Learn how to negotiate like a diplomat, think on your feet like an improv performer, and master job offer negotiation like a professional athlete when you download a copy of our FREE special report, Negotiation Skills: Negotiation Strategies and Negotiation Techniques to Help You Become a Better Negotiator, from the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School.


bias

Bias is an inclination of temperaments or outlook to present or hold a partial perspective at the expense of (possibly equally valid) alternatives in reference to objects, people, or groups. Anything biased generally is one-sided and therefore lacks a neutral point of view. Bias can come in many forms and is often considered to be synonymous with prejudice or bigotry.

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Courses and Training

Harvard Negotiation Master Class: Advanced Strategies for Experienced Negotiators – November 12th-14th, 2018

Posted by & filed under Harvard Negotiation Master Class.

Strictly limited to 60 participants who have completed a prior course in negotiation, this first-of-its-kind program offers unprecedented access to experts from Harvard Law School, Harvard Business School, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology—all of whom are committed to delivering a transformational learning experience. By working closely with them, you will: … Read More 

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Negotiating About Pandas for San Diego Zoo

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Stephen Weiss and Sarah Tatrallyay This case study centers on the most challenging task for a negotiator: to reach a satisfactory agreement with a tough counterpart from a position of low power—and to do so in an uncommon context. The case concerns the executive director of a zoo in the U.S. who seeks two giant pandas, … Read More 

Free Report

NEW FREE REPORT! Salary Negotiations

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Discover how to refine your negotiation skills with this free special report, Negotiation Training: How Harvard Negotiation Exercises, Negotiation Cases and Good Negotiation Coaching Can Make You a Better Negotiator, from Harvard Law School. … Read More 

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What is Anchoring in Negotiation?

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

anchoring

What exactly is anchoring in negotiation, and how does it play out at the bargaining table? Consider this anchoring bias example from Harvard Business School and Harvard Law School faculty member Guhan Subramanian. While running a negotiation simulation in one of his classes, Subramanian noticed that one student spent a considerable amount of time explaining why … Read More 

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Negotiation Strategies for Women: Secrets to Success

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As a general manager of a business unit and the father of two daughters in college, I have no tolerance for gender bias in the workplace or anywhere else for that matter. At least that’s what I thought, until a women manager handed me the Negotiation Strategies for Women report that she recently received from … Read More 

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Using Principled Negotiation to Resolve Disagreements

Posted by & filed under Dispute Resolution.

principled negotiation

Parties can often reach a better agreement through integrative negotiation—that is, by identifying interests where they have different preferences and making tradeoffs among them. If you care more about what movie you see tonight, but your friend cares more about where you have dinner, for example, you can each get your preference on the issue … Read More 

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Sally Soprano: Role-Play Simulation

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Sally Soprano is a distinguished soprano who is now somewhat past her prime. She has not had a lead role in two years but would like to revive her career. The Lyric Opera has a production scheduled to open in three weeks, but its lead soprano has become unavailable. Lyric’s representative has requested a meeting … Read More 

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5 Good Negotiation Techniques

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negotiation techniques

You’ve mastered the basics of good negotiation techniques: you prepare thoroughly, take time to build rapport, make the first offer when you have a strong sense of the bargaining range, and search for wise tradeoffs across issues to create value. Now, it’s time to absorb five lesser-known but similarly effective negotiation topics and techniques that … Read More 

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How to Negotiate a Business Deal

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How to Negotiate a Business Deal

In late 2016 and early 2017, news stories abounded of companies that were having second thoughts about planned mega-mergers. Abbott Laboratories began looking for ways to exit its acquisition of Alere, citing investigations of the medical test maker, for example. And Verizon started rethinking its acquisition of Yahoo! following a data breach at the tech … Read More 

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Negotiating Rationally

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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 … Read More 

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Judgment in Managerial Decision Making (Eighth Edition)

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Behavioral decision research has developed considerably over the past 25 years, and now provides significant insights into managerial decision making. This book attempts to embed behavioral decision research into the organizational realm by examining judgment in a variety of managerial contexts. The first seven chapters of the book provide readers with an opportunity to examine … Read More 

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Blind Spots

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Blind Spots examines the ways we overestimate our ability to do what is right and how we act unethically without meaning to. This book suggests innovative individual and group tactics for improving human judgment. … Read More 

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Cognitive Biases in Negotiation and Conflict Resolution – Common Negotiation Mistakes

Posted by & filed under Conflict Resolution.

