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.
When negotiators get along well, creative problem solving is easy. When they become upset, however, they seem to forget everything they know about finding joint gain, to the point of giving up tangible wins simply to inflict losses on the other party. This is especially true in high-profile negotiations that turn nasty.
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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.
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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
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
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Some might argue that confrontation is inevitable. But a wide range of collaborative efforts around the country have shown that it can be avoided.
How can negotiators find their way into the trading zone quickly and easily?
One proven method is joint fact finding.
… Read More
Joint fact finding is a multistep, collaborative process for bringing together negotiating partners with different interests, values, and perspectives. Here are the five stages through which joint fact finding typically proceeds.
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