December 7, 2017

Negotiations - Knowledge, Research and Skills

Negotiation Skills

Negotiation skills are becoming increasingly recognized as important to effective management and personal success.

Research at one time identified some common mistakes being made in negotiations.

1. Negotiating persons tend to be overly affected by the frame, or form of presentation, of information in a negotiation.
2. Even when a course of action is no longer the most reasonable alternative, negotiators tend to nonrationally escalate commitment to a previously selected or advocated course of action.
3. Negotiators tend to assume that their gain must come at the expense of the other party and thereby miss opportunities for mutually beneficial trade-offs  between the parties.
4. Negotiators judgments tend to be anchored on irrelevant information, such as initial offer.
5. Negotiators tend to rely on readily available information.
6. Negotiators tend to fail to consider information that is available by focusing on the opponent's perspective.
7. Negotiators tend to be overconfident concerning the likelihood of attaining outcomes that favor the individual(s) involved.

 Traditionally, negotiators have depended on distributed and positional bargaining. Distributed bargaining assumes a "fixed pie" and focuses on how to get the biggest share, or "slice of the pie" for the benefit of the negotiating party. Positional bargaining approach involved successively taking and then giving up, a sequence of positions. A position involves telling the other side what you want.

Strategies called soft and hard are used in traditional ways of negotiating.  Characteristics of the "hard strategy" include the following: the goal is victory, distrust others, dig into your position, make threats, try to win contest of will, apply pressure.

Soft strategy includes characteristics: The goal is agreement, trust others, change your position easily,  make offers,  try to avoid a contest of will, and yield to pressure.

The traditional approach is now being challenged by more effective alternative negotiation skills.

Whetten and Cameron suggest an approach that takes an "expanding the pie" perspective and advocates finding win-win outcomes. The approach recommends:
1. Establishing superordinate goals.
2. Separating people from the problem
3. Focusing on interests, not positions
4. Inventing options for mutual gain.
5. Using objective criteria.

In terms of negotiation techniques or manoevres the following are identified as in use by negotiators.

 Practical low-risk strategies include flattery, addressing the easy points first, silence, inflated opening position, and "oh, poor me."

High-risk strategies include unexpected temper losses, high-balling, Boulwarism, and waiting until the last moment.

Harvard Negotiation Project came up with principled negotiation approach or negotiation on the merits approach. This is an  integrative approach, which uses a problem-solving, collaborative strategy, and the principled, or negotiation on the merits approach, which emphasizes people, interests, options, and criteria. These negotiation skills  change the game, leading to a win-win, wise agreement.

Along with social, emotional, behavioral, leadership, team, and communication skills, negotiation skills are becoming increasingly recognized as important to effective management.

Principled Negotiation Approach

Positional style of negotiation,

With the positional style of negotiation, each party starts with an extreme (may be unjustified) position. The basis for this approach is the belief that the ultimate solution will be favorable only if the initial offer is extreme and concessions are done. But it is zero-sum game. One party will win and one will lose and in many case of street buying situations, seller comes down drastically.

But deals and settlements in positional negotiations come with a steep non- monetary price. Trust becomes the victim and in the next negotiation also both parties bargain heavily. Thus, the process creates (or perpetuates) an adversarial relationship between the two parties.

Principled negotiation seeks to establish a foundation and climate where parties can be creative in searching for mutually beneficial solutions to a shared problem. This approach preserves, and may even enhance, ongoing relationships.

Four basic elements of principled negotiation were put forth by Fisher and Ury (1991) in their book Getting to Yes (1981).


People -- Separate the people from the problem.
Interests -- Focus on interests, not positions.
Options -- Generate a variety of possibilities before deciding what to do.
Criteria -- Insist that the result be based on some objective standard.

Four Negotiation Skills For Regular People

Principled versus Positional Negotiation for Purchasing Professionals
79th Annual International ISM Conference Proceedings - 1994 - Atlanta, GA

Recent Articles on Negotiations - Quotes

Negotiation Is Changing
Noam Ebner
Journal of Dispute Resolution, Vol. 2017 (1), 99-143.

Abandon zero-sum games in transactions and deals  

Claim up to 42% more value.
(quote created by NRao)

At MarketWatch Centre for Negotiation, we’ve found that negotiators can claim up to 42% more value in a deal by abandoning zero-sum games and creating a relationship based on trust and collaboration.
Why Negotiators Still Aren't 'Getting To Yes'
Keld Jensen, FEB 5, 2013

More References on Negotiation

IVY EXEC - Articles on Negotiation

Books on Negotiation Skills

Negotiating at Work: Turn Small Wins Into Big Gains

Deborah M. Kolb, Jessica L. Porter
John Wiley & Sons, 27-Jan-2015 - Business & Economics - 288 pages

Understand the context of negotiations to achieve better results

Negotiation has always been at the heart of solving problems at work.  What has been missed in much of the literature of the past 30 years is that negotiations in organizations always take place within a context—of organizational culture, of prior negotiations, of power relationships—that dictates which issues are negotiable and by whom. When we negotiate for new opportunities or increased flexibility, we never do it in a vacuum. We challenge the status quo and we build out the path for others to negotiate those issues after us. In this way, negotiating for ourselves at work can create small wins that can grow into something bigger, for ourselves and our organizations.

Negotiating at Work offers practical advice for managing your own workplace negotiations: how to get opportunities, promotions, flexibility, buy-in, support, and credit for your work. It does so within the context of organizational dynamics, recognizing that to negotiate with someone who has more power adds a level of complexity. 

 Negotiating at Work is rooted in real-life cases of professionals from a wide range of industries and organizations, both national and international.

Strategies to get the other person to the table and engage in creative problem solving, even when they are reluctant to do so
Tips on how to recognize opportunities to negotiate, bolster your confidence prior to the negotiation, turn 'asks' into a negotiation, and advance negotiations that get "stuck"
A rich examination of research on negotiation, conflict management, and gender
By using these strategies, you can negotiate successfully for your job and your career; in a larger field, you can also alter organizational practices and policies that impact others.

Training Materials

Advanced Labor Negotiations
US Army, 1985;view=1up;seq=1

Updated 8 December 2017, 5 December 2017

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