Cognitive Biases

Negotiators planning to engage in conflict resolution in a personal or business disputes should be aware of cognitive biases in negotiation, particularly when your dispute is being decided by a judge. Before doing so, you should consider carefully what psychologists, political scientists, and legal scholars have learned about judges from negotiation research and social science: … Read More 

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Westville

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John Forester and David Stitzel Three-person, three-issue, integrative, scoreable mediation among representatives of a homelessness task force and a neighborhood group, mediated by a planning department representative, over the terms of a proposed homeless shelter in their suburban town … Read More 

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Negotiation in Business: Ethics, Bias, and Bargaining in Good Faith

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

negotiation examples

As we’ve discussed in previous articles about negotiation examples in business, a negotiator’s beliefs concerning negotiation ethics are affected by cognitive biases. You probably can recall times when a negotiating opponent made what appeared to be a blatant misstatement. If you’re like most people, you assumed the person was lying to gain an advantage. … Read More 

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Rosenberg v. Lincoln Landscaping

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Pat Aaron Three-person small claims mediation between a landscaping company and its client over a disputed bill and quality of service … Read More 

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Leaves Before the Fall

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James K.L. Lawrence Lawyers negotiate terms of an employer/employee dispute. The primary characteristic of the Leaves Before the Fall simulation is that the facts set out in each representative’s “confidential instructions” are the same – identical in every respect. … Read More 

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Setting Standards in Negotiations

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negotiations

As the starting point from which all commercial transactions occur, from purchasing equipment to setting salaries, negotiation in business is an essential skill no matter what field a negotiator finds herself. Using an objective standard can strengthen your proposal and eliminate emotional bias. … Read More 

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Broken Benches

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Author(s): Marjorie Corman Aaron and JAMS/Endispute Four-person mediation and/or arbitration of a personal injury claim, among plaintiff, plaintiff’s lawyer, and counsel for defendant’s insurance company; arbitrator roles include possible plaintiff or defense bias … Read More 

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10 Popular Business Negotiation Articles

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business negotiation

Here are ten popular business negotiation articles on the Program on Negotiation website. Drawn from a variety of negotiation case studies as well as negotiation research, the following articles present negotiation examples in real life and offer strategies for engaging in integrative negotiations aimed at creating win-win scenarios for each party at the negotiation table. 1. … Read More 

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Deal Design Guidelines: Set Yourself Up for a Better Deal

Posted by & filed under Dealmaking.

deal design

Without realizing it, we leave many of our most important decisions in negotiation up to chance. When talking to a potential negotiating partner, we may assume that we have met the best person possible to do this particular deal. We make tacit assumptions about whether we’ll negotiate in person, what we’ll discuss, how long the … Read More 

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Teach Your Students Negotiation Psychology

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negotiation

The negotiation psychology of the parties at the table can contribute significantly to the likelihood of reaching an agreement. In Beyond Reason, world-renowned negotiator Roger Fisher and psychologist Daniel Shapiro advise “ignore emotions at your own peril. Emotions are always present and often affect your experience. You may try to ignore them, but they will not … Read More 

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Essential Negotiation Skills: Limiting Cognitive Bias in Negotiation Scenarios

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negotiation

In past articles, we have highlighted a variety of psychological biases that affect negotiators, many of which spring from a reliance on intuition, and may hinder integrative negotiations. Of course, negotiators are not always affected by bias; we often think systematically and clearly at the bargaining table. Most negotiators believe they are capable of distinguishing … Read More 

