Home > Negotiation > What do you think about collaborative negotiation?

What do you think about collaborative negotiation?

Is there room for this approach in sales or do you think it's just a feel good approach that doesn't lead to results?

As follow up, what exposure have you had to collaborative negotiation techniques that leads you to your conclusion? - by sfrenkel
Collaborative strategy

Being collaborative does
not mean being weak and giving in. On the contrary, a collaborative approach seeks to gain the best possible solution.
Transparency and trust

Whilst you may not give away all of your information, deceptive practices need to be curtailed if
trust is to be gained. A simple way of eliminating suspicion is to be open and transparent, giving information before it is requested.
When the other person is competitive

The biggest dilemma occurs when the other person is acting competitively, and will try to take advantage of your collaborative approach (possibly seeing it as a weakness).

The approach with aggressive others is to be assertive and
adult rather than fall into the fight-or-flight reaction, for example naming attempts at deception and showing your strength whilst offering an olive branch. A critical preparation for this is to have your fall-back alternative to a negotiated agreement ready, and to show that you are prepared to use it

Actually its what my dealership uses consistantly and has made us one of the top 6% in chevy dealers for past 8 years. So it works well in my opinion. Customers are coming in expecting to be hammered away by sales consultants and managers, but when you show the consumer that the relationship is more important than the sale then it really catches them of guard
- by jrboyd
Is there room for this approach in sales or do you think it's just a feel good approach that doesn't lead to results?

As follow up, what exposure have you had to collaborative negotiation techniques that leads you to your conclusion?
There is absolutely room for the approach. I can bear witness on the subject and I realized that I had been using that model long before I knew it had a name.

Currently I'm engaged in structuring an outsource relationship that shows promise. I am very much looking at "both sides of the table" in an effort to make sure all parties benefit.

I think many of my clients would agree that it defines my style. I'm not sure "technique" is a purely correct word. Collaborative negotiation is really an exercise in strategy where you take in account the issues AND the people involved with regard to their best interest. - by Ace Coldiron
Insofar as the 'Principled' or 'Win-Win' school fits in nicely with consultative selling, it is a theory and approach to negotiations that will not conflict with your ideology.

One of my partners (formerly an executive with responsibilities for training 3,000 of his company's managers worldwide) had to kick-out a very well-known negotiation training 'expert' from his corporation in the last few years.

They found conflicts between what this big guru's negotiation trainer was giving his people and what their own corporate culture (and other sales training programmes) were trying to ground and position their people in.

From the purist's perspective, both adversarial and 'principled' negotiation paradigms have weaknesses and defects, and neither is your recommended option when you wish to optimise the success of your negotiations.

This is why my partner replaced the adversarial 'leading negotiations training company' with a process-based approach, and not a 'principled' or 'win-win' methodology.

There is not enough space within this box for me to outline and explain the major drawbacks of 'win-win' negotiation approaches.

However, I would suggest that they are a misnomer for negotiations, and are mostly effective as mechanics to be employed in rational problem solving situations (like third party mediation) and are not necessarily or generally effective in commercial negotiations.

In fact, in worse case scenarios subscribing to a 'win-win' methodology may be likened to believing in unilateral nuclear disarmament. GREAT if the other party shares your views and reciprocates, but potential DISASTER if they don't.

This is because principled or win-win approaches do not allow for any flexibility or have any other dimension to dealing with the situations (and people) you are facing. Some of their claims and their underlying assumptions are faulty, and essentially you cannot easily avoid positional bargaining in commercial situations; even if you try and give things a different name to further your cause.

The optimal answer is to employ a process-based approach. Whether you're dealing with an adversarial negotiator, or a principled one, you know exactly where you are, and what you're doing (and what the other party is doing) and you're quickly and easily on your way to an optimal solution for everyone concerned. - by ThirdForceNegotiator

Thanks for your post. Can you expand on how an "optimal solution for everyone concered" is different than "win-win"?

According to my read of your post, you're attempting to differentiate between a process and an outcome. No matter how much someone wants a "win-win" outcome, they're not likely to achieve it without the proper process.

