Advanced Negotiation: Setup, Deal Design, and Tactics

By — on / DRD Tag Pages

Advanced Negotiation: Setup, Deal Design, and Tactics

Winter Half Course

James Sebenius

This course is designed for students who expect to analyze and participate in challenging business, financial, and international negotiations, sometimes with public and/or public-private aspects. It builds on the framework developed in the required first-year course, but develops far more advanced negotiation concepts and skills. It should be especially useful for students whose careers will involve the advisory and principal sides of investment banking; business development; venture capital, private equity, and entrepreneurial firms; foreign direct investment; alliances and joint ventures; as well as companies engaged in a range of cross-border transactions and relationships. The course will also help prepare students for challenging negotiations they may encounter at some stage in their careers when acting in public sector contexts or even diplomatic roles.

A central theme is how to deal effectively with difficult negotiators and genuinely hard negotiations. Course modules emphasize different aspects of meeting this challenge. One module will develop “at-the-table” tactics for handling hardball moves, incompatible positions, adversarial relationships, the lack of vital information, and cross-cultural frictions. A second module explores how sophisticated deal design moves can overcome impasses in order to create value on a sustainable basis. A final module develops more advanced concepts and skills for making effective “away-from-the-table” setup moves, especially to meet the challenges of cross-border negotiations and those that play out over time. Such challenges typically occur both “across the table” in negotiating “externally” with the other side(s) as well as “internally” within each side.

While many of the cases and exercises will be from familiar business contexts, the course will also develop insights and skills from the experiences of a subset of Harvard’s “Great Negotiator” Awardees, annually recognized by the Program on Negotiation (sponsored by Harvard, MIT, and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts). Possible examples include close analysis of Senator George Mitchell’s work in Northern Ireland; Bruce Wasserstein’s dealmaking at Lazard; Special Trade Representative Charlene Barshefsky’s negotiations with China over intellectual property rights; the efforts of Lakhdar Brahimi, Special Representative of the U.N. Secretary General, to forge a post-conflict government in Afghanistan; Ambassador Richard Holbrooke’s negotiations leading to the Dayton Agreement as well as his multiparty efforts to deal with unpaid U.S. dues to the United Nations; the Honorable Stuart Eizenstat’s negotiations over Holocaust-era assets in various European countries; U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Sadako Ogata’s quiet negotiations on behalf of refugees and internally displaced persons; as well as the complex negotiations by artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude to erect massive, controversial installations in California, Central Park, New York, Paris, and Germany. (Tuesday 10:05-11:25 a.m.)

Related Posts


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *