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negotiation theory

What is Negotiation Theory?

Negotiation theory finds that a cooperative approach is the surest path to understanding the other party and discovering new sources of value.

Negotiation theory suggests you focus on interests, not positions; separate inventing from committing; invest heavily in “What if?” questions; insist on objective criteria; and try to build nearly self-enforcing agreements.

There are three negotiation theory principles that may be especially helpful in efforts to negotiate solutions to many problems:

  1. Focus on interests. Interest-based bargaining, which involves exploring the deeper interests underlying negotiators’ stated positions, can help parties identify potential tradeoffs and opportunities for joint gains.
  2. Anticipate and address sources of bias. Under the best of conditions, we are all prone to predictable biases and other cognitive errors. For instance, in-group bias can keep us from allocating resources equitably across groups.
  3. Reach agreement within and across parties. For every agreement we reach, a host of other agreements is often needed. Many crisis and business negotiations often require multilateral bargaining.

At the other end of the spectrum, even though current negotiation theory advises us to cooperate whenever possible, and reveal information to create maximum value, you must calculate the risks and rewards of sharing information with your counterpart.

This is why negotiation theory needs to factor in the current perspectives of those at the table while also integrating other stakeholders. To achieve sustainable deals, negotiators must anticipate everyone who would have to bear any negative consequences of a deal, including their coworkers, children, and communities.

To learn more about negotiation theory, download a complimentary copy of our special report, Negotiation Skills: Negotiation Strategies and Negotiation Techniques to Help You Become a Better Negotiator, right now!

We will send you a download link to your copy of the report and notify you by email when we post new business negotiation advice and information on how to build a winning team to our website.

 

The following items are tagged negotiation theory:

How to Handle Difficult Customers

Posted by & filed under Dealing with Difficult People.

Every salesperson has his or her war stories: tales of difficult customers who made extreme demands and threats, tried to take advantage, or were extremely rude. Dealing with difficult customers is inevitable in the sales world, and the question of how to handle difficult customers looms large. The following three guidelines can help you stay … Read More 

Change Management: Negotiating Organizational Change in the 21st Century

Posted by & filed under 1 Day Courses, executive training.

Change is vital to organizational growth, health, and survival. It is also incredibly difficult to execute well—often resulting in diminished morale and feelings of anxiety and mistrust. In fact, researchers estimate that less than half of major corporate change projects at Fortune 1000 firms have been successful. … Read More 

Negotiation Master Class Fall 2020 Program Guide

Posted by & filed under Free Report.

Over the years thousands of professionals have participated in negotiation programs at the Program on Negotiation (PON) at Harvard Law School. And after a few months or years of putting their negotiation skills and techniques to work, participants inevitably ask us, what’s next? What can you expect from the Harvard Negotiation Master Class negotiation training? If you … Read More 

Writing the Negotiated Agreement

Posted by & filed under Dealmaking.

Some negotiations end with a negotiated agreement that is a plan of action rather than a signed contract – for example, a plumber agrees to fix the tile damage caused by his work. Other negotiations wouldn’t be appropriate to commemorate in writing, such as how you and your spouse decide to discipline your young … Read More 

Negotiating Difficult Conversations: Dealing with Tough Topics Productively

Posted by & filed under Harvard Negotiation Institute, Harvard Negotiation Institute (Five-Day Programs).

Course Dates: This course is closed When negotiations become difficult, emotions often escalate and talks break down. To overcome barriers and turn negotiations from difficult to collaborative, from breakdown to breakthrough, you must learn to understand the inter- and intra-personal dynamics at play. In this program, you will examine how your own assumptions and behaviors can … Read More 

Negotiation Master Class Spring 2020 Program Guide

Posted by & filed under Free Report.

Over the years thousands of professionals have participated in negotiation programs at the Program on Negotiation (PON) at Harvard Law School. And after a few months or years of putting their negotiation skills and techniques to work, participants inevitably ask us, what’s next? The Program on Negotiation is pleased to announce the Negotiation Master Class, … Read More 

Register Now for the Online Fall Negotiation and Dispute Resolution Seminar!