Stephen - by sfrenkel

Thanks for your post. Can you expand on how an "optimal solution for everyone concered" is different than "win-win"?

According to my read of your post, you're attempting to differentiate between a process and an outcome. No matter how much someone wants a "win-win" outcome, they're not likely to achieve it without the proper process.


My use of 'optimal' comes from an overall assessment of the competing paradigms of negotiation theory and practice.

This is how it applies to the principled ('win-win') school's approach, sticking with Fisher & Ury's model as our prime example:

The ‘Interest-based’ or principled school of thought has a great deal more to contribute to the theory of negotiation practice than the old school 'ploys, tactics & tricks' approach popularised by Karrass during the 1970s.

Perhaps because the principled school has more in common with rational problem solving, there is a great deal of material and theoretical work concerning conflict resolution.

In contrast to the old school style, practitioners of the interest-based paradigm are more likely to:

- view any negotiation within a longer-term context;
- look for co-operative ways to succeed;
- believe that more for you also means more for them (and seek joint gains for both parties);
- avoid the use of manipulative techniques (and haggling) to focus on each party’s interests;
- believe in giving something for something.

The theory behind principled negotiation or rational decision making is intellectually unchallengeable. Research has clearly demonstrated the grim consequences of avoidable irrational mistakes made by negotiators.

The catch however is that entrenched disputes arise not because protagonists are opposed to rationality in behaviour, but rather because they believe that they are rational and the other party is not. Research has also shown that two highly motivated rational individuals when interacting in pairs can produce incompatible choices even when they have exactly the same sets of facts and information.

Another key element of the interest-based negotiating paradigm is to base outcomes on objective criteria. In theory this intent is well conceived, however, its universal application is questionable.

‘Yielding to principle not pressure’ as the prescription for interest-based negotiation would have it may seem like a good idea, but in reality it becomes difficult to apply when your ideas of the merits of your case vary from someone else’s. Each party is naturally likely to be biased or partisan to their own criteria. Whereas in a court of law there are codified rules and a certain objectivity underlying proceedings before you begin, in the world of private negotiations there are no such established notions of what should and should not constitute objective criteria.

The focus on criteria being objective may be just as controversial as any other part of the decision, and insisting on ‘objective’ criteria may only serve to shift the dispute from one set of variables to another.

Fisher and Ury have also come in for criticism on their use of language when they advocate the pursuit of ‘interests’ over ‘positions’. Since they deem the haggling or bargaining process of positions as detrimental to negotiating they advocate that it is avoided in lieu of considering each party’s respective interests instead. However, this assertion has come in for criticism as although it seems logical that interests should be explored and examined - how is it possible to totally exclude issues and positions? It is not a viable option to reach agreement on a negotiation solely by focusing on interests. In fact, the interests of each party are not negotiable.

Each party unilaterally makes a determination on their own of their interests, and there is no external say on which of these interests are valid or void. It is only on the actual positions derived from interests that negotiable terms (that can be bargained) are created. For example, an employee seeking to join another organization for more compensation has an interest in ‘a greater salary’. This is not what will come under negotiation though upon another job offer being made, but the actual position of just how much more money will be offered.

In an attempt to resolve this apparent contradiction Fisher and Ury come up with a new term and phase, and suggest that principled negotiators move from ‘interests to concrete options’. Essentially they are creating a new term ‘concrete options’ to justify what is otherwise considered elsewhere ‘a position’.

They go further in trying to avoid the problematic subject matter of positions and consider that:

‘Much of what positional bargainers hope to achieve with an opening position can be accomplished equally well with an illustrative suggestion that generously takes care of your interests’.

If an ‘illustrative suggestion’ is not a proposal and an opening position that ‘generously’ addresses your interests, then what exactly is it?

They provide an example of the above ‘illustrative suggestion’:

A baseball player’s agent, who suggests (proposes?) that his client be offered $250,000 and a five-year contract.

Experienced proponents in the field of academic study have struggled to see how the above is any different from what ‘conventionally’ any player’s agent would otherwise deem and propose is their opening position in a positional bargain as part of an ‘ordinary’ negotiation.

