Negotiations are a process through which individuals or groups can resolve disputes, settle business transactions, or construct working agreements. The process of negotiation involves creating and claiming value at the bargaining table and can be classified as either distributive or integrative in nature. An example of a distributive negotiation would be haggling over the value of a used car while an integrative negotiation would be two rival companies discussing how they can share research and developments costs in future product development. Distributive negotiations involve the “distribution” of value already present while integrative negotiations seek to create value during the process of negotiation or, in other words, add to the pie of assets over which negotiations are taking place.
Learn how to negotiate like a diplomat, think on your feet like an improv performer, and master job offer negotiation like a professional athlete when you download a FREE copy of Negotiation Skills: Negotiation Strategies and Negotiation Techniques to Help You Become a Better Negotiator.
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What do a Nobel Peace Prize recipient, the CEO of an international financial advisory firm, and the former United States ambassador to the United Nations have in common? They’ve all received the Great Negotiator Award.
Every year, the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School bestows this prestigious honor on distinguished leaders whose lifelong accomplishments in the field of dispute resolution and negotiation have had compelling and lasting results.
For organizations, feedback is at the heart of good leadership, effective teamwork, efficient problem solving, developing talent, and the ability to understand and serve the needs of clients and customers. And yet, few organizations or leaders feel they have it “right.”
Honest feedback, more often than not, isn’t given or is resisted. Senior leaders get less and less candid feedback as those below them hesitate to offend, or jeopardize, a strategic relationship. And so problems fester, and personal growth stalls.
The usual approach in the business world is to teach managers and leaders how to give feedback with little attention given on how to receive feedback. Learning how to respond to the spoken or unspoken, solicited or unsolicited, feedback that comes your way enables you to take charge of and accelerate your learning. And in the process, others in your organization will learn how to turn even the most unfair, off-base feedback into learning and change.
Leah C. Stokes, Lawrence Susskind, and Noelle E. Selin
This mercury game is a 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.
Negotiating opportunities sometimes come from challenging sources: a family member who has been unreliable in the past but promises to make a change; a business competitor that approaches you about a joint venture; a difficult boss with whom you would like to work out a better relationship. How should you deal with potential negotiating partners whom you don’t entirely trust—or should you deal with them at all? The U.S. government faced this question in the hope of convincing North Korea to abandon its nuclear-weapons program. The aftermath of an agreement between the two nations suggests precautions for those of us looking to make headway with our own rogue counterparts.
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Denise Madigan, Steve Foster, and Lawrence Susskind
Six-party, multi-issue negotiation among four scientists, a city representative, and an environmentalist to develop the city’s solid waste management strategy; also known as: Dioxin: Resource Recovery.
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Deborah M. Kolb, with the Simmons College Graduate School of Management, and the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School
“Caitlin’s Challenge” is a short case recounting Caitlin Elliot’s history at a company called Microenterprises Incorporated and her negotiation with its CEO, George Baker, about a promotion and a bonus. The case is good for discussion about what makes negotiating for oneself in an organization more difficult than negotiating on behalf of others. The video can be analyzed using a moves and turns framework and it ideal for management and leadership courses in addition to negotiation and conflict resolution courses.
The issue of bidder collusion raises a larger question for negotiators: What ethical responsibility do we have to those who aren’t seated at the table with us?
Harvard Business School professor Max H. Bazerman uses the term “parasitic value creation” to describe the common tendency of negotiators to focus so narrowly on identifying benefits for those at the bargaining table that they overlook potential negative effects of their decisions on outsiders. Collusion is just one type of parasitic value creation; cheating and theft are others.
It’s often said that great leaders are great negotiators. But how does one become an effective negotiator? On-the-job experience certainly plays a role, but for most executives, taking their negotiation skills to the next level requires outside training. Designed to accelerate your negotiation capabilities, Negotiation and Leadership examines core decision-making challenges, analyzes complex negotiation scenarios, 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.
A guide to making better decisions, noticing important information in the world around you, and improving leadership skills.
When opposing parties cannot come to a satisfactory resolution, a strong mediator can make all the difference. By effectively examining the issues at hand and helping parties identify creative solutions, a well-trained mediator builds consensus where there once was none.
To help professionals learn the art of mediation, the Program on Negotiation’s Teaching Negotiation Resource Center (TNRC) offers a wide range of role-play negotiation exercises.
We all experience emotionally challenging conflicts and negotiations. Whether you are negotiating with your board or with your family, over internal resources or with external partners, as the buyer or as the seller, emotions can turn an otherwise productive negotiation into an unprofitable disaster.It does not have to be that way. In this interactive workshop, you will discover a powerful framework to help you better understand and address the challenging, emotional dynamics that arise in your everyday negotiations and conflicts. This course will provide a framework that you can immediately put to use to help you deal more effectively with everything from office politics to external relations to customer loyalty.Read more
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.
In 2004, after Japanese regulators shut down Citigroup’s private bank in the country for breaking numerous laws, then-CEO Charles O. Prince made headlines by traveling to Japan, bowing deeply before television cameras, and apologizing for his firm’s mistakes. As unusual as it seemed in American eyes, the public apology was widely seen in Japan as a necessary first step in restarting Citigroup’s operations there.
An apology can be an effective means of restoring trust in negotiations and disputes, past research has found. In new experiments, William W. Maddux of INSEAD and his colleagues identify cultural differences in the way Japanese and American participants respond to apologies.
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.
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.
