What’s Fair Ethics for Negotiators

An edited collection of writings on the topic of ethics in negotiation


What’s Fair is a landmark collection that focuses exclusively on the topic of ethics in negotiation. Edited by Carrie Menkel-Meadow and Michael Wheeler, What’s Fair contains contributions from some of the best-known practitioners and scholars in the field, including Sissela Bok, Gregory Dees, Roger Fisher, James Freund, Deborah Kolb, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Howard Raiffa, Alvin Rubin, James Sebenius, Richard Shell, and Lawrence Susskind.

The editors and contributors offer an examination of why ethics matter individually and socially, and explain the essential duties and values of negotiation beyond formal legal requirements. With perspectives from a range of disciplines, they explore the question of “what’s fair” at multiple levels, including:

  • What duty do we owe to our negotiating counterparts to tell the truth? To avoid deception? To disclose potentially damaging information?
  • What tactics and behaviors are permissible in negotiation? For instance, is it ethical in certain circumstances to bluff? To use financial or legal pressure to force settlement?
  • What duties and responsibilities arise with regard to the principal-agent relationship in negotiation?
  • What social influences affect considerations of distributional fairness in negotiation? To what extent, if any, should negotiators consider how their actions affect society at large?


Carrie Menkel-Meadow is professor of law at the Georgetown Law Center in Washington D.C., and associate editor of Negotiation Journal. She is the chair of Georgetown Center for Public Resources Commission on Ethics and Standards in ADR and director of the Georgetown-Hewlett Program in Conflict Resolution and Legal Problem Solving.

Michael Wheeler is Class of 1952 Management Professor at Harvard Business School, a member of the Steering Committee of the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School, and editor of Negotiation Journal.

“The assumption has long been made that even the most ethical of us will cheat during a negotiation. This book, What’s Fair, finally pulls together some of the most important papers dealing with this assumption into a single, badly needed volume. This is a book that should be read by everyone who negotiates or who cares about ethics. Which is to say, all of us.”
–David M. Messick, Morris and Alice Kaplan Professor of Ethics and Decision in Management, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University

What’s Fair is a long-awaited treasure — a definitive book of readings on the full universe of questions about ethics in negotiation, introduced and tied together with helpful essays and explanations by the editors. This book is essential reading for everyone in law and business who is concerned about the ethics of negotiation.”
–Gerald R. Williams, professor of law, Brigham Young University

“Carrie Menkel-Meadow and Michael Wheeler are at the forefront of scholarship and practice in negotiation. What’s Fair is requisite for anyone desiring to be informed on negotiation — and intent on doing the right thing.”
–James F. Henry, president emeritus, CPR Institute for Dispute Resolution

“Few professional endeavors are as ethically polarized as negotiation. This comprehensive volume offers theoretical and practical insights on how negotiators can do good at the same time as they do well for themselves and their clients.”
–Paul Brest, president, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and former dean, Stanford Law School

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 tnrc@law.harvard.edu 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 http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep2.html, or contact the PON Teaching Negotiation Resource Center at tnrc@law.harvard.edu, 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.