How to rise above your differences and carve out a mutually beneficial agreement
What exactly is a mutually beneficial agreement?
Some negotiation experts would have you believe that a mutually beneficial agreement is one in which each side grabs as much as it can from a finite pot of resources and calls it a day. But when negotiators bring a win-lose mindset to the negotiation table, they often fail to reach a mutually beneficial agreement.
Contrary to what negotiators often assume, you don’t have to lean toward either creating value or claiming value. Rather, by using a number of well-tested negotiation moves, you can help the other side benefit from a deal while also claiming substantially more value for yourself.
The following four strategies can help us reach mutually beneficial outcomes in a business negotiation between groups.
1. Embrace a Shared Identity or Goal. When launching a group negotiation, discuss the overarching goal you share with members of the other group or groups.
2. Separate Sacred from Pseudo-sacred Issues. Many of the issues negotiators consider sacred are actually pseudo-sacred. That is, the issues are off-limits in some but not all conditions.
3. Try the “GRIT” Strategy. The GRIT strategy (Graduated Reduction in Tension” begins by communicating your sincere desire to reduce conflict by making a small, one-sided, and public concession to the other group
4. Take advantage of logrolling. Logrolling is the process of making beneficial trades across issues based on an understanding of each other’s preferences. 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 to their opponent.
What can business negotiators learn from current negotiations in the news? Quite a bit, according to the dozens of negotiation experts who contributed to the January 2019 special issue of the Negotiation Journal, entitled “Negotiation and Conflict Resolution in the Age of Trump.”
Negotiation is one of the most complex yet important skills to learn. Even individuals who are “born negotiators” need to practice and acquire new strategies to get some deals done. In Getting the Deal Done, you’ll discover bargaining strategies that have been used by many of the world’s most successful leaders.
Looking to update your curriculum with innovative new simulations? Check out these new simulations from the Teaching Negotiation Resource Center (TNRC).
Ren the Robot – New Simulation
Ren the Robot is a one-and-a-half hour, two-party, multi-issue negotiation between a Tokyo-based robotics company, Grubotics, and a U.S.-based tech company, Delivered, over a potential acquisition deal. It is designed to … Read
The experts and editors from Harvard’s Program on Negotiation offer a sampling of advice to help you learn to foster relationships by building rapport, manage conflict in long-term relationships and negotiate business decisions with family members.
Negotiation advice is often “one size fits all,” yet we approach negotiations with vastly different experiences and traits. How do individual differences in negotiation play out? In one study, Washington University professor Hillary Anger Elfenbein and her colleagues found evidence that individual differences, including personality, accounted for an impressive 49% of the variance in negotiators’ … Read
Harborco is a consortium of development, industrial, and shipping concerns that are eager to proceed with the building of a new port, but face hurdles and potential opposition as they advance through the licensing process. The Federal Licensing Agency would like to see them work with other stakeholders to develop a project that is acceptable … Read
BATNA negotiations involve a negotiators knowledge of her best alternatives to a negotiated agreement and are one of three sources of negotiating power at the bargaining table, according to negotiation researcher Adam D. Galinsky and New York University’s Joe C. Magee.
When an important negotiation is looming, “winging it” is never the answer. The best negotiators engage in thorough negotiation preparation. That means taking plenty of time to analyze what you want, your bargaining position, and the other side’s likely wants and alternatives.
If you’re looking to get more leverage out of your next job negotiation, the noncompete agreement that may very well be tucked inside your employment contract could provide an opportunity to achieve the mutually beneficial win-win situation you desire.
Discover how to build a winning team, find an effective negotiation “coach,” budget for negotiations training and boost your business negotiation results in this free special report from Harvard Law School.
New from the Teaching Negotiation Resource Center (TNRC), Ren the Robot is a one-and-a-half hour, two-party, multi-issue negotiation between a Tokyo-based robotics company, Grubotics, and a U.S.-based tech company, Delivered, over a potential acquisition deal. It is designed to be conducted using online video conferencing. The use of online video conference technology highlights the conveniences … Read
How do you move from an emotionally charged moment in a negotiation to a mutually beneficial agreement?
In negotiations of all types, whether buying a house or negotiating a company acquisition, emotions naturally manifest. Left unaddressed, emotions can derail a negotiation and make agreement seem impossible. When emotions are managed properly, however, they can allow the … Read
In MESO, negotiation in which 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.
