Summary of "Negotiation: Strategies for Mutual Gain"

Summary of

Negotiation: Strategies for Mutual Gain

By Lavinia Hall

Summary written by Conflict Research Consortium Staff

Citation: Negotiation: Strategies for Mutual Gain. Lavinia Hall, ed. London: Sage Publications, 1993, 212 pp.

Negotiation: Strategies for Mutual Gain is a collection of essays which present key concepts and strategies intended to promote effective negotiation and mutually beneficial dispute resolution.

Negotiation: Strategies for Mutual Gain will be of interest to those who seek to improve their negotiation skills, and to those who seek a better understanding of the negotiation process generally. This work is divided into eleven essays in three parts, with an introduction by the editor. This text was published in cooperation with the Harvard Program on Negotiation, and is an outgrowth of a semester-length course in negotiation taught under the auspices of the Program.

The essays in Part One focus on outlining frameworks for effective negotiation. Fisher, Ury and Patton analyze negotiating power in terms of the parties' BATNA (Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement). Sources of negotiating power include understanding the opposing parties interests, forging a good working relationship with other parties to negotiation, suggesting elegant options, invoking external standards of legitimacy, and making commitments. Raiffa explores then uses third party neutral analysts to produce more efficient negotiated outcomes. Neutral analysts are particularly helpful in integrative bargaining situations. Using case studies he describes specific methods by which neutral analysts can facilitate better settlements. Straus describes facilitated collaborative problem solving and process management. He stresses the importance of developing a negotiation process in the early stages of negotiation, rather than moving to consider solutions prematurely.

In Part Two the authors discuss the application of negotiation frameworks to actual organizations. Sander describes the use of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) in the court system. Susskind describes his own consensus-building approach to resolving public disputes. Although negotiation processes currently serve to supplement existing public decision-making procedures, increased use of negotiation has the potential to transform those public procedures, for the better. McKersie and Heckscher each analyze the habits and beliefs which make labor relations so contentious. They suggest changes which will improve the potential for mutual gains decision making in employment relations. Rowe discusses the importance of developing flexible dispute resolution processes, which offer both complainants and complaint handlers options regarding how an issue will be resolved. Rowe describes some of the options which characterize an effective dispute resolution system.

In Part Three the author discuss the effects of individual's characteristics on the process of negotiation. Rubin describes conflict from a psychological perspective. He describes the psychological tendencies which can lead to conflict escalation or stalemate, and suggests techniques to facilitate de-escalation. Kolb investigates the effect of gender on negotiation. Williams assesses the effectiveness of cooperative and aggressive negotiation styles.

Negotiation: Strategies for Mutual Gain is useful a resource for people from all fields who must deal with conflicts. The essays are informative and accessible.