Bargaining With The Devil

7657 Words Aug 19th, 2014 31 Pages
When to Negotiate,
When to Fight

ROBERT MNOOKIN is professor of law at Harvard Law School, the director of the Harvard Negotiation
Research project and chair of the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School. Dr. Mnookin has taught several workshops on negotiation skills for corporations, government agencies and law firms. He is the author of nine books including Beyond Winning, Negotiating on Behalf of Others and Barriers to Conflict Resolution as well as numerous articles. Dr. Mnookin has been involved in resolving numerous landmark commercial disputes including that between IBM and Fujitsu over operating system software and between Boston
Scientific and Medinol over intellectual
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It’s the conflict between principle and pragmatism. There aren’t any immutable commandments which will always apply. Instead, four general guidelines you should try and keep in mind are:

Be systematic in evaluating the expected costs and benefits of negotiation


Never do an analysis alone – get advice from others in evaluating alternatives


Have a bias in favor of negotiation
– but make it rebuttable


Don’t allow your own moral beliefs to color a pragmatic assessment of benefits

Four guidelines Negotiating With the Devil - Page 2


The three challenges

When trying to resolve a conflict, there are generally three challenges which affect your ability to make a good decision on whether to negotiate or not:



You have to analyze the cost and benefits of negotiating versus all other viable alternatives


The three challenges You have to avoid all the emotional traps which can lead to an unwise knee-jerk reaction

You have to address all the moral and ethical issues involved in deciding whether to negotiate with an enemy

“After helping to resolve many business and family disputes over the years, I have come to believe that for most of us, confronting an enemy poses exceptional negotiation challenges. When I say
‘enemy,’ I do not mean just an
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