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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Negotiation Research: When Powerful Negotiators Cut Corners

PON Staff   •  04/12/2017   •  Filed in BATNA

Negotiators often are advised to seek out lots of information about their counterpart, including information about the other party’s power. One of the most important measures of power is a negotiator’s BATNA, or best alternative to a negotiated agreement—the ability to walk away, secure in the knowledge that you can get what you want somewhere … Read More 

Negotiation Research: When Many Alternatives Are Worse Than One

PON Staff   •  02/08/2017   •  Filed in BATNA

Negotiators are often taught that the more alternatives they have, the more fortunate they are. If it’s good to have one strong best alternative to a negotiated agreement, or BATNA, then it’s better to have many alternatives, right?
Not necessarily, results from a new study by Michael Schaerer of INSEAD and his colleagues show. In a … Read More 

In Platform Negotiations with Clinton, Sanders Was Victorious

Katie Shonk   •  12/20/2016   •  Filed in BATNA

With the 2016 Democratic National Convention now over, Vermont senator Bernie Sanders used the Hillary Clinton campaign’s fear of a divisive spectacle in Philadelphia to extract concessions on the party’s official platform and committee assignments. The senator’s tough dealmaking suggests an important negotiation lesson: Always know your BATNA and ZOPA in any negotiation. … Read More 

With Patient Approach, FBI Steered Oregon Occupiers Toward Their BATNA

Katie Shonk   •  03/10/2016   •  Filed in BATNA

The 41-day armed takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon ended on February 11 when the last occupiers surrendered. Federal authorities in six states also arrested seven others accused of being involved in the occupation, according to the Associated Press. The standoff had begun when Ammon Bundy and his followers took over the … Read More 

The High Cost of Bad Advice at the Negotiation Table

PON Staff   •  02/18/2016   •  Filed in BATNA

If you’re thinking about buying a house, one of your first moves may be to choose a real estate agent who can advise you through the process. If you want a big-name publisher to buy your book, you probably will try to sign on an experienced literary agent as your counselor and advocate. Less formally, … Read More 

In Negotiations with Ben Affleck, No Appealing BATNA

Katie Shonk   •  02/02/2016   •  Filed in BATNA

in negotiations with ben affleck no appealing batna

In negotiation, your best source of power is typically your best alternative to a negotiated agreement, or BATNA. Having a strong outside alternative enables you to walk away from a deal that doesn’t meet your needs or that would compromise your vision or ethics.

But when you are dealing with a negotiating partner who seems irreplaceable, … Read More 

Successes & messes: Adapting Ayn Rand

PON Staff   •  01/08/2016   •  Filed in BATNA

 

Do you have regrets about a deal you couldn’t quite bring to the finish line? If so, you might gain hope from this tale of a negotiator who nabbed a fresh chance to meet his goals more than 40 years after his initial negotiations collapsed.

A brief courtship

In 1972, the intrepid movie and television producer Albert … Read More 

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