In business negotiations, our mistakes sometimes end up affecting not only the current deal, but our best alternative to a negotiated agreement, or BATNA, in deals that lie down the road. That’s a lesson that Ann Marie Gardner, the founder and editor of the hip new magazine Modern Farmer, has learned the hard way. After settling in New York’s Hudson Valley, Gardner got the idea of starting Modern Farmer in 2010, Alec Wilkinson writes in a New Yorker profile. The quarterly magazine’s aesthetic – artistic cover shots of animals and articles on topics like growing plants for cocktails – attracts the type of urban dwellers who aspire to raise their own chickens rather than actual working farmers. Gardner calls it a “farming magazine for media professionals.”
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.”
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.
From complicated land use debates to the regulation of pollutants, environmental negotiations are fraught with dynamic legal, scientific, and societal considerations. Because many of the natural resources in question are limited and fragile, disputes over them can be particularly difficult.
To help educate professionals about how to work through challenging environmental and sustainability negotiations, the Program on Negotiation’s Teaching Negotiation Resource Center offers a wide range of role-play exercises.
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.
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
When it comes to conflict resolution, surprisingly useful nuggets of advice come from the realm of international conflict. Take the Camp David Accords of 1978, as described minute-by-minute by Lawrence Wright in his new book, Thirteen Days in September. U.S. President Jimmy Carter made history by negotiating a peaceful end to the conflict between Israel and Egypt that endures to this day. He did so doggedly cajoling and threatening two of the Middle East’s most bitter enemies, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin. The talks earned Sadat and Begin the 1978 Nobel Peace Prize and prompted the 1979 Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty.
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.
Two-team (6 person), multi-issue contract negotiation between Canadian zoo CEOs and representatives of Chinese organization responsible for giant panda loans
In negotiation, what might seem like a stellar deal for everyone involved could backfire if you don’t factor in the impact of the agreement on those who aren’t at the table—a lesson that Apple and some of the largest U.S. book publishers are learning the hard way. Back in 2007, to boost sales of its fledgling Kindle, the first e-book reader on the market, Amazon began selling e-books at the rock-bottom price of $9.99. Five publishers—Simon & Schuster, Hachette Book Group, Penguin Group USA, Macmillan, and HarperCollins—disliked Amazon’s low, flat price, which they felt would undercut the sale of their new-release hardbacks, whose average cover price was $26.
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.
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.”
What’s one of the best ways to teach the art and science of negotiation? Case studies and articles that spark lively discussion or facilitate self-reflection. Based on real-world examples, these teaching resources are designed to help students envision how to apply what they’ve learned in the classroom and beyond.
The Teaching Negotiation Resource Center (TNRC) at the Program on Negotiation offers negotiation case studies from renowned authors who’ve negotiated trade agreements, aided peace treaties, and handled many other high-stakes deals. By drawing on their own experiences, they’ve crafted negotiation case studies that are authentic, compelling, and enlightening.
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.
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.
The average college-educated woman earns $713,000 less over the course of her working life than her male counterpart, according to the Coalition of Labor Union Women. What explains this persistent gender gap? Women employees’ awareness that they could be penalized for negotiating assertively on their own behalf is one factor, according to new research from Emily T. Amanatullah of the University of Texas at Austin and Michael W. Morris of Columbia University
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.
It seemed to be a match made in Internet heaven. In late 2010, Google made a $6 billion bid for Groupon, the Chicagobased company that emails daily coupon deals for local goods and services to consumers around the world. (If enough people sign up, the daily deal “tips,” meaning the coupons are issued; otherwise, the deal is called off.) Google was looking for opportunities to branch into localsearch advertising, and Groupon appeared to be the perfect fit.
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.
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.
Question: Before taking my new job, I had 10 years of successful experience negotiating with suppliers all over the United States. The company I just joined sources materials and components from almost everywhere but the United States. What advice can you give me on negotiating with foreign suppliers? Program on Negotiation faculty member and negotiation instructor Jeswald Salacuse responds.
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.
What to do when you’ve done everything right, but you still don’t have an agreement.
If you’ve ever offended a fellow negotiator with words or actions, you know how hard it can be to make amends. In past issues of Negotiation Briefings (February 2009, June 2010), we have described how effective a simple apology can be in bringing parties back together and restoring trust.
When financial disputes arise between longstanding partners, both insiders and outsiders often note, “It’s not about the money.” Simmering resentment, mutual blame for ongoing problems, poor communication, and other deep issues often underlie arguments over money and make conflict management all the more difficult. Parties may reach agreement on monetary issues, but if they fail to tackle their underlying differences, one or both sides is likely to leave the table feeling dissatisfied and the conflict will continue.
Negotiating power generally comes from one of three sources, according to Adam D. Galinsky and New York University’s Joe C. Magee. Here are three sources of negotiation power that negotiators can use in negotiations.
From brokering a deal to negotiating a sale, there are many disputes that happen at work. Among the most challenging are those involving employers and employees. That’s the case with Binder Kadeer: Consultation in the Company, a negotiation exercise brought to you by the Program on Negotiation’s Teaching Resource Center (TNRC).
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.
Imagine that you are the founder of a start-up that has not been as successful as you’d hoped. You are thinking about making one last push to get your product off the ground, but you would need some extra financing to do so. A series of deals has fallen through, and you are under great stress. Now you are negotiating what you believe to be the company’s last remaining option: a high-interest loan from a lender with a questionable reputation. Should you close down your company or finalize negotiations on the risky loan?
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.
Question: What’s the best way to minimize the risk of long-term financial commitments and wrap up a win-win negotiation? About a decade ago in Hollywood, many negotiators thought the answer to that question was “slate deals.” In the early and mid-2000s, hedge funds and other large investors streamed into Hollywood, persuaded by the major studios that they could minimize the inherent risks of investing in films by backing a slate of several dozen movies rather than just one, write Ben Fritz and Erich Schwartzel in a recent article in the Wall Street Journal.