Posted by & filed under Teaching Negotiation.

This virtual and highly interactive semester-length seminar explores how people negotiate to create value and resolve disputes.  Designed to improve understanding of negotiation theory and build negotiation skills, the curriculum integrates negotiation research from several academic fields with experiential learning exercises. All sessions will be delivered live via Zoom. Emphasizing both theoretical and practical insights, this … Read More 

Negotiation and Leadership: Dealing with Difficult People and Problems BR

Posted by & filed under executive training, Negotiation and Leadership (3 and 1 Day Courses).

Negotiation and Leadership Dealing With Difficult People and Problems Spring sessions: April 16–18 | May 14–16 | June 18–20 2018 Fall sessions: September 24–26 | October 15–17 | December 3–5 2018 Focused one-day sessions Spring sessions: April 19, 2018 | May 17, 2018 | June 21, 2018 Fall sessions: September 27, | October 18, | December 6, 2018

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When Not to Show Your Hand in Negotiations

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

Here, we consider four types of information that may be best kept under wraps: sensitive or privileged information, information that isn’t yours to share, information that diminishes your power, and information that may fluctuate during negotiations. Fearful of being hurt by revealing too much information, most negotiators play their facts and preferences close to the vest. … Read More 

Negotiation and Leadership: Dealing with Difficult People and Problems AQ

Posted by & filed under executive training, Negotiation and Leadership (3 and 1 Day Courses).

Negotiation and Leadership Dealing With Difficult People and Problems Spring sessions: April 16–18 | May 14–16 | June 18–20 2018 Fall sessions: September 24–26 | October 15–17 | December 3–5 2018 Focused one-day sessions Spring sessions: April 19, 2018 | May 17, 2018 | June 21, 2018 Fall sessions: September 27, | October 18, | December 6, 2018

.embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; … Read More 

Negotiation and Leadership NL P

Posted by & filed under executive training, Negotiation and Leadership (3 and 1 Day Courses).

It’s often said that great leaders are great negotiators. But how does one become an effective negotiator? On-the-job experience certainly plays a role, but for most executives, taking their negotiation skills to the next level requires outside training. Designed to accelerate your negotiation capabilities, Negotiation and Leadership examines core decision-making challenges, analyzes complex negotiation scenarios, … Read More 

Negotiating Change During the Covid-19 Pandemic

Posted by & filed under Crisis Negotiations.

Many actions that could help alleviate the Covid-19 pandemic require us to change our behavior on a personal level, such as staying home from work and wearing a mask in public places. Others, such as making coronavirus-related research more widely available, require more organizational and systemic change. But humans often resist change; we are negotiating change … Read More 

Negotiation and Leadership NL O

Posted by & filed under executive training, Negotiation and Leadership (3 and 1 Day Courses).

It’s often said that great leaders are great negotiators. But how does one become an effective negotiator? On-the-job experience certainly plays a role, but for most executives, taking their negotiation skills to the next level requires outside training. Designed to accelerate your negotiation capabilities, Negotiation and Leadership examines core decision-making challenges, analyzes complex negotiation scenarios, … Read More 

Moving Online: Pedagogy in a Pandemic

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

While teachers and trainers around the world work to transition their courses into remote formats, we asked some of our experienced online teachers to share their experiences with the Teaching Negotiation Resource Center (TNRC) so as to provide insights to those who might be working to teach online for the first time. Samuel “Mooly” Dinnar is … Read More 

Harvard Negotiation Master Class: Advanced Strategies for Experienced Negotiators – November 2-4th, 2020

Posted by & filed under Harvard Negotiation Master Class.

Strictly limited to 60 participants who have completed a prior course in negotiation, this first-of-its-kind program offers unprecedented access to experts from Harvard Law School, Harvard Business School, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology—all of whom are committed to delivering a transformational learning experience. By working closely with them, you will: … Read More 

Negotiation and Leadership: Dealing with Difficult People and Problems

Posted by & filed under executive training, Negotiation and Leadership (3 and 1 Day Courses).

