Why It’s So Hard to Learn

By on / Teaching Negotiation

1. The Truth is Hard to Take

You’ve probably relied on your current intuitions about negotiation for years and years. The desire to change requires you to admit that you’ve made costly mistakes in the past – a realization that is bound to be unsettling. No surprise that most of us seek to avoid the truth about our negotiation deficiencies.

Discover the insights you need to deliver the most effective role-play simulations in our Free Report Teaching Negotiation: Understanding The Impact Of Role-Play Simulations, from Harvard Law School.

2. If It Isn’t Broken, Why Fix It?

Assuming you’ve reached a level of professional success, it’s likely that you have been praised in the past for your negotiating prowess. According to reinforcement theory, we tend to continue behaviors that reap positive rewards, such as raises and promotions. If your intuitive strategies have brought you to the top, you’ll tend to resist information suggesting that your judgment could be systematically improved.

3. The Desire for Balance

For those who have achieved some level of negotiation success, the idea that their skills could be lacking just doesn’t compute. In fact, balance theory suggests that we seek consistency when organizing our thoughts. To maintain cognitive balance, we are likely to avoid such hard truths.

Discover the insights you need to deliver the most effective role-play simulations in our Free Report Teaching Negotiation: Understanding The Impact Of Role-Play Simulations, from Harvard Law School.

Originally published in 2013.

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