Negotiating Rationally



On the basis of their studies of the negotiation behavior of more than 10,000 executives and students over the past five years, Bazerman and Neale conclude that most managers tend to behave irrationally in negotiations. In this book they explore many of the common mistakes that negotiators often make, explaining how such irrational errors can be avoided. The authors use simulations and exercises to demonstrate how to avoid these pitfalls, primarily by focusing the negotiator’s attention on his or her opponent’s behavior and stressing that negotiators develop the ability to recognize individual limitations and biases.

The book is structured around the premise that negotiating rationally means making the best decisions to maximize one’s own interests. This includes knowing when it’s smart to reach an agreement and when it’s not, as well as knowing how to reach the best agreement possible in a given situation. The authors provide analysis of many common mistakes found in negotiations including escalation of commitment, anchoring and adjustment effects, framing, the availability of information, and the effects of overconfidence and negotiator behavior. For each chapter, the authors offer a set of guiding principles to guard against one’s own irrationality and to detect it in other parties. Employing a multiple of scenarios as a backdrop, the authors endeavor to emphasize that negotiation is a rational process.

In the first chapter of this book, the authors describe their overall perspective. They specify what negotiating rationally is and why one needs this skill. The rest of the book is organized in three sections:

In the first section, they answer the question: if a negotiator and his opponent don’t negotiate rationally, what errors can be expected? What can one do to eliminate them? The authors provide examples that provide the opportunity to audit one’s own decision processes in two-party negotiation.

In the second section, they outline general frameworks for thinking more rationally about negotiation. They focus on a particular negotiation to guide one through the necessary steps to evaluate when and how to reach an agreement, and when to walk away—in both cases, producing outcomes that are in one’s own best interest.

In the third section, the authors go beyond the standard two-party negotiation and look at the variety of settings and contexts in which executives must rationally negotiate with multiple opponents, issues, and constraints. Some factors they consider are expertise, emotion and fairness, multiple parties, negotiating through third parties, competitive bidding, and negotiating through action.

Finally, they close with advice on how to negotiate with irrational opponents and how to make all that has been presented about rational negotiation an integral part of one’s behavior.

PON Teaching Negotiation Resource Center

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Soft copy vs. hard copy

You may order this role simulation in either soft copy (electronic) or hard copy (paper) format. If you select the soft copy option, you will receive an e-mail with a URL (website address) from which you may download an electronic file in Adobe Acrobat PDF format. You will have one week to download your materials from when you receive the email. You are then only authorized to use, print, or share the materials as many times as the number of copies you purchase. The TNRC charges for use of this simulation on a per-participant basis. Therefore, you must purchase a separate copy of this simulation for each person who will be participating, regardless of the number of roles in the simulation. You will only receive a link to one electronic file, which includes all general instructions, confidential instructions, and any teaching notes for the simulation. You should separate out the instructions before distributing to participants.

If you select the hard copy option, you will receive paper copies of this role simulation via the shipping method you select.

For additional information about the soft copy option, please visit our FAQ section, or contact the PON Teaching Negotiation Resource Center at or 800-258-4406 (within the U.S.) or 301-528-2676 (outside the U.S.).

Please note: At the present time, Teaching Negotiation Resource Center soft copies are compatible with the following versions of the Adobe Acrobat Reader: English, German, French, Spanish, Swedish, Portuguese, Japanese, and Korean. If you have a different version of the Acrobat Reader, you may wish to download one of these at, or contact the PON Teaching Negotiation Resource Center at, 800-258-4406 (within the U.S.), or 301-528-2676 (outside the U.S.) for further assistance. This restriction does not apply to the freely available Teacher’s Package Review Copies.

Ordering a single copy for review

If you wish to review the materials for a particular role simulation to decide whether you’d like to use it, a PDF, or soft copy, version of the Teacher’s Package for the simulation is available as a free download from the description page of most role simulations and case studies. All Teacher’s Packages include copies of all participant materials. In addition, some Teacher’s Packages (but not all) include additional teaching materials such as teaching notes or overhead masters.

Ordering copies for multiple participants

To order multiple copies of a role simulation for use in a course or workshop, simply enter the total number of participants in the box next to “Quantity.” There is no need to calculate how many of each role is required.

If you are ordering hard copies, the Teaching Negotiation Resource Center will calculate the appropriate numbers of each role to provide, based on the total number of participants. For example, if you wish to order a 2-party role simulation for use with a class of 30 students, you would enter “30” in the box next to “Quantity.” You then would receive 15 copies of one role and 15 copies of the other role, for use with your 30 participants. As another example, if you ordered 30 participant copies of a 6-party role simulation, you would receive 5 copies of each role.

In the event that the number of participant copies you order is not evenly divisible by the number of roles in the simulation, you will receive extra copies of one or more roles. Participants receiving the extra roles may partner with other participants playing the same role, thus negotiating as a team. So, for instance, if you ordered 31 copies of a 2-party role simulation, you would receive 15 copies of the first role and 16 copies of the second role. One of the participants playing the second role would partner with another participant playing that same role, and the two would negotiate as a team.