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.
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.
Turning to another questionable negotiation from Illinois politics, in 2005, then–U.S. senator Barack Obama and his family bought a house in Chicago. On the same day the Obamas closed on the property, the wife of real estate developer Antoin Rezko bought an adjacent parcel of land. Rezko was a key fundraiser for Obama’s Senate campaign.
Healthcare is one of the largest industries globally, with billions of dollars spent on treatments and research. While healthcare is definitely a “big business,” medical disputes can deeply affect people’s personal lives. The fact that life and death are actual issues in many medical negotiations means the stakes are even higher.
To enable participants to gain experience exploring complex and emotionally fraught issues in an educational environment, the TNRC offers a variety of role-plays focused on health-care related disputes such as medical malpractice.
Imagine that after some negative experiences at the bargaining table, you’ve started to worry that you simply don’t have the right personality to be a great negotiator. The other party always seems to get the upper hand, and you can’t manage to come away with a favorable deal. What can you do to improve, or should you leave negotiating to someone else?
In negotiation, our success often hinges on our bargaining power—which in turn can depend on forces beyond our control. That truism was highlighted in two recent disputes arising from business negotiations over the pricing of copyrighted material in the digital era, one from the music world, the other from publishing. First, country-music star Taylor Swift injected new life into the stagnating music industry with the October release of her first pop album, “1989.” The album sold 1.287 million copies in the United States in its first week, instantly becoming 2014’s bestseller to date. Amid the win-win-win news for Swift, her fans, and the music industry, there was one clear loser, however: Spotify, the world’s most popular music-streaming service.
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:
Imagine that you and your family have moved to a new town. You’re living in a month-to-month rental and have finally found the perfect house to buy. Unfortunately, the seller is being unreasonable. The house is on the market for $600,000, but your research, backed up by your broker’s opinion, tells you it’s overpriced. By your estimate, a fair price would be $500,000, but when you offer that amount, the seller tells you that you are “not even close” and doesn’t counter. You think the seller is in denial about the slump in the housing market, which has affected prices in your town quite a bit.
Sometimes the question of how to negotiate can be more hotly debated than the issues that come up during the negotiation itself. Who should be involved in making key decisions? Should the negotiation process be public or private? How can parties ensure that all involved feel they’ve had a voice?
International law and diplomacy is a rapidly evolving field that depends on the brokering of agreements between nations and other stakeholders. Whether there are language barriers, cultural differences, or both, some of the most challenging negotiations involve parties from different nations. Because of the relative lack of clear legal precedents and the difficulties of enforcement, most decisions are reached via global agreements rather than decided by courts.
What’s the best way to arrive at a group decision? Ever since U.S. general Henry M. Robert published Robert’s Rules of Order in 1876, groups have relied on the principle of majority rule, measured with a simple yea or nay vote at the end of the negotiation process.
Lawrence Susskind and Susan Podziba
A set of three simulations developed for and used in training court probation officers in negotiation techniques.
The following question was posed to Program on Negotiation faculty member and associate professor of business administration at Harvard Business School in the Negotiations, Organizations & Markets Unit, Francesca Gino.
Selected by Library Journal as one of the best business books of 2003.
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).
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
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella found himself in the hot seat in October after telling women attending the Grace-Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing that the best way to effectively negotiate for a raise is not to ask for one at all. Asked by Harvey Mudd College President and Microsoft Board Member Maria Klawe for advice on negotiating for a higher salary, Nadella said, “It’s not really about asking for the raise, but knowing and having faith that the system will actually give you the right raises as you go along.” He suggested that women could expect to be financially rewarded thanks to “good karma.”
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
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.
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
As you know, gender stereotypes often enter the negotiation process. Women and men are perceived to, and often do, act differently in negotiations. Furthermore, gender-based discrimination—such as less pay, unequal treatment, and sexual harassment—is often a source of conflict. With the resources available through the Teaching Negotiation Resource Center (TNRC), professionals can learn how to fairly and effectively negotiate gender discrimination issues.
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
The parents of a toddler were interested in finding a babysitter to work one or two nights a week. The couple was very happy with their daytime nanny, but they thought she would not be interested in staying past six p.m., since she was young, and they assumed she had an active social life. But when the nanny found out that her employers had hired a new sitter to work occasional evenings, she was disappointed. She had been looking for extra work, as she and her fiancé were saving up for their wedding, and she wondered why the couple had not approached her first. The parents, meanwhile, had to spend time getting their child comfortable with the new sitter—who ended up moving away after just a couple of months.
The Program on Negotiation
An unscripted video showing two different pairs of real estate professionals negotiating the terms of a commercial lease
In three experiments, Roman Trötschel and colleagues found that perspective taking helped self-interested negotiators discover opportunities to logroll and great mutual gains that reduced partial impasse. Interestingly, the study participants used perspective taking to reduce partial impasse through logrolling despite remaining self-interested.
Jeswald W. Salacuse
A comprehensive video-based seminar featuring Professor Jeswald Salacuse, a leading authority on global deal making
Jim Sebenius, the Gordon Donaldson Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School, and Director of the Harvard Negotiation Project, addressed these questions in his presentation at the NP@PON Faculty Dinner Seminar on October 7, 2010. His article, “Developing Negotiation Case Studies,” began as a memo to a novice case writer about how to write an effective negotiation case. Now it is a full-length article that will appear in a forthcoming issue of Negotiation Journal.
Two-team, scoreable, multiple round, “prisoner’s dilemma”-style negotiation between representatives of two countries over the monthly price for barrels of oil.