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.
Worldwide, mediation has become a common means of resolving conflict, ranging from divorce to workplace disputes to broken contracts. Yet mediation remains an underused tool for resolving disputes in U.S.
What’s the best way to claim more money in a negotiation? Many professional negotiators would recommend hard-bargaining tactics, such as asking the other party to disclose their bottom line, standing firm on price, and threatening to walk away. But truly great negotiators recognize that using haggling strategies alone may leave significant money on the table. … Read
In business negotiation, two polar-opposite errors are common: reaching agreement when it wouldn’t be wise to do so, and walking away from a mutually beneficial outcome.
How can you avoid these pitfalls? Through careful preparation that includes an analysis of the zone of possible agreement, or ZOPA in business negotiations.
Introductory negotiation courses are taught in law and business schools around the world, but are also increasingly taught to undergraduates and in all types of corporate settings. No matter the context, though, the basic elements of negotiation are roughly similar. Teaching interest-based negotiation, the Zone of Possible Agreement (ZOPA), the Best Alternative to a Negotiated … Read
Introducing a new way to go in-depth when teaching the most important negotiation concepts and to measure learning outcomes.
If you are new to teaching negotiation or are looking to go in-depth on teaching key concepts, the All-In-One Curriculum Package will provide you with everything you need. The Teaching Negotiation Resource Center has created All-In-One Curriculum … Read
Sometimes a negotiation is all about managing perceptions. As this question below shows, focusing a counterpart on his own BATNA can persuade him to reduce the intensity of his hard-bargaining tactics.
Q: A customer is pressuring me to make a deal fast. I don’t want to be forced into a one-sided agreement and prefer to reach … Read
Should you make the first offer in a negotiation? What about multi-issue negotiations?
It’s not a trivial question. The negotiator who makes the first offer can powerfully anchor the discussion in her favor, research has found. In fact, the first offer accounts for between 50% and 85% of the variance in a negotiation’s final outcome, Adam … Read
According to Dacher Keltner of the University of California at Berkeley and his colleagues, power in negotiation affects two primary neurological regulators of behavior: the behavioral approach system and the behavioral inhibition system. Powerful negotiators demonstrate “approach related” behaviors such as expressing positive moods and searching for rewards in their environment.
When determining the best alternative to a negotiated agreement or BATNA (the point at which the negotiators ought to walk away from the table), executives should check in with key organizational leaders.
How can you uncover additional value, make useful trades, and put together a package that exceeds your party’s expectations? Here are four integrative negotiation strategies for value creation that all negotiators should add to their toolkit.
Are extroverts by nature better negotiators than introverts? Or are they at a disadvantage in negotiation? As we’ll see, the answer is far from decided. However, we all have clear opportunities to build on our own strengths and learn from those of others.
Introversion is a personality trait marked by a desire to think through ideas … Read
Will Elon Musk have to buy Twitter or won’t he? That’s the $44 billion dollar question at the heart of a legal battle between the Tesla and SpaceX founder and the ubiquitous social media platform. But a deeper question has been largely overlooked in media coverage of the story: From the mess the parties have … Read
A reservation point negotiation is a bargaining scenario in which each side is trying to reconcile the other’s highest offer and the other’s lowest price. This negotiation example can apply to many other bargaining situations and demonstrates the value of open communication with your counterpart at the negotiation table.
Example of negotiation in daily life: Imagine you’re about to negotiate with a competing firm about a possible merger. You enter the conference room and find a reasonable and fair representative from the other company, someone you’ve reached mutually beneficial agreements with in the past.
Creating value is the name of the game in integrative negotiations but these principles can also apply to the highly competitive realm of business negotiations. In the business world, why is competition so often the norm, while cooperation seems like an impossible goal?
Consider negotiation questions you might overhear in a typical business negotiation:
■ “ You want how much for that order?”
■ “Can you see what an excellent offer this is?”
■ “Are you ready to take this deal, yes or no?”
