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Negotiation Paperback – Jul 1 2003
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Harvard Business Essentials The Reliable Source for Busy Managers The Harvard Business Essentials series is designed to provide comprehensive advice, personal coaching, background information, and guidance on the most relevant topics in business. Drawing on rich content from Harvard Business School Publishing and other sources, these concise guides are carefully crafted to provide a highly practical resource for readers with all levels of experience. To assure quality and accuracy, each volume is closely reviewed by a specialized content adviser from a world class business school. Whether you are a new manager interested in expanding your skills or an experienced executive looking for a personal resource, these solution-oriented books offer reliable answers at your fingertips.
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The book explains the distinction between distributive and integrative negotiation. Distributive bargaining seeks to divide up a fixed amount of resources resulting in a win-lose situation whereas integrative bargaining seeks one or more settlements that can result in win-win outcomes. Integrative bargaining is preferable to distributive bargaining because integrative process builds long-term relationships and facilitates being future partners. It bonds negotiators and enables them to leave the negotiating process feeling that they have all won. The reason why distributive bargaining is prevalent in organizations is that parties are often not open with information and neither are they candid about their concerns. There is often lack of trust and empathy.
The book also describes the concept of BATNA, that is, the best alternative to a negotiated agreement or the lowest acceptable value to an individual for a negotiated agreement. Any offer that you receive that is higher than your BATNA is good and by the same token, you cannot expect the other party to accept an offer that is lower than their BATNA.
The book also highlights other essential elements to a successful negotiation including the need to prepare and plan, being clear about the ground rules, justifying issues on the negotiating table, bargaining and resolving conflicts as well as closure and implementation
The book is well written and is easy to understand and follow. Recommended reading for beginners to negotiation.
The book starts in the first chapter with a comparison of distributive and integrative negotiation. Distributive means that the parties just talk and fight about the price. Unfortunately, this is what is going on in negotiations most of the time. Instead you should aim for integrative negotiations where you discuss more than just the price. Often, one party can give something of little value to other, which is of great value for them. Sad enough, many negotiator are so much concerned about their own benefit, that they forget to think about the other party and their interests. But to have integrated negotations both paties need to thing of each other.
Another important concept this book elaborates on is the so called BATNA, that is the "Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement". Before you start negotiating you need to know what happens if you don't get the deal. If you are unable to gain something which is of greater value than the current situation, why should you agree on the deal ? During the negotiations always think of your BATNA and don't go below it.
The rest of the book emphasizes the importance of trust between parties, how to prepare a successful negotiation meeting and the different styles of communication.
A good reading of everyone new to negotiation.
Richard Luecke is the author of several other books in the Essentials series. Once again, credit him with pulling together a wealth of information and counsel from various sources. In this instance, he was assisted by a subject advisor, Michael Watkins, who is an associate professor at the Harvard Business School who does research on negotiation and leadership. Together, they have carefully organized the material as follows.
First, they examine various types of negotiation (e.g. distributive and integrative) and then introduce four key concepts: BATNA (i.e. best alternative to a negotiated agreement), reservation price, ZOPA (i.e. zone of possible agreement), and value creation through trades. Next, they shift their attention to nine steps of preparation to consummate a deal; "table tactics" when engaged in negotiation; FAQs about price, process, and "people problems; barriers to agreement (e.g. negotiating with "die-hard bargainers"); mental errors (e.g. irrational expectations); the importance of establishing and then cultivating various relationships; negotiating for others (i.e. the functions of independent and non-independent agents); and finally, negotiation skills which build organizational competence (e.g. continuous improvement and using negotiation as an organizational opportunity). I especially appreciate the fact that, at the end of each of the ten chapters, a "Summing Up" section is provided which focuses on key points and, later, facilitates a review of the book's narrative. I am also grateful for "Useful Implementation Tools" in the Appendix.
Years ago, the eminent psychologist Carl Rogers recommended three separate but related steps when one is involved in a negotiation of any kind. First, identify the issues on which both "sides" agree and set them aside. Next, agree to concessions, compromises, etc. on other issues and then set them aside. Finally, isolate the issues which remain and focus on them. This approach usually (not always) achieves, eventually, a mutually acceptable and (preferably) mutually beneficial agreement. Experts suggest that negotiation should not be viewed as a Zero Sum Game. If at all possible, the ultimate agreement should be a Win-Win for everyone involved.
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