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Ethics and Negotiation: 5 Principles of Negotiation to Boost Your Bargaining Skills in Business Situations

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Ethics and Negotiation

Knowing the norms of ethics and negotiation can be useful whether you’re negotiating for yourself or on behalf of someone else. Each ethical case you come up against will have its own twists and nuances, but there a few principles that negotiators should keep in mind while at the bargaining table. … Read More 

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Managing Cultural Differences in Negotiation

Posted by & filed under International Negotiation.

managing cultural differences

It’s important to educate yourself about your counterpart’s culture so that you don’t risk offending her or seeming unprepared. At the same time, it would be a mistake to focus too narrowly when preparing for cross-cultural communication in business. Research on international negotiation can help us think more broadly when it comes to managing cultural … Read More 

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The Anchoring Bias Can Get Talks off to a Strong Start

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

anchoring bias

Should you make the first offer in a negotiation? Typically yes, abundant research on the anchoring bias suggests. What is anchoring in negotiation? In negotiations centered on price or another figure, the party who moves first typically benefits by “anchoring” the discussion that follows on her offer—even if the anchor is arbitrary. For example, the … Read More 

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Gender Discrimination: How to Reach a Negotiated Agreement

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As you know, gender stereotypes often enter the negotiation process. Women and men are perceived to, and often do, act differently in negotiations. Furthermore, gender-based discrimination—such as less pay, unequal treatment, and sexual harassment—is often a source of conflict. With the resources available through the Teaching Negotiation Resource Center (TNRC), professionals can learn how to … Read More 

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What is the Anchoring Bias?

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what is the anchoring bias

It may be the most burning question in business negotiation: Should you make the first offer? Traditionally, negotiators were advised to wait for the other side to make a first offer. According to this reasoning, the other side’s offer gives you valuable information about his goals and alternatives. More recently, however, research on the anchoring bias has … Read More 

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How to Balance Your Own Values in Negotiation

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

negotiation

What are the best negotiation examples from real life? Imagine that you’ve been negotiating the sale of a property that is owned by your company. The buyer has made an attractive offer that you’ve tentatively accepted. Your boss is pleased with the terms as they stand, but suggests that you go back to the buyer … Read More 

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Teaching Negotiation: The Art of Case Study Writing

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Jim Sebenius, the Gordon Donaldson Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School, and Director of the Harvard Negotiation Project, addressed these questions in his presentation at the NP@PON Faculty Dinner Seminar on October 7, 2010. His article, “Developing Negotiation Case Studies,” began as a memo to a novice case writer about how to write … Read More 

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Bullard Houses Role-Play Simulation Helps Researchers Explore Gender Inequality

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role play simulation

In a recent Slate.com article, writer and PhD in Psychology Jane Hu described the findings of a research study by Professor Laura J. Kray, University of California, Berkeley. Kray, along with co-authors Jessica Kennedy, PhD, and Alex Van Zant, PhD, investigated the role gender played in negotiation and focused specifically on whether the stereotype of women … Read More 

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3 Team-Building Techniques for Successful Negotiations

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team-building techniques

Newly formed teams are often encouraged or even required to engage in team-building techniques and exercises, which might range from volunteering at a nonprofit together to sharing little-known secrets about each other to building a tower out of marshmallows and spaghetti. Although such activities can be effective at building bonds and trust, they don’t do … Read More 

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For Better Job Negotiations, Improve Performance Reviews

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For Better Job Negotiations, Improve Performance Reviews

When you’re negotiating for a promotion or a raise, your manager is likely to draw on your most recent performance review—or conduct a new review—to determine whether you’re deserving. Such reviews are supposed to be objective, yet new research shows they are highly biased. Specifically, studies by Harvard Law School research fellow Paola Cecchi-Dimeglio show that … Read More 

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Announcing the 2017-2018 PON Graduate Research Fellows

Posted by & filed under Daily, Graduate Research Fellowships.