It’s not difficult to see the limitations of these negotiation questions. The first one is likely to promote … Read
When disputes arise, negotiators face the difficult question of whether to try to reach a settlement on their own or hand decision-making power over to a judge, a jury, or an arbitrator. Parties often benefit from settling their disputes before going to court, write Robert H. Mnookin, Scott R. Peppet, and Andrew S. Tulumello in … Read
When a team negotiates on behalf of an organization, it can often achieve more than an individual would, thanks to team members’ cumulative knowledge and experience. Yet team negotiation can create new problems. Groupthink—the tendency to go along with the dominant point of view rather than challenging it—can promote overly simplistic decision making in teams … Read
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
In multi-issue business negotiations, research suggests that the advantage goes to negotiators with a reputation for collaboration rather than competition. In a series of studies by Catherine H. Tinsley and Kathleen O’Connor, participants were told they would be negotiating with someone who had either a tough reputation, a cooperative reputation, or an unknown reputation. Although … Read
Imagine that you are about to enter into a negotiation. Unbeknown to your counterpart, the stakes are particularly high because you are dealing with difficult situations behind the scenes. Maybe your organization is struggling financially and needs a break to stay in the black. Or you are planning to ask for a raise to help … Read
At the time, it seemed to be an example of coolheaded dealmaking in the midst of disaster. In 2009, hit hard by the 2008 financial crisis and changes in consumer preferences, U.S. automaker Chrysler was on the brink of collapse. The U.S. Treasury Department stepped in to run a crisis negotiation. In exchange for about … Read
Over the years, what many believe to be Jesus’s tomb in Jerusalem’s Old City has been the site of tensions that have at times escalated into violence. Inside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Greek Orthodox, Armenian Orthodox, and Roman Catholic communities guard the shrine surrounding the tomb, which they consider the holiest site in … Read
Business disputes don’t have to be antagonistic. Nor does litigation need to be the go-to method of solving conflicts. Thoughtful negotiation can often often result in an amicable solution. To see the difference between two different conflict resolution styles, take a look at two real-life copyright cases in the music industry.
Imagine that you’re an up-and-coming … Read
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
In-depth Teaching Materials with Real Time Data Analytics Designed to Enhance Teaching Negotiation
From the Teaching Negotiation Resource Center (TNRC) at PON, and iDecisionGames: digitally enhanced simulation packages designed to take your teaching to the next level.
The Enhanced Simulation Package from the TNRC and iDecisionGames brings a new, interactive learning experience to teaching negotiation. This easy … Read
In the high-stakes world of mergers and acquisitions (M&As), negotiation missteps can amplify into disasters, and lucky breaks into triumphs. As a result, there is much that business negotiators can learn from stories of M&A negotiation strategy in the news. To take one case study, the 2015-2016 bidding war between hotel chain Marriott International and … Read
For value creation in negotiation, you may need to look beyond your greatest source of power. You may have learned— perhaps in this newsletter or in Roger Fisher, William Ury, and Bruce Patton’s landmark negotiation book Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In (Penguin, 1991)—that your most powerful asset is often a strong BATNA, or … Read
We hear a lot about the benefits of telling the truth in negotiations. But some negotiators find themselves struggling with the question of how trusting to be. Is there a benefit to mistrust in negotiation? Should you always assume your counterpart is telling the truth?
In negotiation, our outcomes depend in large part on our ability … Read
Those who favor an authoritarian leadership style, also known as an autocratic leadership style, tend to believe their approach to management is more efficient and decisive than a more collaborative leadership style. But because a top-down approach can heighten the power differential between leaders and those who report to them, it often backfires, generating resentment … Read
During the 2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump blamed the trilateral North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) among Canada, Mexico, and the United States for the U.S. trade deficit with Mexico and for lost American manufacturing jobs. Upon taking office, Trump said he was determined to either engage in renegotiation of NAFTA or walk away from the … Read
Leonardo da Vinci’s painting Salvator Mundi has long been shrouded in mystery. The 16th-century portrait of Jesus Christ periodically disappeared over hundreds of years before being mistakenly sold at auction as another artist’s work for just £45 in 1958. In 2005, art dealers purchased the damaged painting for approximately $10,000 in an estate auction. After … Read
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.
Teach Your Students to Negotiate One of the Most Critical Global Industries
With an ongoing pandemic devastating communities around the world, the acute importance of the healthcare industry to community welfare has become even more apparent. Healthcare is one of the biggest economies in the world, with billions of dollars spent on treatments and associated research. … Read
Promoting ethical negotiation is one of the steps we can take to reduce the odds that someone will try to deceive you, and is likely to be a more fruitful strategy than trying to improve your ability to detect lies.
