About the Harvard Negotiation Project

By — on / Harvard Negotiation Project

James K. Sebenius

Associate Director
Daniel L. Shapiro

Global Negotiation
William Ury, Co-founder
Joshua Weiss, Co-founder

Co-Founder and Distinguished Fellow
Bruce Patton

Jason Cheng Qian

Senior Adviser
Mark Gordon

Sheila Heen
Douglas Stone

The Project, or HNP as it is commonly known, was created in 1979 and was one of the founding organizations of the Program on Negotiation consortium. The work of faculty, staff, and students associated with HNP routinely moves back and forth between the worlds of theory and practice to develop ideas that practitioners find useful and scholars sound.

Theory Building
HNP is perhaps best known for the development of the theory of “principled negotiation,” as presented in Getting to YES: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In, by Roger Fisher, Bill Ury, and Bruce Patton. First published in 1981, and now in its 3rd edition (Penguin 2011), Getting to YES outlines a commonsense approach to negotiation that has been read by millions of people in 35 different languages. In clear, straightforward writing, Getting to YES shows negotiators how to separate relationship issues from substance and deal with the latter by focusing on interests, not positions; inventing options for mutual gain; and using independent standards of fairness to avoid a bitter contest of will.

Other books by the HNP team include: Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most (Viking/Penguin 1999, 2nd ed., 2010), Getting It DONE: How to Lead When You’re Not in Charge (Harper Business 1998) and Beyond Reason: Using Emotions as you Negotiate (Penguin 2006).

Difficult Conversations, by Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton, and Sheila Heen, with a foreword by Roger Fisher, coaches readers on how to have those conversations they dread most, whether at work, at home, or across the backyard fence. Common examples of difficult conversations include issues around race, gender, or religion; interactions where emotions run high; and situations in which our self-image or sense of who we are in the world feels threatened. A national bestseller now available in more than 15 languages, the book explains why these conversations are so tough and offers a step-by-step method for handling them with less anxiety and more success.

Getting It DONE, by Roger Fisher and Alan Sharp (longtime colleague and organizational consultant), with John Richardson, instructs the reader on how to work effectively in teams and presents the method of “lateral leadership” — how to influence groups in a positive direction, regardless of your position in that group. The book coaches the reader on how to think through purposes; harness the power of organized thought; learn from experience; find valued roles for people that draw on their strengths; and offer feedback that truly helps.

Beyond Reason, by Roger Fisher and Dan Shapiro, teaches you how to use emotions to turn a disagreement – big or small, professional or personal – into an opportunity for mutual gain. They explain the five “core concerns” that lie at the heart of most emotional challenges. And, more importantly, shows you how to address these concerns to improve your relationships and get the results you want.

Education and Training
HNP pioneered the Negotiation Workshop course in the Harvard Law School curriculum and continues to offer a one-week version of the course each June through the Harvard Negotiation Institute (HNI). In addition, Sheila Heen, Bruce Patton and Doug Stone offer an advanced workshop on Difficult Conversations, which is also taught through HNI.

As part of HNP’s commitment to helping other teachers, HNP staff have developed a wealth of negotiation exercises, teaching notes, videotaped demonstrations, and interactive video and electronic lessons and made them available through the Program on Negotiation and Harvard Business School Publishing.

Real-World Intervention
From South Africa to Latin America, the Mideast to the Balkans, HNP has worked with individuals and governments on initiatives ranging from injecting a single idea at a crucial time to initiating and framing an entire process for dealing with conflict.

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