Seven Secrets for Negotiating with Government: How to Deal with Local, State, National, or Foreign Governments--and Come Out Ahead

Addresses the key variables involved in negotiating with government, from the influence of bureaucracy to the perception of power on the government side of the negotiating table

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Whether one is seeking a building permit from city hall or a multimillion dollar contract from the U.S. Defense Department, negotiation is vital to achieve one’s goals. Negotiating with government is not like negotiating with private persons and companies, however. For one thing, governments have special powers that no private person has. They are also subject to special constraints in the ways they can use those powers. For another, governments pursue very different interests in negotiations from those that a private company might seek. A first and fundamental challenge for any person negotiating with a government is to understand those special powers, constraints, and interests, and to use them in shaping a winning strategy.

In Seven Secrets for Negotiating with Government, Professor Jeswald W. Salacuse addresses the key variables involved in negotiation with government– from the influence of bureaucracy to the perception of power on the government side of the negotiating table. As the former Dean of the Fletcher School of Diplomacy at Tufts University and a faculty member of the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School, Jeswald Salacuse is a widely recognized expert in the field of negotiation. Using real-world examples drawn from City Hall to the Sudan, Salacuse reveals:

  • Ways to gain access to government officials and organizations
  • The seven rules for getting ready to negotiate with governments
  • How to determine and use government interests to your advantage
  • Steps to develop productive working relationships with government regulators affecting your business
  • The best way to secure government permits
  • When to use third parties like advisors and mediators in government negotiations


The government may have more power, but it does not necessarily have the upper hand. This book provides the tools that will help one to navigate this complex world and win.


"When it comes to negotiation, one size does not fit all. Special insight and skill is essential to winning regulatory approvals, government grants, and broad-based support for public-private initiatives. Jes Salacuse’s Seven Secrets for Negotiating with Government is packed with wise counsel for breaking impasses and getting things done."—Professor Michael Wheeler, Class of 1952 Professor of Management Practice at the Harvard Business School

"This outstanding work is comprehensive yet concise in providing highly practical advice for successfully negotiating with government bodies of every type. It is a pleasure to read and provides easy to comprehend examples of the how and why of negotiating with the government, whether it be locally or in a foreign country. Truly a unique work of great value that covers every area I have encountered in more than a quarter century of negotiating with governments around the world. A true road map to success for every negotiation."—Alan R. Crain Jr., Senior Vice President & General Counsel, Baker Hughes Incorporated

Seven Secrets for Negotiating with Government: Attributes

Author: Jeswald W. Salacuse
Publisher: New York: AMACOM/American Management Association, 2008