In our lives as business negotiators, there inevitably will be times when we feel angry, frustrated, and mistreated. At such times we face a choice between letting our negative feelings show, concealing them, or trying to channel them into positive change. Ample negotiation research has found that negotiators who show their anger tend to make greater gains than negotiators who seem happy or more neutral—as long as their anger seems genuine rather than contrived. But as we all know, a host of contextual factors affect how others will react to our emotional displays in negotiation, including protocol, power, and our past behavior. And those contextual factors can mean that otherwise good advice doesn’t always apply.
A 27-page handbook designed to introduce high school students to problem-solving, interest-based negotiation
If you’ve ever come away from a negotiation asking questions like this, poor communication may be to blame, write Roger Fisher, William Ury, and Bruce Patton in their landmark book, Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In (2nd Ed., Penguin Books, 1991).
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
In many negotiations, both parties are aware of what their interests are, and are willing to engage in a give-and-take process with the other party to come to agreement. In conflicts related to personal identity, and deeply-held beliefs or values, however, negotiation dynamics can become more complex. Parties may not be willing to make any concession that helps the other side, even if it would bring about a reciprocal concession that would be in their own favor.
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
Whether to grade student role-play performance, process and outcomes is a tricky question. Jim Lawrence, a long-time PON contributor, simulation author, attorney and practicing mediator with Frost Brown Todd LLC, recently shared his thoughts on the value and purpose of grading students participating in negotiation simulations.
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
The fallout from Iceland’s financial crisis offers a case study in dealing with those who have suffered a significant blow to their self-esteem. In late 2008, Iceland teetered on the edge of bankruptcy following the collapse of its three largest banks. Since becoming independent of the government in 2002, the banks had pursued a strategy of borrowing money abroad and offering high-interest loans to online lenders—a strategy that failed spectacularly when the global credit crisis hit. Most notably, investors in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands lost 4 billion euros ($5.8 billion) in the Landsbanki’s “Icesave” Internet savings accounts.
Program on Negotiation
DVD featuring excerpts from a discussion with Stuart Eizenstat regarding his efforts negotiating reparations for victims of Nazi Germany
Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots, was by all accounts a major factor in getting the NFL collective bargaining agreement signed earlier this week. To do so, Kraft employed four key negotiation tactics to help the players and owners come to a “win-win” solution.
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
You probably can recall times when a negotiating opponent made what appeared to be a blatant misstatement. If you’re like most people, you assumed the person was lying to gain an advantage. But what if she genuinely believed in the false claim? It’s not easy to offer the benefit of the doubt, especially when the stakes are high. Reasonable, fair-minded negotiators often find themselves in such situations—accusing others of unethical behavior or facing such accusations themselves. Either way, the negotiation may head down a path that leads to impasse and destroys the relationship.
In business negotiations, threats can be fraught with risk. There is the risk that a threat will escalate conflict. There is the risk that a threat will motivate a desire for revenge. And then there is the risk that your threat will work perfectly, but you’ll be unprepared for the aftermath.
That last scenario may describe what happened recently when a number of executives and investment officers at Pimco Investment Management threatened to quit unless Bill Gross, the firm’s co-founder and manager of its flagship Total Return Fund, was fired.
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.
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
This expectation of a “domino effect” may be especially likely in international negotiations, where cultural differences and territorial concerns perpetuate an “us versus them” approach. Take the international debate over Japan’s long tradition of hunting whales, a practice that many other nations condemn as barbaric and have tried to halt. In 1986, the United States threatened that it would limit Japanese ships’ access to U.S. fish stocks if Japan continued to allow whaling. Japan did agree to halt whaling, but the U.S. government followed through on its threat nonetheless. Japan resumed whaling the following year under its controversial scientific program.
An annual compilation of research papers addressing a range of transboundary environmental negotiation issues
For fans of AMC’s hit show Mad Men, the news was terrible. In late March 2011, the network publicly confirmed that the fifth season of the show, originally set to air summer of 2011, would not air until early 2012. A contract dispute with the show’s creator, producer, and head writer, Matthew Weiner, had held up the writing and production of the new season. The network reportedly offered Weiner a $30 million, three-season contract, which would make him one of the most highly paid producers on cable TV.
Bringing together auction theory and negotiation theory in a practical and accessible way, Negotiauctions is an authoritative guide to negotiating deals
Business negotiators often complain that although they try to focus on creating value, they run into far too many people on the other side of the table who don’t believe in value creation. Often, they focus exclusively on trying to claim as much as possible for themselves. How should you handle these negotiations?
Strikes and lockouts have sprung up among groups as diverse as Chicago Public Schools (CPS) teachers, National Hockey League (NHL) players, and National Football League referees, not to mention American Airlines pilots, who staged an unofficial work slowdown as part of their dispute with management.
Deepak Malhotra & Max Bazerman
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)
Poor communication explains many of our negotiation mistakes, write Roger Fisher, William Ury, and Bruce Patton in Getting to Yes, their landmark book. Here are four negotiation skills tips adapted from Susan Hackley’s May 2005 article “Can You Break the Cycle of Bad Communication?,” first published in Negotiation.
Winner of the 2003 CPR Award for Excellence in ADR (Outstanding Book Category)
A distinguished older soprano, Sally has not had a lead role in two years. However, when another soprano falls ill, the Lyric Opera is eager to hire Sally…but at what price?
Sally Soprano is one of the best-known role-play simulations from the Program on Negotiation’s Teaching Negotiation Resource Center (TNRC). And it’s a classic for good reason.
Sally Soprano boils very complex dynamics down to essential structures. As Daniel Shapiro, Associate Director of the Harvard Negotiation Project, puts it, “Sally Soprano has an elegant structure that more clearly than any other case raises the critical elements of interest-based negotiation.”