The Program on Negotiation Graduate Research Fellowships are designed to encourage young scholars from the social sciences and professional disciplines to pursue theoretical, empirical, and/or applied research in negotiation and dispute resolution. Consistent with PON’s goal of fostering the development of the next generation of scholars, this program provides support for one year of dissertation … Read More 

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How to Overcome Cultural Barriers to Communication in International Negotiations

Posted by & filed under International Negotiation.

how to overcome cultural barriers to communication in international negotiations

How to overcome cultural barriers to communication: As members of organizations and families, we all know from experience that even people with identical backgrounds can have vastly different negotiating styles and values. Nonetheless, we continue to be intrigued by the idea that distinct patterns emerge between negotiators from different cultures. … Read More 

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How Mood Affects Negotiators

Posted by & filed under Conflict Resolution.

What are social psychologists learning about the connections among emotions, negotiation, and decision making? Negotiation contributor Jennifer S. Lerner of Harvard Kennedy School and her colleagues have identified two critical themes. First, they have studied the carryover of emotion from one episode, such as a car accident, to an unrelated situation, such as a workplace … Read More 

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How Mediation Works

Posted by & filed under Dispute Resolution.

When negotiators can’t come to agreement but want to avoid an expensive, time-consuming, and potentially rancorous lawsuit, mediation is often their most logical choice. Mediation can help to resolve a wide range of disputes. … Read More 

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Beware Your Counterpart’s Biases

Posted by & filed under Conflict Resolution.

In the past we have encouraged you to ‘debias’ your own behavior by identifying the assumptions that may be clouding your judgment. We have introduced you to a number of judgment biases – common, systematic errors in thinking that are likely to affect your decisions and harm your outcomes in negotiation. Learn how to identify … Read More 

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Worst Negotiation Tactics of 2015

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negotiation tactics

Here are some of the worst negotiation tactics displayed during calendar year 2015 – from hard-bargaining, distributive negotiation strategies aimed at getting the whole pie to stonewalling strategies intended to stymy the development of a negotiated agreement. … Read More 

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Worst Negotiation Tactics of 2015

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negotiation tactics

Here are some of the worst negotiation tactics displayed during calendar year 2015 – from hard-bargaining, distributive negotiation strategies aimed at getting the whole pie to stonewalling strategies intended to stymy the development of a negotiated agreement. … Read More 

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Is Your Deal Too Good to Be True?

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

In an episode of the fictional HBO series Silicon Valley, partners in a red-hot technology startup, Pied Piper, receive funding offers from a number of venture capitalist firms. Raviga Capital is by far the highest bidder; its offer of $20 million values Pied Piper at a whopping $100 million. … Read More 

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Negotiation Situations: Examples of When Negotiators Assume Too Much

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negotiation situations examples of when negotiators assume too much

One pitfall is that decision makers often overlook others’ viewpoints. When we do take others’ thinking into account, we tend to assume that they know as much as we do. For this reason, marketing experts are generally worse than non-expert consumers at predicting the beliefs, values, and tastes of consumers. … Read More 

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Should Women “Lean In” to Create More Value in Negotiations?

Posted by & filed under Dealmaking.

In early 2008, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg began thinking about hiring Sheryl Sandberg, a vice president at Google and a former chief of staff for the U.S. Department of the Treasury, as the social-media company’s new chief operating officer. The two met several nights a week for almost two months to discuss Facebook’s … Read More 

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Conflict Resolution: Just what the doctor ordered? Bringing Judges Into Medical-Malpractice Negotiations

Posted by & filed under Conflict Resolution.

Medical-malpractice litigation can be a lengthy, expensive, and contentious process. Lawyers on both sides might spend months or years conducting discovery and deposing witnesses. As for settlement negotiations, they tend to occur late in the process and are often treated as a perfunctory step before a trial. … Read More 

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Conflict Management Techniques: Should You Take Your Dispute Public?

