Bargaining Strategies in Conflict Resolution: Distributive and Integrative Bargaining

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  • 0:07 Bargaining
  • 0:52 Distributive Bargainging
  • 1:54 Integrative Bargaining
  • 3:44 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Jennifer Lombardo
Bargaining is a joint process of finding a mutually acceptable solution to a complex conflict. There are two types of bargaining that can be used by individuals daily in an organizational environment.


Susie Steel is the vice president of Hearts Development. In her position, she handles bargaining, or negotiations, to build businesses throughout the New York area. Bargaining is a joint process of finding a mutually acceptable solution to a complex conflict. Susie is a pro negotiator with success in solving many organizational problems. She is currently trying to resolve a conflict concerning building a new shopping center near an upscale development.

Many of the homeowners feel that the traffic congestion and the eyesore of a mall near their homes will kill resale value of their properties. The CEO's choice of using Susie to resolve the conflict is an excellent one since she has had experience negotiating with groups and one-on-one. There are two main types of bargaining that Susie can use in her arsenal to bring an end to this issue with the homeowners depending on the situation.

Distributive Bargaining

In distributive bargaining, the conflict is due to the fact that the goals of one party are against the goals of the other party, known as a win-lose situation. Each party in the conflict wants to win and end up with the best result. Susie recognizes that this is probably the situation they are facing with the mall.

The homeowners do not want anything built on the available land. In fact, they are trying to raise money to have it bought and saved as green acres. They love the rolling hills and enjoy seeing wildlife.

Susie thinks they are totally against having a mall. If this is the case, then a corporate lawyer from Hearts needs to be brought in to try and maximize the deal and not worry about what the homeowners think about the mall. Susie has organized a meeting with the development representatives to see if there is any flexibility.

After the evening meeting, she realized that there was some interest from homeowners in having a mall, but it had to be upscale and help home values, not hurt them. She thinks her best opportunity to relate to the homeowners is to use another type of bargaining.

Integrative Bargaining

Integrative bargaining is an approach which concentrates on finding a win-win situation for both parties involved in the conflict. Susie is optimistic that she can utilize this style of bargaining as to not totally destroy relationships in the community.

Susie scheduled another meeting for the following week. She sent a letter to the development's leaders and stated that she wanted this to be a win-win situation, but certain rules had to be followed for a successful bargaining session:

  • They need to have a common goal.
  • They have to respect each other's positions.
  • Both sides have to be motivated to make the situation work.
  • Trust and good, mutual communication are needed during talks.

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