Negotiators tend to view lies on a spectrum ranging from marginally acceptable to egregious. Certain types … Read
It’s the most wonderful time of the year, or so they say. As we look ahead to winter vacation and seemingly endless days of family celebrations, many feel a sense of dread, anticipating tensions and conflict as drearily predictable as overcooked turkey and practical gifts. Even those who look forward to family get-togethers often end … Read
Gender can play a complex role in workplace dynamics, and so teaching students about how to approach these issues is critical. The Casino simulation, available from the Teaching Negotiation Resource Center (TNRC), has been widely used to teach participants about the role gender can play in the workplace. Now there is a new, updated version which … Read
At the Program on Negotiation, we urge you to aim higher by combining such competitive value-claiming with collaborative value creation. Not because it’s the “nice” thing to do, but because it’s been proven to be the best path to a truly mutually beneficial agreement.
When figuring out how to deal with cultural differences in negotiation, it helps to consider the cultural prototypes represented at the bargaining table—but individual differences count, as well.
Policymakers, practitioners, and academics have seized on the need for peacebuilding negotiation strategies in international negotiation to be as complex and adaptive as the societies within which they work.
As a result, there are loud calls for “whole of government” or “whole of community” approaches that cross traditional sectoral boundaries. The problem is that these approaches are … Read
Emotional flooding – when strong, specific, and often negative feelings overwhelm us – poses obvious hazards to negotiators, who need to be able to think clearly when faced with the complex, strategically demanding task of creating and claiming value.
For this reason, emotional regulation can be an essential component of negotiation.
But different types of regulation create … Read
In group negotiation, turf battles—heated conflicts over territory, control, rights, or power—are common. Department heads clash over scarce resources. Companies, community groups, and governments get tied up in lawsuits over undeveloped land. Across the globe, fishing groups have depleted fish stocks in their rush to catch the biggest share for themselves.
What are social psychologists learning about the connections among emotions, negotiation, and decision making? Negotiation contributor Jennifer S. Lerner of Harvard Kennedy School and her colleagues have identified two critical themes. First, they have studied the carryover of emotion from one episode, such as a car accident, to an unrelated situation, such as a workplace … Read
David Schwimmer, the actor who played Ross on the hit television comedy Friends, famously convinced the show’s five other leads in the early years of its run to negotiate their contracts with NBC as a team. The “mini union” formed by the actors ultimately helped them negotiate an unprecedented $1 million each per episode during … Read
We often enter negotiations with a new counterpart with excitement. Unfortunately, our high expectations are sometimes dashed when our new negotiating partner exhibits behavior that’s puzzling, upsetting, or downright bizarre. A trio of new articles by negotiation scholars offers advice that can help us respond effectively to bargaining partners who threaten to throw us off … Read
Looking for ways to get more value out of your sales negotiations? You may be able to do so by negotiating a right of first refusal.
A right of first refusal, also known as a matching right or right of first offer, is a contractual guarantee that one party to a business deal can match … Read
This spring and summer, professional sports leagues scrambled to negotiate deals with players’ unions to start or resume their seasons with health, financial, and logistical accommodations for the Covid-19 pandemic. Most reached mutually agreeable deals, with some bumps in the road.
Then there was Major League Baseball (MLB).
As they tried to work out when the 2020 … Read
The numbers are staggering: As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, unemployment in the United States rose from 3.5% in February to 14.7% by the end of April, the highest rate since the Great Depression. The number of unemployed Americans leapt to 23.1 million by the end of April, according to the Labor Department. With many … Read
Exercises designed to build trust and rapport are often touted as the key to business team building and improved business skills. Such exercises—from falling backwards into the arms of teammates to competing in scavenger hunts—can be effective at onboarding new employees, overcoming cultural barriers, and strengthening existing teams.
