BATNA

In negotiation, BATNA refers to your “best alternative to a negotiated agreement,” or the best outcome you can expect if you fail to reach agreement at the bargaining table with your counterpart. An evaluation of your BATNA is critical if you are to establish the threshold at which you will reject an offer. Effective negotiators determine their BATNAs before talks begin.

When you fail to determine your alternative, you’re liable to make a costly mistake—rejecting a deal you should have accepted or accepting one you’d have been wise to reject. In negotiation, it’s important to have high aspirations and to fight hard for a good outcome. But it’s just as critical to establish a walkaway point that is firmly grounded in reality.

There are four steps to assessing your BATNA: List your alternatives; evaluate these alternatives; establish your BATNA based on these alternatives; and calculate your reservation value, which is the lowest-valued deal you are willing to accept. If the value of the deal proposed to you is lower than your reservation value, you’ll be better off rejecting the offer and pursuing your BATNA. If the final offer is higher than your reservation value, you should accept it.

One drawback to exploring your best alternative is in spending too much time and money in researching it. This can lead to a feeling of entitlement in negotiation, which may cause the negotiator to expect too much from the bargaining process.

Articles offer numerous BATNA examples and explore the concept of one’s BATNA, as well as how to effectively identify your BATNA in negotiations and how to use this knowledge effectively in any type of negotiation, whether in business, international, or personal negotiations.

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Managing Difficult Negotiators

Katie Shonk   •  04/02/2019   •  Filed in BATNA

difficult negotiators

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. If you’re skilled in BATNA negotiations, you’ll have an easier time dealing with such people. … Read More 

Negotiation Strategies for Dealing with Spoilers

Katie Shonk   •  04/01/2019   •  Filed in BATNA

batna

Amazon’s announcement on February 14 that it was backing out of a recent deal to build a major new campus in New York City was as bitter as a Valentine’s Day breakup could be. But the budding relationship between Amazon and New York didn’t have to end in acrimony and broken dreams, Harvard Business School … Read More 

Star Wars Stories: George Lucas and a Strong BATNA, Passed Over

Katie Shonk   •  03/28/2019   •  Filed in BATNA

BATNA

In negotiation, your best source of power is typically your best alternative to a negotiated agreement, or BATNA. When you are aware that you have an appealing alternative deal to the one you’re working on, you will be less tempted to accept an agreement that doesn’t meet your minimum requirements. A strong BATNA gives you … Read More 

What is BATNA?

PON Staff   •  03/12/2019   •  Filed in BATNA

BATNA

What is BATNA? Negotiations in which each counterpart has a best alternative to a negotiated agreement are scenarios in which the incentive to work together must exceed the value of alternatives away from the negotiation table. … Read More 

What to Do When Your BATNA is Not Good Enough

PON Staff   •  02/28/2019   •  Filed in BATNA

BATNA

The following question was featured in the “Ask the Negotiation Coach” section of the Negotiation Briefings newsletter, April 2010 issue. Question: What should I do when a negotiation seems to be all about price, I have no BATNA, and the other side knows it? … Read More 

The Hidden Hazards of BATNA Development

PON Staff   •  02/26/2019   •  Filed in BATNA

BATNA

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

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