March 2020

15 Mar 20

One common negotiating mentality among lawyers is “go hard or go home”, but according to a Wharton professor of operations and an Uber data scientist (Knowledge@Wharton Blog, Hard Negotiations: Why a Softer Approach Yields Better Outcomes), harmonious bargaining, ie, approaching negotiations as a joint problem to be solved – or even, foregoing any negotiation – can yield better long-term results.

In a lot of these cases, the negotiation is only the beginning of our relationship or interaction. We’re meeting people and having to interact with them again and again after the negotiation process. It’s not that when we leave the table everyone forgets what has happened. We remember the price we reached or some agreement we reached, but we also remember how we reached that outcome, and we form perceptions of our counterparts. These relationships can have long-term implications beyond the negotiation table.
When we think about negotiation strategies, we tend to think, “Oh, we’re going to negotiate anyway. Let’s see how we navigate that situation.” But in many cases we might be better off not even starting this process — not engaging in negotiation that may end up creating conflict.