How to Negotiate Like an Absolute Pro: Part 1 (EP2)

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This is something we do every day, in a wide variety of contexts, albeit the stakes are higher for managers. Unfortunately, cognitive biases play a big role in negotiations (Caputo, 2013). Research on negotiation has fortunately developed into a mature stage, with a fledged-out theoretical framework and easily deduced practical implications (L. Thompson & Leonardelli, 2004).

Schools of thought. Thomas Carlyle coined economics as “the dismal science”, due to its concern with the seemingly unending discrepancy between amount of resources and numbers of consumers (Barber, 2009). While resource scarcity is true in some situations, psychologist have lamented that assuming scarcity without question can become self-defeating.

As you might expect from the economicus/psychologicus conflict, two schools of thought have developed in negotiation research; one distributive that assumes resource scarcity (based on economist thinking), and one integrative that assumes that synergies often are possible (based on psychologists thinking) (L. Thompson & Leonardelli, 2004). Consequentially, distributive negotiation focus on self-interest and utility maximizing, while integrative negotiation emphasize cooperation in order to maximize joint outcome. These styles can also become biases in their own rights, and one should take note that distributive and integrative style does not represent a dichotomy, but rather a spectrum (Hawes & Fleming, 2014). Most negotiations will exhibit mixed motives, meaning that you can shift it towards any end of the spectrum at your own discretion.

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