Because an agent’s incentives are rarely, if ever, perfectly aligned with those of her principal (principal-agent theory), many business negotiators have been burned by agents who put their own interests first. Agents in many fields, for example, have a motivation to close deals quickly – rather than for the best price – and earn quick commissions.
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 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.
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.
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
In 2011, Emiko Okuyama, the mayor of Sendai, Japan, launched a negotiation that, at the time, seemed relatively straightforward. Sendai had been devastated by the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan earlier that year. In hopes of lifting the spirits of children traumatized by the natural disasters, Okuyama and other local officials came up with the idea of asking the Chinese government to loan panda bears to the Yagiyama Zoological Park in Sendai, Mark McDonald reports in the New York Times. By the end of the year, Japanese prime minister Yoshihiko Noda convinced Chinese president Hu Jintao to agree to the goodwill gesture, and two pandas appeared to be on the fast track for a trip from China to Japan.
Then things got complicated.
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.
An edited version of three lectures on negotiation analysis by Professor Howard Raiffa
When a difficult negotiation such as a labor contract renegotiation looms, it can be tempting for each side to try to make unilateral decisions on certain issues because of the belief that negotiation 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.
A straightforward, universally applicable method for negotiating personal and professional disputes without getting taken-and without getting angry.
Here is a brief story about about a teenager named Chris Jensen.
On his way home from basketball practice, he walked into a grocery store and shoplifted some candy bars and a soda. The storeowner saw him, chased after him, and, as luck would have it, they ran right into a police officer.
But instead of hauling him off to juvenile court, the victim agreed to try another method of negotiating a successful resolution.
When a difficult negotiation such as a labor contract renegotiation looms, it can be tempting for each side to try to make unilateral decisions on certain issues because of the belief that negotiation 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. Take the contract negotiations between the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) and the City of Chicago, which led to a 10-day strike. After being elected mayor of Chicago in February 2011, Rahm Emanuel, President Obama’s former chief of staff, lobbied the Illinois state legislature hard for an education-reform bill targeted at Chicago’s troubled school district that included changes to collective bargaining between the city and the CTU.
When preparing for your next business negotiation, you may want to strategize not only about what you’ll put on the bargaining table, but also how much food you’ll put in your belly beforehand. That’s the message of new research that Cornell University professor Emily Zitek and Dartmouth College professor Alexander Jordan presented at the annual meetings of the Academy of Management in August. In two experiments, the researchers found that undergraduate students felt a greater sense of entitlement when they were hungry than when they were not. The researchers define entitlement as the sense that one is more deserving of positive outcomes than other people are.
Winner of the 2001 CPR Award for Excellence in ADR (Oustanding Book Category)
Every year, the Program on Negotiation (PON) honors distinguished scholars with a Graduate Research Fellowship that provides support for one year of dissertation research and writing in negotiation and related topics in alternative dispute resolution. These grants promote negotiation research and are awarded to candidates in the social sciences and professional disciplines who are currently pursuing theoretical, empirical, and/or applied research in the fields of negotiation and dispute resolution. Among our 2014-2015 graduate scholars is Vera Mironova, a PhD candidate in Political Science at the University of Maryland.
Winner of the 2002 CPR Award for Excellence in ADR (Outstanding Book Category)
Few negotiators can imagine negotiation scenarios more stressful than the kinds of crisis negotiations the New York City Police Department’s Hostage Negotiation Team undertake.
The Program on Negotiation received an article from Jeff Thompson and Hugh McGowan, Ph.D., outlining the techniques and strategies that the New York City Police Department Hostage Negotiations Team employ while dealing with high-stakes, high-pressure crisis negotiation situations.
Jeff Thompson, a NYPD Detective, is a research scholar at Columbia University School of Law and a Ph.D. candidate at the Griffith University Law School in Queensland, Australia. Hugh McGowan is a former commanding officer of the NYPD’s Hostage Negotiation Team, having led the HNT for 13 years. The NYPD Hostage Negotiations team handles more crisis negotiations in one month than most departments do in a year and, in 2012 alone, the department handled 400 such negotiations, one of which was well over 50 hours long and included a team of 17 crisis negotiators.
Winner of the 2000 CPR Award for Excellence in ADR (Outstanding Book Category)
Business negotiators sometimes face the difficult question of whether to negotiate with someone they believe to be immoral, untrustworthy, or otherwise undesirable as a negotiating partner. In his book Bargaining with the Devil: When to Negotiate, When to Fight (Simon & Schuster, 2011), Program on Negotiation chair Robert Mnookin offers advice on the complex question of whether to negotiate with an unsavory party. The question becomes all the more complex when we would be negotiating not on our own behalf, but representing someone else. Turning to the realm of international negotiations, that issue came to the forefront upon the killing of journalist James Foley by the terrorist group the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) on August 19. In interviews with the New York Times, members of Foley’s family described the confusion and stress they faced when they found themselves virtually alone in trying to negotiate his release. About a year after Foley’s capture in Syria in November 2012, ISIS sent an email to his brother, Michael Foley, that revealed the group wanted money for Foley’s release. A follow-up email demanded about $130 million in ransom and the release of Muslim prisoners from the United States.
There are good negotiators and there are great ones.
Once a year, the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School selects an outstanding individual who embodies what it means to be a truly great negotiator. To earn the Great Negotiator Award, the honoree must be a distinguished leader whose lifelong accomplishments in the field of dispute resolution and negotiation have had compelling and lasting results.
