The Enlightened Negotiator: What is the Best Type of Interaction?

Gail Berger
Northwestern University – Kellogg School of Management

Mary (Molly) C. Kern
Baruch College

Leigh Thompson
Northwestern University – Kellogg School of Management

16th Annual IACM Conference Melbourne, Australia


One of the most profound breakthroughs for students in negotiation courses is the realization that negotiations are not always win-lose, or more technically fixed-sum situations. However, many students of negotiation express frustration and exasperation when they attempt these new-found skills in ‘real world’ negotiations. This dilemma points to a fundamental misassumption about negotiation: the faulty belief that in order to reach integrative (win-win) agreements, both people need to be enlightened, that is, not only aware of the possibility of win-win, but actively committed to reaching win-win deals. In this research we examine whether or not enlightened negotiators can reach integrative outcomes even when the other party is un-enlightened. Furthermore, we investigate whether or not the particular interaction approach taken by the enlightened party is critical.

The Enlightened Negotiator- What is the Best Type of Interaction?

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