Past negotiation research has found unequivocally that deception in negotiation is toxic.
When detected, lies and other forms of deception trigger negative emotions, prompt retaliation, and irrevocably damage trust between negotiators. But deception in negotiation isn’t always a simple issue of right and wrong. Nor is it always easy to detect, even within ourselves.
Because people respond strongly to their environment, personal standards for negotiation ethics often vary depending on the context.
For example, many of us may unknowingly adjust our ethical standards based on the negotiation context. And even though most negotiators strive to tell the truth, that doesn’t always hold up if they believe their counterpart is lying to them.
There are ways to minimize the possibility of deception in negotiation. One of the most beneficial is to promote a spirit of collaboration. Because competitiveness is linked to deception in negotiation, take steps to foster a collaborative, cooperative atmosphere right from the start. Negotiators are less likely to use ethically ambiguous tactics, such as making misleading statements or withholding the truth, when they know the other party well, trust her, and are concerned that the relationship could be damaged by dishonest behavior.
Keep in mind that it can be very difficult to prove someone is trying to deceive you. If you accuse your counterpart of lying, he will probably deny the charge, and you will end up in a heated disagreement.
Rather than calling your counterpart a liar, you might explain that you feel deceived, then talk about whether the deception was intentional or not,
Do you behave as honestly as possible in your negotiations? Do you view honesty as a critical attribute in your negotiation counterparts? You probably answered these questions in the affirmative: Like many of us, you view deliberate deception to be both unethical and risky.
… Read More
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
Promoting ethical negotiation behavior is one of the steps we can take to reduce the odds that someone will try to deceive us, and is likely to be a more fruitful strategy than trying to improve our ability to detect lies.
… Read More
Lack of transparency regarding negotiations between hospitals and the insurers known as preferred provider organizations, or PPOs, is a key contributor to spiraling health-care costs in the United States, back in a 2013 article in the New York Times. This topic has many questioning ethics in negotiating within the healthcare industry.
The problem starts with the … Read More
Ethical negotiators try not to use deceptive tactics in negotiation situations. However, there’s one negotiation technique that may not feel deceptive, but it can slip under the radar and cause problems later. We spoke with Francesca Gino, Tandon Family Professor of Business Administration, Negotiation, Organizations and Markets Unit at Harvard Business School. We asked her … Read More
Negotiation research suggests that e-mail often poses more problems than solutions when it comes to relationships, information exchange, and outcomes. Here is a case study of conflict management and negotiation about the challenges of building rapport with your counterpart when negotiating online.
… Read More
Why is sincerity important at the bargaining table and how do negotiators avoid deception in negotiations? Your counterpart may not realize that her behavior is unethical, and even when she does, she may justify her behavior as being ethical in this particular case.
… Read More
Negotiation researchers have refuted the widespread belief that honesty varies widely among individual negotiators. Rather, because people respond strongly to their environment, personal standards for negotiation ethics often vary depending on the context.
… Read Negotiation Ethics May Be a Slippery Slope
We know that anger leads negotiators to make riskier choices and blame others when things go wrong. In a new study, researchers Jeremy A. Yip and Maurice E. Schweitzer find that anger also leads us to engage in greater deception in negotiation—even when it’s not our counterpart who angered us.
In one of the study’s experiments, … Read Negotiation Research: A Downside of Anger
A lack of transparency regarding negotiations between hospitals and the insurers known as preferred provider organizations, or PPOs, is a key contributor to spiraling health-care costs in the United States, according to an August article in the New York Times.
The problem starts with the somewhat arbitrary, sky-high prices that hospitals put on their supplies and … Read Will you behave ethically?
As a partner at your growing law firm, you’ve been charged with negotiating the lease of much-needed additional office space in your building. The real-estate agent has informed you that if you don’t increase your offer by $10,000 by the end of the day, you’ll lose the space to another company. Is she bluffing, or … Read Are you being hoodwinked?
The Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School
501 Pound Hall
1563 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138
tel (if calling from outside the US) 301-528-2676