Posted by & filed under Conflict Resolution.

To turn up the heat on opponents, negotiators sometimes advertise their grievances. Here’s negotiation skills advice on when it’s a good idea to be vocal—and when to keep talks private. The decision seemed nonsensical. Early on the morning of March 7, 2010, with the Academy Awards telecast just hours away, the Walt Disney Company pulled the signal on … Read More 

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Why We Focus on Culture in Negotiations

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Adapted from “Coping with Culture at the Bargaining Table,” first published in the May 2009 issue of Negotiation. Why we focus on culture Why does concentrating on the other side’s culture lead to problems in negotiation? Consider that negotiators often focus too narrowly on the most obvious information about the task at hand. Such focusing failures lead negotiators to … Read More 

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In Career Dealmaking, Strike the Right Balance

Posted by & filed under Dealmaking.

Two stories emerged in the news this month that illustrate polar opposite attitudes toward negotiating salary and benefits in the workplace. First, a New York Times profile revealed that Ira Glass, the creator and host of the popular radio show “This American Life,” is highly uncomfortable earning a high salary. In recent years, Glass earned … Read More 

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For Detroit Pensioners, Dispute Resolution Pays Off

Posted by & filed under Dispute Resolution.

On April 15, Detroit city employees and retirees breathed a huge sigh of relief after the city’s emergency manager and its pension fund managers reached a deal that would significantly reduce proposed cuts to pension benefits, CNNMoney reports. Some civilian workers will face a 4.5% reduction in pensions and lose cost-of-living adjustments. Retired public-safety workers … Read More 

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Questioning Compromises

Posted by & filed under Conflict Resolution.

People often wonder if they should constantly monitor their decisions to avoid bias. The answer is no. Social heuristics serve a useful function, allowing our social interactions to run more smoothly. When it comes to minor decisions, go ahead and compromise. But when your organization is negotiating over important decisions and strategies, you must question the … Read More 

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Negotiation Design Dimensions: A Checklist

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Here the Program on Negotiation offers a checklist of negotiation design categories. Whether your overall negotiation design is decide-announce-defend (DAD) or full-consensus (FC), or a hybrid of both, raising these issues is usually preferable to falling into a set of important decisions by default. … Read More 

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Are You an Overconfident Negotiator?

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

In 1901, J.P. Morgan wanted to buy the Carnegie Steel Company from its founder, Andrew Carnegie. Carnegie was 65 years old and considering retirement. As Harold C. Livesay recounts in his book Andrew Carnegie and the Rise of Big Business (Little, Brown, 1975), when Carnegie finally decided he was ready to sell, he jotted down his … Read More 

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In Deal Making, Broaden Your Focus

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Imagine that you are in charge of renting a new location for a branch of your company in a nearby city. After researching the reputations of a number of local real estate agents, you meet with several and choose the one who seems most knowledgable and responsive. … Read More 

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Knowledge of Biases as an Influencing Tool

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Past Negotiation articles have highlighted many of the cognitive biases likely to confront negotiators. Work by researchers Russell B. Korobkin of UCLA and Chris P. Guthrie of Vanderbilt University suggests how to turn knowledge of four specific biases into tools of persuasion. … Read More 

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Conflict Management – Evenhanded Decision Making

Posted by & filed under Conflict Resolution.

As discussed in past articles, anchoring and framing can bias important decisions in negotiation. A buyer may make a more generous offer than she intended, for example, after a seller drops anchor on a bold demand. A litigant who focuses on his chances of winning in court – a positive frame – may be less … Read More 

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Negotiate for what you really want

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It may seem elementary, but one of the first questions you should ask when you’re thinking about negotiating for an important purchase is whether you truly want or need it. We tend to assume that future events—such as buying a new car or signing a seemingly important contract—will have a lasting impact on our overall happiness. … Read More 

