefits to millions. Republicans had wanted to fund the payroll tax with spending cuts but, facing Democratic opposition, agreed to allow the package to increase the budget deficit. Republicans also reluctantly agreed to extend the unemployment insurance program long past the date they originally sought. Republicans did, however, score concessions from the Democrats, including new limits on unemployment compensation and elimination of the preventative health spending provision of the 2010 healthcare overhaul.
The teacher’s federation has qualms with the current education bill’s stipulations regarding the scheduling and terms for mediation between the federation and provincial government. The government is open to further negotiations, but refuses to offer more money. Susan Lambert, president of the British Columbia Teacher’s Federation, asserts that the government is acting in bad faith, claiming the “whole process is a mockery of fair play…There is a predetermined outcome that requires us to be complacent in stripping out of our collective agreement rights that [the employers tried to take out] at the bargaining table, rights that took a long time to negotiate.” Could mediation unlock value between these parties that was previously left untouched, even though one side has little faith in the process?
Often it is the relatively small details of an agreement that can cause the most consternation in negotiation. When viewed in light of the big picture, these details can be of minor importance, but while in the heat of the action they can become points of contention capable of derailing the process altogether, especially if these points are left unresolved and the two parties have to come back to the negotiating table again in the future. Tufts University Fletcher School of Diplomacy professor and Program on Negotiation faculty member Jeswald Salacuse recently described four such scenarios in his article “The Endgame” for the Winter 2012 edition of Tufts Magazine.
Professor Salacuse emphasizes that having good negotiation skills while in the midst of battle is important, but of equal importance is the ability to execute a good endgame. Professor Salacuse offers four methods to close the deal:
Set a deadline.
Not all issues have to be decided immediately.
Invite an influential third-party.
Solicit the opinions of an expert.
Unless your official title is “lawyer” or “agent” you probably don’t think of yourself as an agent. But if you’ve ever represented a family member, your boss, your department, or your organization in a negotiation, you’ve served as that party’s agent.
Representing others at the bargaining table creates both opportunities and hazards. In their book, Negotiating on Behalf of Others (Sage, 1999), professors Robert Mnookin of Harvard Law School and Lawrence Susskind of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology offer guidance to negotiators who find themselves serving as agents.
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 pros and cons of doing so?