Negotiation and Leadership Dealing With Difficult People and Problems Fall: December 5-7, 2016 Spring: April 18-20, 2017 | May 15-17, 2017 | June 19-21 2017

Become a More Effective Negotiator Great leaders are great negotiators. By equipping you with the innovative negotiation strategies you need to excel at the bargaining table, Negotiation and Leadership will help you:

Improve working relationships and resolve seemingly … Read More 

Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most

Posted by & filed under 1 Day Courses, executive training.

Whether dealing with a challenging customer, a difficult supplier, an unhappy employee, an unreasonable official, or a demanding boss, we all have conversations we anticipate with dread. Gain the strategies, tools, and frameworks you need to manage difficult conversations effectively in this one-day program led by negotiation experts Bruce Patton and Douglas Stone. … Read More 

Negotiation Examples in Real Life: Buying a Home

Posted by & filed under Business Negotiations.

While many of our articles discuss negotiation theory and the latest research, sometimes it helps to discuss negotiation examples in real life when offering negotiation tips and advice. The following negotiation example is based on bargaining in real estate, a negotiation scenario many of us may face in our lifetime. … Read More 

Fall Negotiation and Dispute Resolution

Posted by & filed under PON Seminars, PON Seminars (Semester-Length Programs).

This virtual and highly interactive semester-length seminar explores the ways that people negotiate to create value and resolve disputes. Designed to improve understanding of negotiation theory and build negotiation skills, the curriculum integrates negotiation research from several academic fields with experiential learning exercises. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, all sessions will be delivered live … Read More 

Should Women “Lean In” to Create More Value in Negotiations?

Posted by & filed under Dealmaking.

Back in early 2008, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg began thinking about hiring Sheryl Sandberg, a vice president at Google and a former chief of staff for the U.S. Department of the Treasury, as the social-media company’s new chief operating officer. The two met several nights a week for almost two months to discuss … Read More 

Negotiation and Leadership: Dealing with Difficult People and Problems

Posted by & filed under executive training, Negotiation and Leadership (3 and 1 Day Courses).

It’s often said that great leaders are great negotiators. But how does one become an effective negotiator? On-the-job experience certainly plays a role, but for most executives, taking their negotiation skills to the next level requires outside training. Designed to accelerate your negotiation capabilities, Negotiation and Leadership examines core decision-making challenges, analyzes complex negotiation scenarios, … Read More 

Must-Read Negotiation Books for 2019

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Training.

The year 2017 offered plenty of negotiation hits and misses in the realms of government, business, and beyond. To avoid failed negotiations in 2018, politicians, business leaders, and the rest of us would be wise to explore the following recent negotiation books, which can help steer us through our most difficult negotiating dilemmas: … Read More 

Teaching with Video-Based Negotiation Scenarios

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

Access to multimedia content has rapidly increased throughout the world, with videos and short clips permeating our daily life. We are consuming, producing, and interacting with videos more now than ever before. In light of increasing video fluency and interest in using videos in education, the Program on Negotiation’s Teaching Negotiation Resource Center is creating … Read More 

Ask A Negotiation Expert: Negotiating Jewish Identity

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

What does it mean to be Jewish in America? What challenges does the American Jewish community face? These questions prompt many conflicting answers—and many opportunities for negotiation, writes Robert Mnookin in his new book, The Jewish American Paradox: Embracing Choice in a Changing World (PublicAffairs, 2018). The author of numerous books on negotiation, Mnookin is the … Read More 

Ask A Negotiation Expert: Responsible Negotiators Care Beyond the Deal Closing

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

With this issue of Negotiation Briefings, we are pleased to introduce our new academic editor, Alain Lempereur, the Alan B. Slifka Professor and Director of the Heller School conflict Resolution Program at Brandeis University. Lempereur is an affiliated faculty and executive committee member of the Program on Negotiation (PoN) at Harvard Law School (HLS). He takes … Read More 

Teach Your Students Negotiation Psychology

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

The negotiation psychology of the parties at the table can contribute significantly to the likelihood of reaching an agreement. In Beyond Reason, world-renowned negotiator Roger Fisher and psychologist Daniel Shapiro advise “ignore emotions at your own peril. Emotions are always present and often affect your experience. You may try to ignore them, but they will not … Read More 

The Consensus Building Institute Honors Program on Negotiation Faculty Member Lawrence Susskind with New Fellowship

Posted by & filed under Negotiation Skills.

