Principled negotiation is a problem solving, win/win approach to negotiation primarily developed by Roger Fisher, William Ury and Bruce Patton as a part of the Harvard Negotiation Project at Harvard University . Principled negotiation attempts to advantage all parties by providing a method of negotiation that involves thinking creatively to generate as many options as possible that will satisfy both parties. This is different to a win/lose (or zero sum) approach in which one party's gains are the other's losses. For many situations it is the creative application of the elements of principled negotiation that are critical if a potential agreement satisfactory to each side is to be achieved. The four key elements in principled negotiation are (Fisher et al. 1991): 1. Separating the people from the problem
Effective negotiators should be able to differentiate between issues related to people and the problem itself. People issues involve emotions, different perceptions and poor communication. For example, if one negotiator is angry then that anger needs to be addressed and should not interfere with solving the negotiation problem. As a negotiator you may say 'Jo, that point seems to have made you upset.' In this situation you are addressing the emotion in order to differentiate it from the problem. 2. Focusing on interests rather than positions
Positions are often pre-determined, concrete and explicit. For example, one party's position may be to accept a salary of no less than $40,000. The other party's position may be to offer no more than $35,000. These positions will tend to get the parties locked in to a contest of will. A more flexible approach is to search for the interests, desires, motivations and needs that underlie the positions. For example, why does the person want $40,000? Are there other benefits or schemes that could provide an equivalent value to the person? Why will the other party not pay more than $35,000? Is there a...
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