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The Ambidextrous Negotiator

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Adapted from “Evenhanded Decision Making,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter, May 2006. As discussed in past issues of the Negotiation newsletter, anchoring and framing can bias important decisions in negotiation. A buyer may make a more generous offer than she intended, for example, after a seller drops anchor on a bold demand. A litigant who … Read More 

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Conflicts of Interest

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Max H. Bazerman (Jesse Isidor Straus Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School) and Deepak Malhotra (Associate Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School) (An excerpt from the book Negotiation Genius by Deepak Malhotra and Max H. Bazerman) When conflicting interests are involved, none of us is immune from the effects of personal or professional bias. In … Read More 

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Checking Your Ego

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Adapted from “When Self-Interest is Sabotage,” by Max H. Bazerman (professor, Harvard Business School), first published in the Negotiation newsletter. Researchers Frederick G. Banting and John Macleod were jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in 1923 for their partnership in the discovery of insulin. After receiving the prize, Banting publicly contended that Macleod, the head of their … Read More 

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Don’t Just Do the Math

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Adapted from “Do the Numbers Get in Your Way?” by Brian J. Hall (professor, Harvard Business School) and P. Trent Staats (vice president, Verenium Corp.), first published in the Negotiation newsletter. Consider the customer support center that sought to increase the number of calls it could process per hour without increasing its capacity. When the call … Read More 

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When Does Personality Matter?

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Adapted from “When Tough Talk Is Beside the Point,” by Hal Movius (instructor, The Program on Technology Negotiation, Program on Negotiation, Harvard Law School), first published in the Negotiation newsletter. Most of us intuitively believe that personality traits such as toughness matter a great deal in negotiation. Yet studies by Bruce Barry and Raymond Friedman of … Read More 

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The Power of Vivid Data

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations, Daily.

Adapted from “What’s Really Relevant? The Role of Vivid Data in Negotiation,” by Max H. Bazerman (professor, Harvard Business School), first published in the Negotiation newsletter. Students at top business schools are in an enviable position to negotiate for issues central to their careers and personal happiness. After all, they’re bright, well-trained, and highly sought after … Read More 

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Beware Your Lawyer’s Biases

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

Parties in litigation are often overly optimistic about their chances of winning in court. This tendency reduces the bargaining range for settlement because one or both parties perceive their walkaway alternative (namely, letting the courts decide) to be more attractive than it actually is. According to conventional wisdom, lawyers can help their clients overcome this … Read More 

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When We Expect Too Much

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

How often have you heard a friend or colleague refer to a contract as being “in the bag,” only to find out later that the deal didn’t go through? There always turns out to be a good reason a negotiation fell apart. Yet the fact remains that most negotiators are overconfident about their chances of … Read More 

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Is that really what you want?

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Adapted from “You Need to Know What You Want,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter. Do you really know what you want out of life? Most of us don’t, according to Timothy D. Wilson and Daniel T. Gilbert, psychology professors at the University of Virginia and Harvard University, respectively. The impact bias describes the common, systematic … Read More 

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Gender matters

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

Adapted from “Gender Assertiveness and Implicit Sexism,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter. Most gender research in negotiation has examined differences between women and men, such as the tendency of women to be more anxious about the process and to set lower aspirations than men. The question of how people react to female negotiators versus … Read More 

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Why We Misjudge What’s Fair

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

Researchers Frederick G. Banting and John Macleod were jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in 1923 for their partnership in the discovery of insulin. After receiving the prize, Banting publicly contended that Macleod, the head of their laboratory, had been more of a hindrance in the research than a help. For his part, Macleod, in speeches … Read More 

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Negotiation Journal July issue focuses on mediation, multi-party negotiation, trade negotiations and curiosity

Posted by & filed under Daily, Mediation.

As the use of mediation continues to grow, researchers continue to examine what makes mediators effective and what the impact of mediation is on parties in dispute. Four articles in the July 2009 issue of Negotiation Journal provide an in-depth view of mediation effectiveness, with some interesting findings. In the first article, Stephen Goldberg, Margaret Shaw, … Read More