Logically, if negotiations were only conducted by the uninvolved, rational decision making would no doubt predominate. However, people who feel aggrieved tend not to delegate their fate in negotiations to uninvolved third parties, as they naturally prefer their own solutions and to be in control of them than to be at the mercy of someone else’s.

If Fisher and Ury infer by objective criteria that there should be some assemblance of rationale in reaching solutions then it is doubtful many would argue against this as an ideal. However, negotiators frequently justify their cases with reference to claims of rationality to their own coherent arguments of compelling logic, but it does nothing in and of itself to settle disputes. This is due to more than one ‘rational’ argument and solution being presented, which is why in the end we must all negotiate; it is unavoidable.

In summary the strengths of principled or ‘interest-based’ negotiation apply more to theoretical analysis than to practical negotiations. However, in certain situations their focus on rational decision making can be an advantage. In reality the paradigm of interest-based negotiation is one that is more or less restricted to assisting mediators and facilitators than to negotiators themselves, especially as they have little to say - other than deride, the facet of active bargaining.

This may not be so surprising when principled negotiation is understood to be a misnomer. It is not concerned with negotiations as most people would understand and practice them. Rather it advocates machinery for rational joint problem resolution, which, just as with any other methodology for decision making, is more suited to some situations than to others.

The latter is more than supported by the activities of Roger Fisher himself, who has advised on many very high profile international disputes and policy problems, and who has consulted in the processes employed by leaders and politicians seeking to mediate in conflict resolutions. His most notable successes have been seen in helping President Carter on the processes used to broker the Egypt-Israel peace negotiations between President Sadat and Prime Minister Begin, and training the ANC negotiating committee and the South African (white) cabinet prior to the constitutional talks that helped to end apartheid for their country.


So the above is a more expanded critique of 'collaborative' negotiation, as you've phrased it.

Is this approach optimal for a corporation - or an individual? I would argue not.

Your final assertion Stephen implies a value judgment When you refer to 'the proper process'. My question to you would be are you so sure about the assumptions you've made in what I am attempting? - by ThirdForceNegotiator
Collaborative Negotiation for Bargaining Teams

Collaborative Negotiation has been used as the basis for improved relationships in bargaining for the past two decades. It is a solid, tested approach to improve both bargaining relationships and working relationships without "giving away the store." Labor and management representatives who have used Collaborative Negotiation say they'll never go back to the old style of bargaining again.

Components of Collaborative Negotiation Training
  • Understanding old and new approaches to bargaining
  • The process of collaborative negotiation
  • Presenting problems instead of proposals
  • Team building across sides
  • Building joint ground rules for negotiation
  • Facilitating collaborative negotiations
Uses of Collaborative Negotiation
  • Maximize productivity and minimize expense
  • Resolve conflicts between labor and management
  • Improve relations during the contract term
  • Solve real problems of management and employees
  • Improve organizational morale
  • Prevent grievances and strikes
Solve Your Toughest Bargaining Challenges

Have both sides feel good about the outcome. Both private and public organizations are facing challenges that require focus and cooperation. The alternative is to spend energy and money opposing each other, to the detriment of the businesses and organizations that supply jobs, and to the detriment of unions and their memberships.

Budgets, global markets, and societal expectations require that labor and management work together to keep jobs, profits and fiscal responsibility in place. Now, in the new century and millennium, more than ever will ride on the capability of labor and management to work together.

The past decades have seen an increasing commitment to labor-management cooperative efforts in many arenas. But the gains made in day-to-day working relationships and joint committees can be lost in resolving grievances and in collective bargaining. It often takes months or even years to get beyond the bad feelings and win-lose atmosphere of the bargaining table. No organization can afford that time anymore.

Improve Your Bargaining Effectiveness

Collaborative Negotiation allows negotiators to deal with each other as people, to solve problems together, and to respect their differences as well as their common interests. It is a powerful, common-sense tool to advance the efforts and achieve the goals of both sides.

Four-Part Training and Facilitation
  • Part One: The Process of Collaborative Negotiations
  • Part Two: Building the Collaborative Relationship
  • Part Three: Building the Frame
  • Part Four: Getting to Yes
Anything You dont understood on this topic plz ask

Thank you. - by Team Building FL
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