Principled negotiation
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Principled Negotiation. Scholars from the Harvard Negotiation Project have suggested ways of dealing with negotiation from a cooperative and interest-based perspective. They call this approach “principled negotiation” because it rests on four assumptions or principles.

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Principled negotiation
Principled Negotiation

  • Scholars from the Harvard Negotiation Project have suggested ways of dealing with negotiation from a cooperative and interest-based perspective. They call this approach “principled negotiation” because it rests on four assumptions or principles.

Separate the people from the problem
Separate the People From the Problem

  • As you identify the problem, make sure you can distinguish between the issues to be solved and the people involved. Try to:

    • understand their perceptions

    • monitor their emotions

    • communicate effectively

Focus on interests not positions
Focus on Interests NOT Positions

  • A position is a tangible outcome that someone argues for. An interest is the reason why that outcome is desired and an underlying concern about the problem.

    • there are usually multiple interests for any issue

    • you don’t have to have common interests to find a solution that meets them all

    • the more you understand your interests and the other party’s interests, the better able you are to find a solution or solutions that will produce mutual and lasting satisfaction.

Invent options for mutual gain brainstorm
Invent Options for Mutual Gain - Brainstorm

  • This is a process of creating as many solutions as possible BEFORE you evaluate them to decide which are the best options.

  • Otherwise, good ideas never have a chance to be suggested and discussed because people are too busy arguing over the first ideas introduced.

Find good criteria
Find Good Criteria

  • Choosing a good solution or solutions (remember you can have more than one), depends on making sure that the criteria for solutions are considered legitimate by the parties. The criteria come from

    • interests already identified by the parties, especially common interests shared by all parties

    • external rules or policies that must be followed

Personal barriers to effective negotiation
Personal Barriers to Effective Negotiation

  • In the best situations, people still have difficulty when dealing with conflict. We are human. But there are three things that are very destructive to a collaborative negotiation process. It is important for us to consider the extent to which these factors -- defensiveness, hidden agendas, and negative influence tactics -- may derail our process.


  • The kinds of behaviors that can cause defensiveness are:

    • criticizing someone

    • acting indifferent toward someone

    • being contemptuous of someone or acting superior to them

    • ignoring them

    • condescending to them

Defensive reactions
Defensive Reactions:

  • counter-attack

  • stonewalling, or avoiding discussion

  • becoming passive aggressive

  • becoming less open with information

  • listening less to the other

  • assuming the worst about everyone involved

Hidden agendas
Hidden Agendas

  • Hidden agendas are desires for outcomes or actions that you want to keep from the group. Your actions are motivated by these agendas, but you don’t want others to know that. Hidden agendas are often caused by a concern about one’s image or one’s role or power in the group.

Negative influence tactics
Negative Influence Tactics

  • talking over someone else

  • dominating the conversation or holding the floor

  • semantic boxing (arguing over terms rather than the issue)

  • being overly ambiguous

  • withdrawing from the conversation

  • being very pessimistic

  • threatening others

Pre negotiation preparation
Pre-Negotiation Preparation

  • Describe the Problem

    • you define?

    • they define?

    • assumptions?

  • Identify Interests

    • your interests?

    • their interests?

    • assumptions?


  • clarify the problem

  • explore interests

  • brainstorm

  • establish criteria

  • select options

Clarify the problem
Clarify the Problem

  • your description

  • their description

  • if your descriptions are not the same?

    • commonalities?

    • if not, importance to the parties?

    • logical reason to address one issue first?

    • Construct an agenda for dealing with multiple issues.

Explore interests
Explore Interests

  • Present Interests

  • State interests clearly

  • Clarify interests

  • Summarize Interests

  • Draw Attention to Common Interests

Invent options for mutual gain brainstorm1
Invent Options for Mutual Gain (Brainstorm)

  • Present the idea of brainstorming (generate ideas without evaluation)

  • Generate Ideas

  • Clarify Ideas

  • Summarize Options Generated

  • Get Agreement on the List of Options

Establish criteria
Establish Criteria

  • Explicitly State Criteria

  • Clarify Criteria

  • Prioritize Criteria (individually and jointly)

  • Select Preferred Negotiated Solution

  • Evaluate each Option with Criteria

  • Identify Preferred or Workable Options