Destructive competition is, unfortunately, all too common in negotiation. However, it’s also very easy to avoid if we take the right steps.
First offers are a common trigger of destructive competition in negotiation. As many negotiators are aware, even an extreme or arbitrary first offer tends to pull counteroffers in its direction. Fearful of being taken advantage of, offer recipients often devalue their counterpart’s first offer, make aggressive counteroffers that are likely to be rejected, or walk away from the bargaining table. As such, first offers often get a negotiation off to a competitive start and stall or block the process of value creation.
It’s not just first offers, though. Often, destructive competition is triggered by single-issue negotiations where we want a “fair” outcome. Fairness concerns, which are often paramount for negotiators, can overshadow objective outcomes in our minds. But fairness judgments tend to be heavily influenced by our preferred outcome. For example, when two partners are dividing up a business, the partner who invested more money will probably believe she deserves a larger share of the pie—and so will the partner who invested more time. Consciously or not, we determine our preferences and then justify them on the basis of fairness.
This egocentrism is a key contributor to destructive competition.
One very simple way to avoid this problem is through making multiple equivalent simultaneous offers, or MESOs. In MESO negotiation, where multiple offers are presented simultaneously at the negotiation table, effective negotiators seek opportunities to create value. By making tradeoffs across issues, parties can obtain greater value on the issues that are most important to them.
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The following items are tagged destructive competition:
Negotiators often fail to recognize when it’s time to walk away from a negotiation dispute – a trap that can squander time, money, and reputations. Receive tens of millions of dollars in a mediated settlement, and you might rightly think you scored a victory.
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There are two common perspectives on negotiation that can seem at odds, leaving negotiators to decide between these options. But one way around this negotiator’s dilemma is through multiple equivalent simultaneous offers, or MESOs. Consider the following two perspectives on negotiation:
Following the finalization of a new trade agreement among Canada, Mexico, and the United States, … Read More
This negotiation case study demonstrates the power of coalitions to achieve objectives at the bargaining table. How can negotiators cooperate with bargaining counterparts to create value for both sides? Here is the strategy used by Wyoming ranchers to achieve just that.
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If there’s one thing that negotiators have practiced this year, it’s thinking on their feet. As our 10 notable negotiations of 2020 illustrate, the coronavirus pandemic left individuals, businesses, nonprofits, and governments trying to replace outmoded plans with more workable alternatives.
10 Notable Negotiations of 2020
10. Struggling to play ball. This year, sports leagues scrambled to … Read More
Salary negotiations are never predictable. Imagine that you are a sales rep with a company that is getting hit hard by a financial crisis. No one has been laid off yet, but everyone is nervous about that possibility. In an effort to save jobs, your sales manager has quietly proposed that everyone take lower base … Read More
As nations rush to slow the COVID-19 pandemic, treat victims of the virus, and develop cures, they face strong motivations to cooperate with one another rather than compete. Scientists and technical experts can help spearhead this collaboration, said Professor Paul Berkman, director of Tufts University’s Science Diplomacy Center, during a March 26 online talk hosted … Read More
An energy boom has hit the rural counties of the upper Ohio River Valley, resulting in a flood of investment in mineral leasing that is revitalizing economies and creating newfound prosperity for many landowners, Keith Schneider reported in the New York Times on June 4.
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