To help students and professionals learn valuable lessons from these highly skilled negotiators, our Teaching Negotiation Resource Center (TNRC) offers the Great Negotiator Case Study Series featuring in-depth studies such as “Stuart Eizenstat: Negotiating the Final Accounts of World War II” and “Lakhdar Brahimi: Negotiating a New Government for Afghanistan.”
Three-volume authoritative reference selection of some of the most significant writings on negotiation, decision making, and conflict management from 1950 – 2002
Is one negotiating style “better” than another? Most research suggests that negotiators with a primarily cooperative style are more successful than hard bargainers at reaching novel solutions that improve everyone’s outcomes. Negotiators who lean toward cooperation also tend to be more satisfied with the process and their results, according to Weingart. At the same time, claiming value and lobbying tenaciously for your position can be equally important negotiation strategies.
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.
In a negotiation, few issues heighten tensions faster than when one party feels that the other party has done something ethically or morally incorrect.
To help professionals prepare for times like this, the Program on Negotiation’s Teaching Negotiation Resource Center (TNRC) offers a variety of negotiation exercises designed to teach participants how to handle disputes that are fraught with ethical issues.
All of us have a personal approach to negotiation. Here’s how to make the most of yours.
Your boss has asked you and a colleague to collaborate on a marketing campaign for your small company. At your first meeting, you and Jeff, your colleague, present several proposals to each other. You believe Jeff’s plans aren’t very good and that one of your proposals is the clear winner. But Jeff suggests you work together to “merge” your good ideas. Will you negotiate for your preferred proposal?
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
When employees leave an unsatisfying job, the feeling of relief they feel sometimes motivates them to explain their decision to whomever will listen. But that tendency can backfire and necessitate tense business negotiations, as a recent story from the world of high fashion illustrates. In November 2012, designer Nicolas Ghesquière startled the fashion world with his decision to leave his position as the creative director of design house Balenciaga, a job he had held for 15 years. The two sides negotiated a deal: the house would pay Ghesquière $8.8 million in return for his written promise not to make any comments that could damage the image of Balenciaga, its owners, and its shareholders and collaborators, The Australian reports.
Two-team iterated scoreable prisoner’s dilemma exercise set in a labor/management context
From complicated negotiation strategies to artful subterfuge, conflict resolution games are one of the very best ways to prepare for the challenges of real-world negotiation. Games that employ a Prisoner’s Dilemma structure (where rational parties may not cooperate despite their best interests) enable participants to analyze negotiations, make strategic decisions, and anticipate their counterpart’s next move.
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
As he entered his second term in office, President Obama set a goal of taking concrete steps to address global climate change. A global agreement on the issue is in sight, but a key obstacle stands in the way: the U.S. Senate. According to the Constitution, a president needs approval from a two-thirds majority of the Senate to enter into any legally binding treaty. Obama is eager to avoid what happened in 1997, when the Senate refused to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, a legally binding U.N. climate change treaty. Indeed, the odds of the Senate passing a similar treaty 17 years later are nil, reports Coral Davenport in the New York Times. In 2012, Republican senators blocked ratification of a U.N. treaty on equal rights that had been modeled on an American law and negotiated by Republican president George W. Bush. With the Senate unable to reach agreement on that treaty, Obama is trying a new strategy on the much more controversial issue of climate change: a workaround.
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
In complex legal negotiations, money, reputations, and sometimes even lives are often at stake. Legal professionals must know how to read and debate the law as well as fully embrace the art and science of negotiation.
To help attorneys and other legal professionals become well versed in law and court-based negotiation, the Program on Negotiation’s Teaching Negotiation Resource Center (TNRC) offers a wide range of role-play negotiation simulations.
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
In the aftermath of events ranging from the Catholic Church’s child sexual abuse scandal to the 1994 Rwandan genocide, victims have received apologies from those who caused or perpetuated their suffering. Yet those who have been harmed are not always willing or able to forgive. In the context of business negotiations, when a counterpart apologizes for harming or offending you, should you forgive and move forward? What if doing so seems impossible?
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
Short three-party scoreable negotiation among representatives of three organizations over the integrative and distributive aspects of a possible 2- or 3-party coalition
The Middle East Negotiation Initiative at the Program on Negotiation is pleased to present a public talk by Dr. Yair Hirschfeld on September 19th. Dr. Hirschfeld, who is best known as the “architect of the Oslo Process,” will discuss the history of Track II diplomacy efforts in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and analyze recent developments in the region and the challenges and opportunities they present.
Beth Doherty under the supervision of Lawrence Susskind
Two-party, two-issue, integrative, scoreable negotiation over the terms of a telecommunications services contract
Here’s a prime example of negotiator innovation during difficult economic times. Eager to retain its top talent but low on cash, Zurich, Switzerland–based financial-services company Credit Suisse Group included millions of dollars of its own toxic assets in the 2008 bonus packages of its 2,000 top bankers. Typically, investment banks use cash and company stock to pay end-of-year bonuses.
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
The U.S. Senate’s struggle to pass truly bipartisan financial reform reveals ways negotiators can overcome suspicion and enhance cooperation.
Initially, the partnership seemed promising. Senator Christopher Dodd, a Connecticut Democratic, hoped to cap his 29-year congressional career with a bipartisan financial regulation bill. Senator Bob Corker, a freshman Republican from Tennessee and member of Dodd’s Senate Banking Committee, wanted to make a splash in his new job.
After Dodd reached an impasse with Republican senator Richard Shelby of Alabama, he and Corker teamed up in February 2010 with the goal of overcoming the us-versus-them mentality that was dominating the Senate, as reported by John Harwood in the New York Times.
