Logrolling is the act of trading across issues in a negotiation, and it requires that a negotiator knows his or her own priorities, but also the priorities of the other side.
When negotiators encounter differences with other parties, they tend to view this as a roadblock. In fact, differences more often are opportunities to create value in negotiation. By making tradeoffs on their different preferences—a process known as logrolling—negotiators gain more of what they want by giving away something they care about less.
For example, suppose you represent a community group in conflict with a business over the potential deforestation of two parcels of land that the business owns. Your group values Parcel A for its greater species diversity relative to Parcel B. Thus, you should be willing to make more concessions on Parcel B to protect a greater swath of Parcel A.
Logrolling can also help with a partial impasse. For instance, a divorcing couple may efficiently divide up most of their assets, yet fail to resolve who should get several items, which remain in storage indefinitely. When a partial impasse occurs, valuable resources can be squandered and opportunities missed.
If one estranged spouse really wants the flat-screen TV, the other might not mind trading it for a treasured dining table.
We generally think of mediation as a dispute-resolution device. Federal mediators intervene when collective bargaining breaks down. Diplomats are sometimes called in to mediate conflicts between nations. So-called multi-door courthouses encourage litigants to mediate before incurring the costs – and risks – of going to trial.
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Logrolling is the act of trading across issues in a negotiation. Logrolling requires that a negotiator knows his or her own priorities, but also the priorities of the other side. If one side values something more than the other, they should be given it in exchange for reciprocity on issues that are a higher priority … Read More
Many people say they dread negotiating and avoid it whenever they can. Why? Typically, because they view negotiation as a competition in which one party’s gains come at the expense of the other party.
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Some of our most heated negotiations and disputes concern our core values, including personal moral standards, religious and political beliefs, and our family’s welfare. Business partners sometimes clash over the ethical standards they expect each other to uphold. Parents might forbid their teenager from attending a party during the pandemic. Friends may feel bitterly divided … Read More
Donald Trump campaigned for president in 2016 as the consummate dealmaker, vowing to renegotiate a new nuclear deal with Iran, forge new trade deals with countries ranging from China to Mexico to Japan, and reach creative agreements with the U.S. Congress. Nearly three years into his presidency, few of these promises have come to fruition. … Read More
In 2017, all eyes were on Washington as a president with a reputation as a dealmaker entered the White House. The following negotiations from the past year, both inside and outside of politics, caught our eye due to the broader lessons they offer business negotiators.
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No one expected Brexit negotiations to be simple. The talks, aimed at setting the terms of the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union, got under way in mid-2017, with Michel Barnier representing the European Union (E.U.) and David Davis leading the U.K. delegation. Negotiators have two years to come to agreement. After a few months, the … Read More
Astronomers consider Mauna Kea, a dormant volcano that rises more than two miles above the Pacific Ocean on the island of Hawaii, to be the premier site in the world for viewing the night sky. Due to the volcano’s high altitude and tranquil, dark nights, NASA and groups of scientists from around the globe began … Read More
So, you believe you’ve done everything you can do create value in your negotiation. You engaged in logrolling, making trades based on your and the other party’s different preferences on particular issues. You brainstormed new issues to add to the discussion, added a contingent contract, and proposed multiple offers simultaneously to identify which your counterpart … Read More
Negotiating in high alert
Negotiation is often characterized as a physiologically arousing event marked by pounding hearts, queasy stomachs, and flushed faces. We might assume that heightened physiological arousal would mar our negotiation performance, but this is only true for some, researchers Ashley D. Brown and Jared R. Curhan of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology found … Read More
Researchers have argued that negotiators learn more from cases and real-world experiences when they can take away an abstract version of the lesson. Such abstractions come from analogies developed across two or more different negotiation contexts, say Leigh Thompson and Dedre Gentner of Northwestern University and Jeffrey Loewenstein of the University of Texas, who propose … Read More
Understanding how to arrange the meeting space is a key aspect of preparing for negotiation. In this video, Professor Guhan Subramanian discusses a real world example of how seating arrangements can influence a negotiator’s success. This discussion was held at the 3 day executive education workshop for senior executives at the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School.
Guhan Subramanian is the Professor of Law and Business at the Harvard Law School and Professor of Business Law at the Harvard Business School.