The Consensus Building Institute (CBI) based in Boston, Massachusetts and in Washington, DC has honored Program on Negotiation faculty member Lawrence Susskind with its creation of a one-year graduate student fellowship that offers the successful candidate the opportunity to work with CBI in Boston or DC on an area of focus for bot CBI and … Read More 

Win-Win Negotiations in the Middle East: How the Principles Behind the Harvard Negotiation Project Apply to Israel and Palestine

Posted by & filed under Middle East Negotiation Initiative (MENI), Win-Win Negotiations.

Peace talks in the Middle East between Israel and Palestine have stalled for years and, with no ‘new beginnings’ on the horizon, many have come to expect stagnation and lack of progress in talks between the neighbors. That was until this week when Secretary of State John Kerry was successful in getting Palestinian and Israeli … Read More 

Program on Negotiation (PON) Film Series Screening of ‘The Island President’ Featured in the Harvard Crimson

Posted by & filed under International Negotiation, Negotiation and Nonviolent Action, PON Film Series.

The Program on Negotiation Film Series recently screened “The Island President,” the story of President Mohamed Nasheed’s efforts to garner world-wide attention on climate change, as rising sea levels threatened the survival of his country, the Maldives. In introducing the film, PON Managing Director Susan Hackley said, “This wonderful film shows how a skilled negotiator … Read More 

The Art of Negotiation

Posted by & filed under Conflict Resolution, Daily, Events, Student Events, Students.

The Art of Negotiation Moved to Pound Hall 101 on the HLS Campus October 18, 2011 7:30 pm Free and open to the public Please join world-renowned artist Romero Britto as he unveils a series of paintings produced in collaboration with Professor Daniel Shapiro and Harvard College students.   Each painting illustrates a key aspect to address the emotional dimension of … Read More 

Dealing With a Stubborn Counterpart

Posted by & filed under Daily, Negotiation Skills.

Adapted from “Stubborn or Irrational? How to Cope with a Difficult Negotiating Partner,” by Lawrence Susskind (professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology), first published in the Negotiation newsletter. Suppose you’re an experienced salesperson entering into negotiations for a contract renewal with a company you’ve successfully done business with for years. Recently, your counterpart at the other company … Read More 

Keeping Your Options Alive

Posted by & filed under Daily, Negotiation Skills.

Adapted from “Better or Best: Keeping Your Options Open,” by Michael Wheeler (professor, Harvard Business School), first published in the Negotiation newsletter. Jim, a well-regarded residential developer operating outside Philadelphia, has been scouting around for a site for his next project. Two properties seem promising. The Abbott estate consists of 75 acres of woodlands and some … Read More 

Making and Using Films to Teach Negotiation

Posted by & filed under Daily, Negotiation Skills, Pedagogy at PON.

Access to multimedia content is rapidly increasing throughout the world, with videos and short clips permeating our daily life – whether in gas stations, on ATMs, cell phones, or mobile entertainment devices.   We are consuming, producing, and interacting with videos more now than ever before: YouTube is the third-most visited website on the Internet, the … Read More 

Insights from a Communication and Negotiation Conference: The Benefits of Not Knowing

Posted by & filed under Daily, Negotiation Skills, Pedagogy at PON.

An Experiment: Exploring Interdisciplinary Linkages between Negotiation and Communication Studies What would negotiation pedagogy look like if we focused more on the core meanings and practices of communication? How can understanding the underpinnings of communication – the components of conversation and the exchange of meaning – help us understand and improve our negotiations? The weekend of … Read More