Two-party criminal plea bargain negotiation between a prosecutor and a public defender for a man charged with aggravated rape
Two-party, multi-issue, scoreable negotiation regarding a prenuptial agreement, calling for a balance of substantive and relationship concerns
By now, most of us are aware that women appear to face significant hurdles in negotiation. To begin with, they are penalized for negotiating on their own behalf. In their research, Professor Hannah Riley Bowles of Harvard Business School, Professor Linda Babcock, and Professor Lei Lai of Tulane University found that both male and female study participants were less interested in working with women who attempted to negotiate a better salary than they were with men who tried to negotiate a higher salary. The fact that women are generally less likely to initiate salary negotiations than men appears to be due at least in part to women’s awareness that negotiating could trigger this type of social backlash at the office.
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
At some point or another, most negotiators claim that a certain issue is a deal breaker.If you’re trying to sell your business, for instance, you might walk away from talks with a potential buyer who you believe would lay off many of your longtime employees. Or if someone asks you to go in on a venture that violates your moral principles, you might refuse to even consider the prospect.
A desire to safeguard your personal integrity, health, or safety, or that of those close to you, may cause you to declare certain issues sacred in your negotiations—completely nonnegotiable under all conditions. Yet a refusal to compromise on key issues can lead to impasse in an otherwise beneficial deal.
Moreover, researchers have long theorized that many of the issues we claim are sacred are actually “pseudo-sacred”—that is, they’re off-limits under some but not all conditions. According to this view, our resolve regarding sacred issues can waver, whether or not we realize it. When do negotiators stand firm on sacred issues? In a recent experiment, a research team led by professor Ann E. Tenbrunsel of Notre Dame University explored this question. In particular, they looked at whether the strength of one’s best alternative to a negotiated agreement (BATNA)—an important source of power in negotiation—affects whether negotiators bend or stand firm on the issues they hold sacred.
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
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
When someone issues a threat or an ultimatum, take a step back and diagnose the problem. Consider how you would respond to threats and ultimatums such as these during negotiation. In the face of such tough talk, should you strike back with a counterthreat? Probably not. Because counterthreats raise the emotional temperature of a negotiation, they will get you even further off track. Instead, immediately after hearing a threat (or just after you issue one yourself), call for a break.
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
Given the frequency with which companies air their private grievances, there must be an upside to going public, right?
In fact, there are several.
First, once you’ve threatened to take your dispute public, following through demonstrates your willingness to stand by your words.
In addition, being in the spotlight can motivate both sides to address their differences with a new sense of urgency.
The faster you resolve your differences, the sooner you can get back to business as usual.
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
Imagine yourself in each of these three negotiation scenarios. In each of these scenarios, negotiators are dealing with an issue related to trust. The travel writer discovers he put too much trust in the translator’s reliability. Most of us approach negotiations with the hope that we will share information, build a relationship, and be treated fairly by our counterparts. But once talks get started, most of us have also had the experience of holding back information, viewing the other side’s behavior with suspicion, and feeling distrusted by them.
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
To turn up the heat on opponents, negotiators sometimes advertise their grievances.
Here’s negotiation skills advice on when it’s a good idea to be vocal—and when to keep talks private.
The decision seemed nonsensical.
Early on the morning of March 7, 2010, with the Academy Awards telecast just hours away, the Walt Disney Company pulled the signal on WABC, its New York–area station. Residents in the New York area awoke to learn they might have to scramble to watch the Oscars via satellite at bars or friends’ homes.
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 2006, representatives of wind-energy developers started knocking on the doors of Wyoming ranchers.
They were seeking to persuade the ranchers to sell the rights to build wind turbines on their land, reporter Addie Goss recounted on National Public Radio. Typically, the developers build wind farms by leasing large blocks of land from many different landowners in western states. In Wyoming, ranchers began signing leases without knowing the true value of the wind sweeping across their land.
U.S. Department of Agriculture program coordinator Grant Stumbough heard about the wind developers crisscrossing Wyoming and had a brainstorm: by working together, the ranchers might be able to get better deals.
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
Most business negotiators understand that by working collaboratively with their counterparts while also advocating strongly on their own behalf, they can build agreements and longterm
relationships that benefit both sides.
During times of economic hardship, however, many negotiators abandon their commitment to cooperation and mutual gains.
Instead, they fall back on competitive tactics, threatening the other side with “take it or leave it” offers and refusing to accept concessions of any kind.
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
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.
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
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.
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
Six-person negotiation among hospital administration and employee representatives to reach consensus on budget cuts in three departments
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.
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
In the workplace, misunderstandings, power struggles, and stress can cause conflict to fester and take a toll on productivity. The best organizations put in place conflict management processes and systems to confront conflict directly. Unfortunately, too many organizations fail to do so—and suffer the consequences of sweeping conflict under the rug.
Take the case of Paradigm Capital and its owner, Candace King Weir, which were fined $2.2 million by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for retaliating against James Nordgaard, an employee who blew the whistle on tax-avoidance strategies that Paradigm carried out for the hedge fund PCM Partners. PCM Partners was not notified that a conflict of interest existed between Weir and a company she owned, CL King & Associates, as reported in Operational Risk & Regulation.
In particular, the SEC faulted Paradigm for not having outsiders on its conflict-resolution committee, a structure that appeared to contribute to the retaliation against Nordgaard. Nordgaard was demoted from head trader to compliance assistant and otherwise marginalized after reporting the wrongdoing he observed to the SEC. It was the first penalty handed down by the SEC’s new whistleblower protection program.
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
Have you ever wondered if your negotiating style is too tough or too accommodating? Too cooperative or too selfish? You might strive for an ideal balance, but, chances are, your innate and learned tendencies will have a strong impact on how you negotiate. Wise negotiators seek to identify these tendencies and enhance them according to the situation.
