positional bargaining

By on / Glossary

An approach to negotiation that frames negotiation as an adversarial, zero-sum exercise focused on claiming – rather than creating – value. Typically, one party will stake out a high (or low) opening position (demand or offer) and the other a correspondingly low (or high) one. Then a series of (usually reciprocal) concessions are made until an agreement is reached somewhere in the middle of the opening positions, or no agreement is reached at all. (Bruce Patton, Building Relationships and the Bottom Line: The Circle of Value Approach to Negotiation [Harvard University Press, 2004], 288)

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