Negotiation Styles: The Impact on Bargaining Transactions

Charles B. CraverCharles B. Craver
George Washington University – Law School

Journal of Dispute Resolution, Vol. 48, April 2003
GWU Legal Studies Research Paper No. 328
GWU Law School Public Law Research Paper No. 328

This article discusses the three major negotiating styles and their impact on bargaining interactions. The first is the Cooperative/Problem-Solving style in which the participants are entirely open with each other, and work to achieve fair agreements that maximize the joint gains they achieve. The Competitive/Adversarial style involves persons who are less open and strive to maximize their own returns. The third approach involves the Competitive/Problem-Solving style in which negotiators seek generous returns for themselves, but also work to maximize the joint returns achieved by both sides. Studies show that over half of Cooperative/Problem-Solvers are considered by their peers to be effective negotiators, while fewer than 25 percent of Competitive/Adversarial negotiators are. When one examines the primary goals of Cooperative/Problem-Solvers, it becomes clear that some are wolves in sheep’s clothing, since their second objective is to maximize their own returns. This is what makes many of these individuals Competitive/Problem-Solvers: they have a competitive objective, but work to maximize the joint returns achieved by the negotiating parties.

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