Was Machiavelli Right? Lying in Negotiation and the Art of Defensive Self-Help

Peter R. Reilly
Texas A&M School of Law

October 7, 2008

Ohio State Journal on Dispute Resolution, Vol. 24, No. 3, 2009
UNLV William S. Boyd School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 09-05

Abstract:

The majority of law review articles addressing lying and deception in negotiation have argued, in one form or another, that liars and deceivers could be successfully reined in and controlled if only the applicable ethics rules were strengthened, and if corresponding enforcement powers were sufficiently beefed up and effectively executed. This article takes a different approach, arguing that the applicable ethics rules will likely never be strengthened, and, furthermore, that even if they were, they would be difficult to enforce in any meaningful way, at least in the context of negotiation. The article concludes that lawyers, businesspeople, and everyone else who engages in negotiation should learn how to carefully and purposefully implement mindsets, strategies, and tactics to defend themselves against others who lie and deceive. The article sets forth those defensive devices and offers prescriptive advice for minimizing one’s risk of being exploited in a negotiation should other parties lie.

Was Machiavelli Right? Lying in Negotiation and the Art of Defensive Self-Help

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