Negotiation: 2 definitions to start

Negotiation: 2 definitions to start

Pubblicato il: 8 Febbraio 2024-Categorie: Imparare a negoziare-
2 definitions of negotiation

Two negotiation textbooks

A list of negotiation definitions

Defining negotiation

Searching for negotiation, you may find many sites but rarely  a definition of what negotiation is. Even, in 2023 the Italian Wikipedia page was extremely confused about it.

Among the possible definitions two are reported in my textbook:

1) Fisher and Ury (1981, p. xvii): “Negotiation is a basic means of getting what you want from others. It is a back-and-forth communication designed to reach an agreement when you and the other side have some interests that are shared and others that are opposed”.

2) Thompson (2012, p.22): “Negotiation is an interpersonal decision-making process necessary whenever we cannot achieve our objectives single-handedly”.

Combining these two definitions I obtained my provisional definition:

“Negotiation is an interpersonal decision-making process necessary whenever we cannot achieve our objectives single-handedly; this way you are trying to getting what you want by  back-and-forth communication designed to reach an agreement when you and the other side have some interests that are shared and others that are opposed”.

In a 2023 post by the Program of Negotiation we can find a third definition:

3) Bazerman and Moore  (2013, p.175): “When two or more parties need to reach a joint decision but have different preferences they negotiate”.

Let us list a few other definitions from textbooks:

4) Patton (2005, p.279): “negotiation can be defined as back-and-forth communication designed to reach an agreement between two or more with some interests that are shared and others that may conflict or simply be different”.

5) Malhotra (2016 , p.5): negotiation “is the process by which two or more parties who perceive a difference in interests or perspective attempt to reach agreement”.

6) Karrass (1992, p.203) does not provide any definition, rather refers to Merriam-Webster in terms of “to deal with or manage”

7) Cohen (2003, p.116): “negotiation is a process involving parties with both common and conflicting interests who come together voluntarily in an attempt to arrange or adjust their future relationship”.

8) Gennaro (1991, p.9) talks about negoziato which, in Italian, has the same meaning of negotiation and actually his definition refers to  negoziazione: “negotiation is the process in which two or more parties look for a satisfying solution to a problem of common concern”.

9) Brett (2014, p.268) defines negotiation as  “the process of conferring among two or more interdependent parties to arrive at an agreement about some matter over which they are in conflict”.

10) Sebenius, Burns and Mnookin (2018, p.XXX),  referring to Kissinger, characterize negotiation “in the context of international relations as the dealmaking subset of diplomacy and foreign policy […] among parties that often see things differently and have conflicting interests […] including actions taken both at and away from the table intended to induce agreement on desirable terms”.

11) the Apa Dictionary of Psychology (2007) defines negotiation as “a reciprocal communication process in which two or more parties to a dispute examine specific issues, explain their positions, and exchange offers and counteroffers in an attempt to identify a solution or outcome that is acceptable to all parties”.

12) Lewicki, Barry and Saunders (2020 p.6-7) define  negotiation as “a process by which two or more parties attempt to resolve their opposing interests”. However, (p.3) they use the term bargaining “to describe the competitive, win-lose situations such as haggling over the price of an item at a yard sale, flea market, or used car lot”   and use the term negotiation “to refer to win-win situations such as those that occur when parties are trying to find a mutually acceptable solution to a complex conflict”.

13) Lax and Sebenius (1986, p.11): define negotiation “as a process of potentially opportunistic interaction by which two or more parties, with some apparent conflict, seek to do better through jointly decided action than could do otherwise”.

Here are a few others definitions I got either from personal communication or a LinkedIn post :

14) Philip Brown: “Two parties come together to try and find a satisfactory agreement (The ‘problem’) but they are also negotiating (the ‘twist’) which means they each are also focussed on maximising their value while still delivering satisfaction to the other party”.

15) Luis Ore: “A conversation with a purpose, whatever you want out of that conversation”.

16) Andy Young: “The working out of differences with another person through communication, which often includes bargaining”.

17) Stijn Lanen: “A process where you interact with someone who you need in order to fulfill one or more interest you have”.

18) Jean-Nicolas Reyt: “Negotiation is a conflict management technique that involves two or more parties collaborating to find a mutually acceptable solution to a disagreement. When effectively executed, negotiation not only resolves the conflict but also strengthens the relationships between the involved parties by fostering understanding, trust, and cooperation”.

19) Keld Jensen:  “A commercial negotiation is one thing and one thing only. A tool to generate and distribute value. Expand the playing field and make everyone more successful through the utilization of asymmetric values (NegoEconomics). A commercial negotiation is often NOT a conflict management tool, but a collaborative approach to solve the above challenge”.

20)  Marc Morgerstern: “ideally, negotiation is a cultivated, mutual, education and exploration process”.

21) Moshe Cohen: “Negotiations occur anytime you and someone else need to make a decision, and you don’t start off in the same place”.

The Italian version of this page is available here.

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