Stuart E. Schafer, J.D., University of Mississippi, USA
Anthony P. Ammeter, Ph.D., University of Mississippi, USA
Delvin D. Hawley, Ph.D., University of Mississippi, USA
Bart L. Garner, Ph.D., University of Mississippi, USA
This article presents a discussion of the importance of a course in bargaining and negotiation to
university-level students in an accredited business school environment. In addition to discussing
recommended content, pedagogy, and assessment methods, the results of a study that examines the
impact of the course on students’ perceptions of skills, attitudes, and behaviors associated with
effective negotiation is presented. The results of the study clearly demonstrate significant shifts in
students’ perceptions regarding power, constructive dialogue, and the appropriate role and
definition of “winning” in such bargaining and negotiation encounters.
Negotiation is a learned skill employed to secure agreements between two or more individuals or
groups in every stage and aspect of human endeavor. It is utilized in businesses and families,
between friends and mere acquaintances. It is practiced in corporate office suites and on factory
floors, at home, in the marketplace, in court and in the political arena. This elemental skill provides the needed
flexibility and adaptability necessary to promote the efficient and effective operation and functioning of modern
You can view the negotiation process and its outcomes from several perspectives. In a more traditional
game theory perspective, negotiation is seen as a means to achieve a goal. Interdependent choices are being made in
many goal-seeking situations and negotiation is but a subset of the problem (Lim, Benbasat 1993). The outcome of
the game is the focus or perspective.
Howard (1996) suggests viewing the negotiation process “as a drama” in which game theory is applied to
analyze the negotiation process. Traditional game theory would have the disputants changing within the game,
whereas Howard suggests, more can be achieved by changing the model of the dispute.
Economic negotiations developed from the perspective of specific types of disputes, such as reaching
agreement on prices or wages. Political negotiation begins with the recognition of differing self-interests wherein
resolving the conflict between these self-interests becomes the perspective. Bordone and Berkman (2010) recently noted.