Negotiation is not a competitive sport
By Steven P. Cohen Reprint # 9B04TD05 IVEY MANAGEMENT SERVICES • July/August 2004 COPYRIGHT © 2004
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A fanciful history of negotiation
By Steven P. Cohen
Steven P. Cohen is the president of The Negotiation Skills Company, Pride's Crossing, Massachusetts, and the author of Negotiating Skills for Managers, (McGraw Hill 2002). He is an adjunct professor in the international MBA programs at Brandeis University, and Groupe HEC, Jouy-en-Josas, France.
If everyone -- an individual or a company -- had everything they wanted, there would be no particular reason to negotiate, bargain, or collaborate in decision-making. But in the real world, we do not have everything; the resources we control or influence do not serve all of our interests. Unless we can find and reach agreements with parties who can respond to our interests, our needs will not be satisfied. Moreover, we are far more likely to find agreeable counterparties for joint decision-making if we can offer something that is important to them. Some parties' negotiating styles put them in a bind, literally; the unilateral decision-making and the resulting demands particular to such styles give these parties little leeway for achieving favorable results. When one party says, "My way or the highway," it
A potted history of the process of reaching agreement could say that in the old days, two