Individual differences in “social motives,” or our preferences for certain kinds of outcomes when we interact with other people, strongly affect how we approach negotiation, according to Carnegie Mellon University professor Laurie R. Weingart. Drawing on the social motives that drive our behavior, Weingart and other psychologists have pinpointed four basic negotiating personalities.
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
On June 19, Republican Representative Thomas Massie of Kentucky, a libertarian, teamed up with two liberal Democrats, Zoe Lofgren of California and Rush D. Holt of New Jersey, to push through an amendment that places new prohibitions on the National Security Agency and the CIA’s surveillance operations, including barring the agencies from engaging in warrantless collection of Americans’ online activity, the Times reports.
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
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
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
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
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.
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
On June 18, the board of retailer American Apparel informed the company’s controversial founder, Dov Charney, that it was ousting him from his roles as chairman and CEO. For years, Charney had fended off sexual-harrassment lawsuits and rumors of inappropriate behavior. But only when the company’s creditors grew anxious about its long-term liability did the board decide to take action, citing new and damning revelations, as reported by Elizabeth A. Harris in the New York Times.
As the saga continues to unfold, it has highlighted several dimensions of negotiation that managers and executives would be wise to heed—including the importance of continually assessing your BATNA, or best alternative to a negotiated agreement.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.”
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
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.”
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
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).
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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 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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
Five-person, multi-issue facilitated negotiation among industry, environmental, labor, and government representatives to develop single-text regulation of toxic industrial by-product
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.”
Two-party, three-issue, scoreable negotiation between a developer and a city planner over the design, process, and affordability of a proposed housing development
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.
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
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.
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
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.
Nine-party, multi-issue contract negotiation among three coalitions involved in the building trades; includes internal coalition meetings before the external negotiations
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.
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
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.
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
Even after the best negotiations, sometimes the other side will demand a renegotiation of the deal. Here are some guidelines on how to proceed.
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
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.
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
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:
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
When you expect people to be competitive, it’s not only your own behavior that changes.
You also set up a self-fulfilling prophecy, such that your expectations about the other side’s behavior lead him to behave in ways that confirm your expectations.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
Two-team, multi-issue employment contract negotiation between three teachers’ union representatives and three school committee representatives; includes internal team meetings before external negotiations
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.
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
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
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.
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 …
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.
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.
Most negotiation advice centers on the mistakes all of us make. But individual differences in personality, intelligence, and outlook could also affect your talks.
P. Terrance Hopmann
Multi-issue arms control negotiation among representatives of eight fictional countries
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.
The Consensus Building Institute
Six-party nonscorable negotiation among nonprofit, business, and community representatives regarding the most appropriate methods for fund raising and distributions
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.
Six-party, multi-issue contract negotiation between management and union members of a publishing firm
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.
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”
Does negotiation research promote the creation of joint gain at the expense of relationship building? Jared R. Curhan, Margaret A. Neale, and Lee D. Ross suggest the field is guilty as charged.
To illustrate, the researchers apply author O. Henry’s classic tale “The Gift of the Magi” to negotiation. The short story describes a poor but loving husband and wife who want to give each other the perfect Christmas gift. Della sells her beautiful long hair to buy Jim a platinum chain for his prize possession, a gold watch. Meanwhile, Jim sells his watch to buy a set of tortoise shell hair combs for his wife’s hair.
Three-party scoreable negotiation among three firms regarding the joint construction of an off-street parking facility; variation of “Three-Party Coalition”
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-party, single-issue distributive negotiation between two neighbors regarding the potential sale of a vacant lot; refinement of Appleton-Baker
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.
Armand Ciccarelli and Lawrence Susskind
Seven-person, multi-issue mediation among business, planning, environmental, and agricultural interests regarding growth management and comprehensive planning
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.
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
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.
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
A new conflict-management policy from General Mills, the food company behind products such as Cheerios, Bisquick, and Betty Crocker, may lead it to lose some friends on social media.
The manufacturer recently added language to its website alerting consumers that they relinquish their right to sue the company simply by downloading coupons, “liking” General Mills on Facebook, entering its sweepstakes, and interacting with it in other ways. In fact, GM later added terms suggesting that anyone who bought or used one of the company’s products would be required to resolve any dispute through informal email negotiation or binding arbitration, according to the New York Times.
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
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.
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
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.
Michael D. Landry
Two-team, multi-issue negotiation between representatives of two fictional countries regarding a disputed border and a military stand-off
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.
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”
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.
Elizabeth Gray, Mark Gordon and Bruce Patton
Two-party distributive and potentially integrative negotiation between principals over the sale of a house
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.”
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.
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.
Subscribe to Negotiation, the monthly newsletter of negotiation strategy that helps you build agreements and partnerships.
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.
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.
A large pharmaceutical company was engaged in licensing negotiation with a small biotech firm over the terms of a technology transfer.
When the talks reached a standstill over royalty rates, the two sides began an all-weekend marathon session.
Each side came armed with supporting arguments and data, but, by Sunday afternoon, they had failed to converge toward the center.
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.
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?
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.
This three-step approach to managing process issues in negotiations will reap significant rewards at the bargaining table.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Here’s an overview of some of the most interesting and challenging international negotiations of 2013.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
2013 witnessed a series of colorful mergers, acquisitions, and other deals. Here are 10 negotiations and negotiation trends from which business dealmakers can learn.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Although forecasting errors are extremely common, you can minimize their impact on your negotiations by following these three guidelines.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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
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.
An American company and a Japanese company formed a joint-venture to manufacture gauges and measurement equipment for sale in Asia.
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.
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.
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.