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

Abstract:
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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