But not all business team building efforts need … Read
When weighing our options in negotiation, we try to focus on what matters most to us over the long term. Yet aspects of the decision-making process, many of them irrelevant, can interfere with our best judgment. In particular, the number of options we’re facing, the quest for the “perfect” choice, and status concerns can all get … Read
In negotiation, awareness of your BATNA, or your best alternative to negotiated agreement, is often your greatest source of power. What is a BATNA in negotiation? It can be thought of as the best back-up plan you can reasonably expect to achieve. Think of a solid job offer that you plan to accept if your … Read
When trust between negotiators is low and rancor is high, they may have difficulty accepting a mutually beneficial deal even as it stares them in the face. As 2019 drew to a close, House Democrats were trying to come to terms with a renegotiated North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) that checked off many important boxes … Read
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
When they think of negotiation, many people imagine a positional bargaining scenario where two people are haggling back-and-forth over the price of an item, both refusing to budge. In positional bargaining, “each side takes a position, argues for it, and makes concessions to reach a compromise,” write Roger Fisher, William Ury, and Bruce Patton in … Read
Many of us know the feeling of being frustrated by a superior’s involvement in our business negotiation strategies, whether because she hovers too closely over the talks, contradicts our carefully crafted strategy, or doesn’t give us the authority we need to sign off.
A divorce can take years—and cost a small fortune—to resolve. The task of negotiating child and spousal support, dividing property and other possessions, and establishing child-custody arrangements can be overwhelming, especially when the principals are barely speaking to each other. In the worst-case scenario, separating spouses hire cutthroat lawyers to make rigid (and sometimes outrageous) … Read
Here’s a list of some of the most notable negotiation flops – from deals that were over before they started, to those that were botched at the table, to those that proved disastrous well after the ink had dried.
In business negotiations, a little power is better than none at all, right? After all, if talks with a prospective client fail, we’d rather have a few unpromising leads to turn to rather than none.
Update Your Teaching Materials with Our Top Negotiation Role Play Simulations
The field of negotiation is constantly evolving, and as such, requires new ways of teaching negotiation. It can sometimes happen that students come into a class having already encountered the negotiation simulation being used in the course, or that a different kind of exercise is … Read
Looking back, it’s almost hard to imagine, but when then–San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began sitting down for pregame performances of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” no one noticed. He’d sat through two national anthems during the 2016 preseason before reporters asked him about it. Citing racial oppression and police brutality, Kaepernick explained that he planned … Read
After engaging in the complex process of business negotiation, business negotiators are often happy to pass off the technicalities of deal drafting to their attorneys. Unfortunately, this handoff is prone to errors. Vague, contradictory, and missing deal terms are not uncommon, and they can lead to serious problems during the implementation stage, according to Harvard … Read
Negotiation refers to the process of working out agreements that meet each party’s needs and address their interests. People negotiate all the time in their everyday lives: in the workplace, within families, and when buying goods and services. Knowing which negotiation strategies to use in different circumstances can make a significant difference. The Teaching Negotiation … Read
When one party brings up the possibility of a lawsuit in a business dispute, the threat can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Yet business negotiators often benefit from settling their disputes before going to court, write Robert H. Mnookin, Scott R. Peppet, and Andrew S. Tulumello in their book Beyond Winning: Negotiating to Create Value in … Read
Understanding how to arrange the meeting space is a key aspect of preparing for productive negotiations. In this video, Guhan Subramanian, professor at Harvard Law School and Harvard Business School, discusses a real world example of how seating arrangements can influence a negotiator’s success. The discussion was held in his negotiation training workshop “Setting the … Read
Back in 2007, unhappy with Amazon’s low, flat price of $9.99 for e-books, five major U.S. publishers negotiated a new business model for e-book pricing with Apple, which was getting ready to launch the iPad.
In the past we have encouraged you to ‘debias’ your own behavior by identifying the assumptions that may be clouding your judgment. We have introduced you to a number of judgment biases – common, systematic errors in thinking that are likely to affect your decisions and harm your outcomes in negotiation. Learn how to identify … Read
Given the pitfalls of having a position of relative power, what is a powerful negotiator to do? By following these steps, you can keep your edge while encouraging cooperative, rather than competitive, behavior.
When faced with the task of assigning a subordinate to represent their organization in a negotiation, managers might look for strong negotiating experience, intelligence, a good attitude, and a winning personality.
I manage a team of consultants who engage in negotiations. We often discuss the importance of networking to create new negotiating opportunities, but I rarely see them following through. Any advice on how to help them overcome their reluctance to network?
The reticence you’ve encountered when trying to sell your team members on the benefits of … Read
A string of recent deals between longtime opponents could give you the inspiration you need to reach agreement with your most difficult partners.
Republicans and Democrats. North and South Korea. The United States and China. All of these pairs have a reputation for conflict, rivalry, and impasse. Yet despite their ongoing differences, each pair recently managed … Read
Negotiation Skills in Business Communication: Campeau Corporation and Federated Department Stores
Sometimes in negotiation we are forced to deal not only with the issues on the table but also with concerns about status.
