Win-Win Negotiations

Win-win negotiations are those negotiations in which each party walks away from the bargaining table having achieved its goals within the confines of an integrative, or value-creating, bargaining process rather than through a haggling, or distributive, bargaining process. Win-win negotiation is a principle feature of integrative bargaining and is promoted by the Program on Negotiation throughout its literature and research. Win-win strategies are all about increasing your opponent’s satisfaction even as you achieve the outcome you desire.

Using these strategies can also be a powerful tool of persuasion when faced with tall odds or powerful opponents. Examples of win-win negotiations are delivered throughout the Program on Negotiation site, from Mayor Michael Bloomberg versus the New York teachers’ union, to an end to the NHL lockout, to the use of win-win strategies in the intractable Middle East, to Disney Corp.’s purchase of Lucasfilm.

Some examples of win-win strategies:

  • Skilled negotiators manage expectations prior to and during a negotiation. Some managers do this instinctively. They also avoid making concessions too soon to avoid increasing their opponents’ expectations.
  • Ensure that our opponent perceives his outcome as beneficial by being modest about your gains from a deal, and commend your counterpart for his hard bargaining.
  • Give your negotiation counterpart a voice in the decision process. Even when you’re in a position of power, be sure to acknowledge your counterpart’s perspective and invite him or her to express his views, to suggest alternatives, and to react to initial proposals. You can also enhance perceptions of fairness after an outcome has been reached by providing detailed explanations for unappealing actions or outcomes.

The Program on Negotiation also discusses tactics such as this:

  • Share information: Instead of assuming your interests are directly opposed to your counterparts’ interests, provide information that could lead to wise tradeoffs
  • Reject the “fixed pie:” It’s easy to assume that the pie of resources to allocate is fixed; when in fact there are opportunities to expand the pie by creating value.
  • Avoid anchoring on the first offer: Don’t become overly affected by the first number entered into the negotiation.
  • Set concrete goals: By setting concrete goals in advance, you won’t be swayed by other’s influence tactics, vivid stories, and hard bargaining techniques.
  • Avoid dwelling on the past: Past investments should rarely affect our decisions about the future
  • Take your time: When you’re pressed into making snap decisions, your thinking will be more intuitive and less rational
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Dear Negotiation Coach: What is the Secret to Negotiating with Kids Successfully?

PON Staff   •  09/28/2021   •  Filed in Win-Win Negotiations

Negotiating with Kids

Some of our toughest negotiations happen away from the bargaining table. In fact, they may happen closer to our dinner table. We recently received a question from a reader about negotiation with kids, and asked Program on Negotiation’s Katie Shonk for some insight.

Q: I avoid using hardball tactics in my professional negotiations since they often … Read More 

Win-Lose Negotiation Examples

Katie Shonk   •  12/17/2020   •  Filed in Win-Win Negotiations

win lose negotiations

When we think of win-lose negotiation examples, we think of competitions in which it seemed that one party had to succeed and the other had to fail. In fact, in the majority of win-lose negotiation examples, a win-win negotiation was possible, but parties overlooked opportunities to create value. As a consequence, they reached subpar results. … Read More 

Win-Win Negotiations: Should You Consider a Deal Sweetener?

PON Staff   •  11/24/2020   •  Filed in Win-Win Negotiations

win-win negotiations

The following question was asked of Andrew Wasynczuk, MBA Class of 1953 and Senior Lecturer of Business Administration Harvard Business School in the Negotiation Briefings monthly “Ask the Negotiation Coach” column:
I run a midsized retail sports-apparel chain located in the southwestern United States. I’ve been searching for a seasoned executive to lead new store expansion … Read More 

Google’s Negotiations with Groupon: How Business Negotiators Can Maximize Value Claiming When Engaging in Integrative Negotiations

PON Staff   •  11/16/2020   •  Filed in Win-Win 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 … Read More 

Why Win-Win Negotiation Has Been Elusive in Covid-19 Vaccine Talks

Katie Shonk   •  10/26/2020   •  Filed in Win-Win Negotiations

win win negotiation

National governments across the globe face the challenge of securing enough doses of a safe, effective coronavirus vaccine when one or more become available. Many wealthier nations are taking a competitive approach to this negotiation challenge, jostling with each other to tie up deals with pharmaceutical companies for the most promising vaccine candidates. A coordinated … Read More 

5 Win-Win Negotiation Strategies

Katie Shonk   •  10/13/2020   •  Filed in Win-Win Negotiations

win-win negotiation

Business negotiators understand the importance of reaching a win-win negotiation: when both sides are satisfied with their agreement, the odds of a long-lasting and successful business partnership are much higher. But concrete strategies for generating a win-win contract often seem elusive. The following five, from experts at the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School, … Read More 

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