Michael Wheeler

Michael Wheeler

M.B.A. Class of 1952 Professor of Management Practice, Harvard Business School

Since 1993, Michael Wheeler has taught negotiation and a variety of executive courses at Harvard Business School, and in recent years, has served as the faculty chair of the first-year M.B.A. program and as a Senior Fellow at PON.  He has also taught at Harvard Law School, MIT, the University of Colorado, and the Politecnico di Torino, Italy. Specializing in negotiation dynamics, dispute resolution, and ethics, Wheeler is the author or co-author of nine books, including The Art of Negotiation: How to Improvise Agreement in a Chaotic World (Simon and Schuster). His text Environmental Dispute Resolution (with Lawrence Bacow) won the CPR-ADR’s annual award as the best book on negotiation. He has also written scores of negotiation exercises, cases, and self-assessment tools on topics ranging from nonverbal communication and complexity theory to the parallels between negotiation strategy and jazz.

Wheeler taught at MIT’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning from 1981 to 1994, where he was director of research at MIT’s Center for Real Estate Development. Previously he was director of education and research at the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy and professor law at New England Law School. Wheeler has appeared extensively on public television in Boston and elsewhere, been a panelist for the American Arbitration Association, and has served as a mediator or arbitrator in a variety of business and regulatory disputes in the United States and abroad.


B.A., Amherst College

J.D., Boston University

LL.M., Harvard Law School

Research interests

Complexity, conflict management, dispute resolution, negotiation dynamics, psychodynamics, improvisation, organizational design, ethics, lie detection in negotiation, emotions at the bargaining table

Selected publications

  • “Poise under Pressure.” Negotiation 9, no. 12 (December 2006): 1–3.
  • With Nancy J. Waters. “Origins of a Classic: Getting to Yes Turns 25.” Negotiation Journal 22, no. 3 (October 2006): 475–481.
  • With Lakshmi Balachandra. “What Negotiators Can Learn from Improv Comedy.” Negotiation 9, no. 8 (August 2006): 1–3.
  • “Closing the Deal.” Negotiation 9, no. 4 (April 2006): 2–5.
  • “Is Teaching Negotiation Too Easy, Too Hard, or Both?” Negotiation Journal 22, no. 2 (April 2006): 187–197.



One Response to “Michael Wheeler”

  • Greg W.

    In your Sunday Minute your likening negotiations to jazz was spot on and very clever. As a mediator i always thought of myself as a conductor following the script and allowing parties to deal with the issues. But as a negotiator you need to have the skills of a jazz muso in order to create the artistic effect.


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