One famous instance took place in the late 1980s, when Robert Campeau, head of the Campeau Corporation and then one of Fortune magazine’s “50 … Read
Perhaps it’s no surprise that two boxers, bitter rivals, took many years to negotiate the terms of their hotly anticipated matchup. But the fact that a bout between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao—held May 2 in Las Vegas—came together at all offers hope that even the fiercest competitors can secure a mutually beneficial agreement.
Hitting … Read
A deal had been a long time coming. Back in November 2013, Iran agreed to limit its nuclear enrichment program in exchange for lighter economic sanctions from Western nations. To hammer out the details, Iran entered into talks with six nations: China, Russia, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Eventually, the talks … Read
The Program on Negotiation Graduate Research Fellowships are designed to encourage young scholars from the social sciences and professional disciplines to pursue theoretical, empirical, and/or applied research in negotiation and dispute resolution. Consistent with the PON goal of fostering the development of the next generation of scholars, this program provides support for one year of … Read
They say it pays to keep your friends close and your enemies closer, but in business negotiation, keeping your enemies—or competitors—close could end you up in court, as Apple’s recent encounter with the U.S. Department of Justice suggests.
The story begins back in 2007 when, unhappy with Amazon’s low, flat price of $9.99 for e-books, five … Read
To reach agreement, negotiators sometimes postpone the resolution of certain issues until a later date. We look at how this practice plays out in the real world. Remember the federal debt ceiling talks? In mid-2011, congressional Republicans insisted on significant spending reductions from their Democratic counterparts in exchange for voting to raise the nation’s debt … Read
For fans of AMC’s hit show Mad Men, the news was terrible. In late March 2011, the network publicly confirmed that the fifth season of the show, originally set to air summer of 2011, would not air until early 2012. A contract dispute with the show’s creator, producer, and head writer, Matthew Weiner, had held … Read
How does the presence of lawyers affect the process of mediation? You might guess that when one or both sides bring an attorney to a mediation, the process would become more contentious and adversarial, with impasse more likely, than if the parties worked solely with a mediator. That conventional wisdom is contradicted by new research … Read
As he entered his second term in office, President Obama set a goal of taking concrete steps to address global climate change. A global agreement on the issue is in sight, but a key obstacle stands in the way: the U.S. Senate. According to the Constitution, a president needs approval from a two-thirds majority of … Read
When parties to a negotiation can’t seem to find common ground, it sometimes seems as if the only solution is “winner take all.”
Consider the decade-long campaign by the backers of the Cape Wind project to build the first offshore wind farm in the United States off the coast of Massachusetts in Nantucket Sound. Led by … Read
In mid-May, about a month after the Boston Marathon bombings of April 15, lawyer and mediator Kenneth Feinberg stood in an auditorium at the Boston Public Library to address families who had been directly impacted by the tragedy. Feinberg was in charge of administering One Fund Boston, a fund created to distribute donations to the … Read
When outsiders become overachievers
When faced with the task of assigning a subordinate to represent their organization in a negotiation, managers might look for strong negotiating experience, intelligence, a good attitude, and a winning personality. In a new study, professor Gerben A. Van Kleef of the University of Amsterdam and his colleagues identify another beneficial quality … Read
Does anyone down there know how to cut a deal?” Senate Republican Mitch McConnell said to Vice President Joe Biden. It was Sunday, December 30, 2012, the day before the “fiscal cliff ” deadline, and the minority leader had phoned Biden out of a sense of desperation, report Patrick O’Connor and Peter Nicholas in the … Read
Sometimes those on opposite sides of a bitter dispute can achieve great gains – if only they can spot the ways in which they are similar.
In 2001, the Metropolitan Intercollegiate Basketball Association (MIBA), an organization of five New York-area colleges best known for staging college basketball’s National Invitation Tournament, filed a lawsuit against the National … Read
Scientific and technical knowledge is important in water negotiations, but not in the ways it has often been used. It is counterproductive to use scientific information to justify arbitrary (political) decisions. For example, scientific information about water has increased dramatically over the last several decades, but our ability to manage water resources has not improved … Read
Most negotiators leave the bargaining table believing they were better at pushing the other side to its limit than was actually the case, according to recent experimental studies by Richard P. Larrick of Duke University and George Wu of the University of Chicago.
