For video version go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SIRje72t8gs
If you like Francis Underwood in House of Cards, then this negotiation style is right up your alley. Distributive negotiation assumes resource scarcity, you win or lose (zero-sum game), and Machiavellian methods are legitimate means of winning the negotiation: threats, pressure, manipulation, authority, deadlines and the rest are all part of the game (Hüffmeier et al., 2014). Knowing whether the resource in question actually is limited is key here, since there is a substantial grey area.
This style is not by default “the Devils guide” to negotiation, and it has staunch supporters who argue that de-meriting it is doing people a disservice (Wheeler, 2012). Part of the concern is that people might falsely expect to face a world of integrative (i.e. cooperative) options, consequently feeding doves to dragons. The literature on distributive style distinguish between two primary types, soft- contra hard-lined; where the former lead to more socioemotional, and the latter more purely economic outcomes (Hüffmeier et al., 2014). Soft-lined is closer towards the middle of the negotiation spectrum, and one should consider that the socioemotional outcomes could become economic later if it is a catalyst for a long-term business partnership.
Remember The Power of the Context!
Various contextual factors, like industry, culture and demographics influence applicability and outcome. Distributive style has recently seen a strong decline in its popularity, considering that it counted for 80% of negotiations historically (L. Thompson & Hastie, 1990). Aforementioned deficiencies with the economicus model might play a role.
Typically, males have generally been found to be more successful in distributive negotiation (Hüffmeier et al., 2014), which is why Hofstedes masculinity/femininity dimensions (Hofstede, 1984) might predict national differences in negotiation style preferences. Norway is rated as much more feminine than say USA, and there is the hypothetical possibility that Norwegian managers are softer in negotiations: something to bear in mind in cross-national negotiations. Generally speaking, people low on personality traits like agreeableness are best suited to distributive negotiation (Dimotakis, Conlon, & Ilies, 2012). Chances are that physical attractiveness, and a host of other variables, serves as moderators and mediators for the efficacy of a given negotiation style in a given context.
Distributive style is beneficial if the transaction is done in a highly competitive market, if the resource is undifferentiated, and if reputation is unimportant (Hawes & Fleming, 2014). The flipside is that distributive style can impede synergies and put a strain on relationships, which is why it has a much higher risk profile than integrative style. Some industries are more prone to this negotiation style, with the most archetypical being the used car industry (Scott Morton, Silva-Risso, & Zettelmeyer, 2011). You should do an evaluation of the competitive forces affecting your industry (Stabell & Fjeldstad, 1998), to determine the wisdom of applying this style. Take great care when using it, since it can damage relationships. Any rewards reaped from it would be lost if previous counterparts want to “get even”. Nevertheless, there is no point in bringing a knife to a gunfight. You have to know the distributive tactics in order to tame them.
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Science (entire EP-series): http://cybloom.blogg.no/1446324892_yes_this_is_economic_.html