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Collaborative Negotiation: Definition, Strategy & Examples

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  • 0:04 Methods of Negotiation
  • 0:55 Competitive vs. Collaborative
  • 2:17 Collaborative Strategies
  • 3:30 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: David Whitsett

David has taught computer applications, computer fundamentals, computer networking, and marketing at the college level. He has a MBA in marketing.

The word collaborative implies people are working together. A collaborative negotiation is not a win-at-all-costs scenario like other negotiations. In this lesson, we'll examine collaborative negotiations and discuss strategy and examples.

Methods of Negotiation

Here's a typical image of a negotiation: a bunch of grim-faced people gathered around a table, coffee cups and legal pads scattered everywhere. All you have to do now is sprinkle in a little posturing and aggression, and you get the picture. The winning group celebrates and the losing group slinks away.

Negotiations are often thought of win-lose, competitive situations; a zero-sum game where you either get the bigger piece of the mythical pie or you don't. This style is known as a competitive negotiation, but there is a different style: collaborative negotiation. Collaborative negotiation seeks a win-win situation where all parties walk away with something of value. Collaborative negotiation is also known as interest-based negotiation because it's based on uncovering and satisfying the interests of both parties.

Competitive vs. Collaborative

A competitive negotiation is often a one-time, single-issue interaction where forming a relationship is not a central objective. For example, when you walk into a car dealership, are you there to bond with the salesperson and become best friends? No, you're there to pay the lowest possible price for a car (i.e. the single issue) and the salesperson is trying to get the highest possible price for the car. This is a win-lose scenario, or simply a competition.

When two businesses enter a negotiation, it's often with the idea of a continued relationship. For example, let's say you're trying to find a supplier for widgets. It's easier if you find someone you can deal with on a long-term basis. Switching suppliers is hard and can disrupt production. In a collaborative negotiation, the relationship between the parties has value, so both parties are less likely to use tactics that can undermine the relationship.

A collaborative negotiation seeks to uncover the true interests of both parties so that there can be more potential points of agreement. It's about expanding the value of the negotiation, adding more to the mythical pie so that both parties can get a big enough piece.

Let's go back to the car dealership example. If the salesperson throws in some extra items like an extended warranty or fancy wheels, they've expanded the pie. The deal is no longer just about the price. You might really want the warranty too.

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