Negotiation can be defined as back-and-forth communication designed to reach an agreement between two or more parties with some interests that are shared and others that may conflict or simply be different. As such, negotiation is one of the most basic forms of interaction, intrinsic to any kind of joint action, as well as to problem solving and dispute resolution. It can be verbal or nonverbal, explicit or implicit, direct or through intermediaries, oral or written, face-to-face, ear-to-ear, or by letter or e-mail.

This chapter describes the basic analytic elements of business negotiation, uses them to define the goals of negotiation, and briefly discusses the implications of these elements for effective, systematic preparation. It then explores some of the most common approaches and choices in negotiation process, including their strengths and weaknesses, challenges to effective implementation, and guidelines for use. It takes a particularly close look at the “collaborative” approach to negotiation that has been proposed to deal with the complexities of shared, differing, and conflicting interests, including the critiques of that approach that have emerged since the publication of the seminal work Getting to YES in 1981.

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