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.


joint fact finding

What is Joint Fact Finding?

How can negotiators find their way into the trading zone quickly and easily? One proven method is joint fact finding.

 Joint fact finding is a multistep, collaborative process for bringing together negotiating partners with different interests, values, and disciplinary perspectives. This process, which helps maximize joint gains, has proven successful in helping parties resolve disagreements, particularly highly technical ones.

Joint fact finding begins by engaging negotiators in a collaborative exploration of a project’s feasibility and merits during its earliest stages, with the help of outside experts, before everyone begins taking sides. Whenever parties are likely to disagree on the fundamental issues at stake, enlisting outside help for an unbiased view of the facts can be a crucial first step toward reaching a win-win deal.

How, specifically, does joint fact finding work? Negotiators jointly select and hire a team of experts to produce a shared assessment. The experts may interpret the data differently, but at least they are working from the same analysis. By developing assessments or technical analyses jointly, negotiators avoid talking past each other.

This approach helps educate parties about the science behind the issues at stake. In doing so, it spurs agreements that are more credible, creative, harmonious, and lasting than those developed using a traditional “adversary science” process. Although a shared set of unbiased conclusions doesn’t guarantee that parties will come to an agreement, it does ensure that they won’t dismiss technical matters out of hand.

One word of caution, though: Joint fact-finding may not be the right choice if the more powerful or knowledgeable party might seek to use it as leverage to maintain the power imbalance.

To learn more about mutually beneficial agreements and become a better dealmaker and leader, download 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.

The following items are tagged joint fact finding:

How to Create Win-Win Situations

Posted by & filed under Win-Win Negotiations.

In business negotiation, a win-win agreement may be the ultimate goal, but it can sometimes prove elusive. Here, we offer four strategies from experts at the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School on how to create win-win situations in even the trickiest negotiations. … Read More 

Integrative Negotiations: Dispute Resolution Through Joint Fact-Finding

Posted by & filed under Conflict Resolution.

Sometimes parties to a dispute disagree on key facts and forecasts but lack the technical or scientific expertise needed to come to a consensus. Suppose, for instance, that a developer is seeking to build a high-rise condominium building in a village that is experiencing a development boom. Longtime residents fight the proposal, arguing that another … Read More 

Top Ten Posts About Conflict Resolution

Posted by & filed under Conflict Resolution.

Conflict resolution is the process of resolving a dispute or a conflict by meeting at least some of each side’s needs and addressing their interests. Conflict resolution sometimes requires both a power-based and an interest-based approach, such as the simultaneous pursuit of litigation (the use of legal power) and negotiation (attempts to reconcile each party’s … Read More 

When High Prices Are a Bitter Pill to Swallow

Posted by & filed under Dealmaking.

There’s at least one thing that politicians as ideologically dissimilar as President Donald Trump and Senator Elizabeth Warren have agreed on: Prescription drug prices are too high in the United States. Americans pay about $1,200 per year, on average, for their medication, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development— about twice as much … Read More 

Alternative Dispute Resolution: Corporate Stakeholder Engagement and Mineral Extraction in Colombia

Posted by & filed under Dispute Resolution.

Corporations around the world are being pressed by their shareholders to do a better job of taking local concerns into account when they initiate mineral extraction projects. Indeed, both stakeholders and risk managers are demanding this. Many companies are now systematically assessing the concerns of a wide range of stakeholders and seeking to demonstrate (in … Read More 

Entrepreneurs: Prepare to overcome key negotiation challenges

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Briefings Articles, Negotiation Skills.

Start-ups and individual entrepreneurs often encounter roadblocks when negotiating with potential partners and investors. When you are trying to sell others on your big idea or venture, you face the daunting challenge of convincing them that it’s worth their time, money, and effort. And even as you’re drawing on all your powers of persuasion to … Read More 

How Not to Deal with Regulators

Posted by & filed under Conflict Resolution.

A major grocery chain wanted to build a new superstore on a 10-acre parcel in a suburban town that lacked any sort of food store. Using the design of one of its most financially successful stores as a template, and without consulting local planning or public safety departments, the company filed a completed application with … Read More 

Water Diplomacy: Creating Value and Building Trust in Transboundary Water Negotiations – Israel and Jordan, From War to Water Sharing

Posted by & filed under Conflict Resolution.

Most difficulties in water negotiations are due to rigid assumptions about how water must be allocated. When countries (or states) share boundary waters, the presumption is that there is a fixed amount of water to divide among them, often in the face of ever-increasing demand and uncertain variability. Such assumptions lead to a zero-sum mindset, … Read More