Dealmaking

Dealmaking is defined as the art of crafting deals through negotiations focused on an integrative, or value-creating process, rather than through distributive bargaining, or a haggling process. Dealmaking includes the range of activities both at the bargaining table and away from it that seek to bring two or more parties together toward some common end, whether it is the sale of an asset, a vendor agreement, or a merger between corporations. The Program on Negotiation emphasizes integrative bargaining in its dealmaking literature and teaches methods and techniques from this school of thought in its executive education courses.

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 and successfully closing a deal. Other critical factors in successfully making deals include strategic behavior – the unwillingness of one or both sides to make a best offer – psychological factors, lack of a deadline, poorly-prepared formal documents and refusal to allow the other side to make a graceful exit, even when they’ve agreed to your demands.

Strategies for successful dealmaking include tactics such as creating more value by exploring hidden interests and adding issues that appeal to your bargaining opponent. Another tactic is recruiting a third party mediator when the dealmaking process is at an impasse. Sometimes, Harvard experts find, it pays to be the first person to make an offer, while at other times, it pays to wait.

Articles from the Program on Negotiation focus on a vast array of dealmaking strategies, and explore the latest concepts such as expanding the pie, “negotiauctions,” anchors in negotiation and bartering.

See full description

Ask A Negotiation Expert: Dealmaking Secrets from Henry Kissinger

PON Staff   •  07/31/2018   •  Filed in Dealmaking

Recently, more than 1,600 international relations experts from across the political spectrum overwhelmingly rated Henry Kissinger, who served under former presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford, the most effective secretary of state of the last half-century. In their new book, Kissinger the Negotiator: Lessons from Dealmaking at the Highest Level (Harper, 2018), James K. Sebenius, … Read More 

Negotiation in the News: How Congress got to “yes” on new banking rules

PON Staff   •  07/31/2018   •  Filed in Dealmaking

It’s hardly news that in the U.S. Congress, bipartisan dealmaking has been virtually nonexistent for years. That’s why it was newsworthy when Democrats and Republicans came together to negotiate changes to the Dodd-Frank law, which tightened regulations on banks and other firms following the 2008 financial crisis.
Accounting for the opposition
After President Donald Trump took office, … Read More 

How to Write a Contract that Lasts

Katie Shonk   •  07/23/2018   •  Filed in Dealmaking

How to write a contract

Joint ventures, strategic alliances, purchasing agreements, and other types of partnerships between organizations often begin with a great deal of promise—and a hefty amount of risk. Serious misunderstandings and opportunistic behavior are relatively common in such relationships. Formal contracts offer a method for reducing such risk, but negotiators and their attorneys are often unsure about … Read More 

Negotiation research you can use: Promoting cooperation between teams

PON Staff   •  06/30/2018   •  Filed in Dealmaking

When a team negotiates on behalf of an organization, it can often achieve more than an individual would thanks to the team’s cumulative knowledge and experience. Yet team negotiations can create new problems. Groupthink—the tendency to go along with the dominant point of view rather than challenging it—can promote simplistic decision making in teams. And … Read More 

Deal Design: Strategies for Complex Dealmaking

Katie Shonk   •  06/18/2018   •  Filed in Dealmaking

complex dealmaking

As experienced negotiators well know, the more parties involved in a negotiation, the more difficult it often is to come to agreement, due in part to the logistical challenge of making sure each voice is heard. Yet multiparty negotiation offers considerable benefits. Most notably more opportunities for making tradeoffs and creating value in negotiation than … Read More 

Deal Design Guidelines: Set Yourself Up for a Better Deal

PON Staff   •  03/26/2018   •  Filed in Dealmaking

deal design

Without realizing it, we leave many of our most important decisions in negotiation up to chance. When talking to a potential negotiating partner, we may assume that we have met the best person possible to do this particular deal. We make tacit assumptions about whether we’ll negotiate in person, what we’ll discuss, how long the … Read More 

In the room where it happened: A tale of two meetings

PON Staff   •  02/28/2018   •  Filed in Dealmaking

March-18-1

On September 5, 2017, President Donald Trump announced that in six months he would phase out Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), the Obama-era policy that has shielded from deportation about 800,000 people brought to the United States illegally as children. Members of Congress seeking permanent protections for the so-called Dreamers covered under DACA then … Read More 

Would you like us to inform you when new posts become available?

We hate spam as much as you do. You have our promise not to sell or share your email address — ever! Please read our privacy policy.