Adapted from “A Worse Deal Than You Think?” First published in the Negotiation newsletter, August 2006.
Most negotiators leave the bargaining table believing they were better at pushing the other side to its limit than was actually the case, according to experimental studies by Richard P. Larrick of Duke University and George Wu of the University … Read
Adapted from “What Divides You May Unite You,” by James K. Sebenius (professor, Harvard Business School), first published in the Negotiation newsletter.
Mark Twain once quipped that “it is differences of opinion that make horse races.” Along these lines, differences in beliefs about how future events will unfold—what a key price will be, whether a technology … Read
Adapted from “Are You Too Powerful for Your Own Good?” by Ann E. Tenbrunsel (professor, Notre Dame University), first published in the Negotiation newsletter.
Imagine that you’re a national account sales manager and are preparing to negotiate your annual raise. You have met all your sales objectives and feel that you are not only a valuable … Read
Adapted from “Dealing with Backstage Negotiators,” first published in the Negotiation newsletter.
Negotiated agreements sometimes go off the rails in the final hour because one side caves in to a constituent’s wishes despite having the authority to make a commitment. Because people tend to approach negotiations with an “us versus them” mentality, they may succumb to … Read
Adapted from “What’s It Worth to You?” by Max H. Bazerman, first published in the Negotiation newsletter.
Imagine that a beloved aunt passes away and leaves you a 50-acre parcel of Colorado land. You have often visited the area, and though you never considered owning rural property, the fact that the land has been in your … Read
Adapted from “How Much Should You Trust?” by Iris Bohnet (professor, Harvard Kennedy School) and Stephan Meier (professor, Columbia Business School), first published in the Negotiation newsletter.
What’s the best way to cope with a fellow negotiator who has betrayed your trust? Ignoring the problem is rarely the best solution.
When you distrust someone, you’re forced to … Read
Adapted from “Fair Enough? An Ethical Fitness Quiz for Negotiators,” by Michael Wheeler (professor, Harvard Business School), first published in the Negotiation newsletter.
Imagine that you bought a rustic cabin at its asking price. Now flash-forward a few years. You’ve enjoyed the place immensely but just learned that a motorcycle racetrack will be up and running … Read
The PON Clearinghouse offers hundreds of role simulations, from two-party, single-issue negotiations to complex multi-party exercises. The following role simulation is a three-party, multi-issue contract negotiation among representatives for an HMO and two pharmaceutical companies over the purchase of a new antidepressant drug.
SCENARIO: Hopkins HMO is the largest independent managed health care organization in the … Read
The Clearinghouse at PON offers hundreds of role simulations, from two-party, single-issue negotiations to complex multi-party exercises. Teflex Products is a five-party, multi-issue negotiation among representatives of a pharmaceutical company, a medical drug manufacturer, and three consumer organizations over the delayed release of a new drug.
Midland Pharmaceutical Company has developed Renaid, a breakthrough drug that … Read
The Clearinghouse at PON offers hundreds of role simulations, from two-party, single-issue negotiations to complex multi-party exercises. Software Return is a two-party negotiation between a customer and a returns clerk about the return of a defective software package.
Scenario: The complaints clerk in a retail software store sees a customer approaching, carrying a software package … Read
How often have you heard a friend or colleague refer to a contract as being “in the bag,” only to find out later that the deal didn’t go through? There always turns out to be a good reason a negotiation fell apart. Yet the fact remains that most negotiators are overconfident about their chances of … Read
Would you rather negotiate with someone who is rational or irrational? Too many negotiators falsely assume that bargaining with an irrational partner lends you a competitive advantage. You may think that you should use their mistakes to your advantage.
Adapted from “Have You Negotiated How You’ll Negotiate?” by Robert C. Bordone, Professor, and Gillien S. Todd, Lecturer, Harvard Law School.
Breakdowns in negotiation are common. In the face of impasse at the bargaining table, managers are quick to blame either the challenges of the issues being negotiated or the hard-line tactics of the opposing parties. … Read
Adapted from “Build Rapport—and a Better Deal,” by Janice Nadler, professor, School of Law, Northwestern University.
In negotiation, rapport is a powerful force that can promote mutually beneficial agreements. Negotiators who already have a good working relationship are fortunate to have rapport built into their interactions. Strangers, however—especially those whose communications are limited to telephone or … Read