The distributive bargaining negotiation occurs when negotiation participants take a position contradictory to the interests of other counterparties. The typical circumstances of distributive negotiation are usually compared with the distribution of something valuable to both parties while being of a scarce nature (for example, profit distribution). In this situation, participants can increase their individual shares only at a cost of reduction of other participants’ shares and cannot increase resources available to them by default.
The primary goal of each negotiation participant is maximizing the individual share through information exchange and convincing. Pursuing this goal and strategizing their communication efforts, negotiators usually follow several important tactical tasks in the situation of distributive bargaining negotiation (Lewicki, et al., 2011). First of all, a negotiator is supposed to evaluate the counterparty’s target share, resistance point and costs of exiting the negotiation process. This can be achieved by a direct inquiry or an indirect assessment, which is based on the background information. Second, a negotiator is supposed to influence and control the counterparty’s perceptions on the negotiator’s own target share and resistance point. This includes information hiding techniques and restricting the information presented to the counterparty, or measures aimed at alerting the counterparty’s impressions. Third tactical task is intended to alter the counterparty’s perception on his/ her own target share and resistance point, for example by making the suggested proposals appear more attractive. Finally, a negotiator can manipulate the costs of exiting the negotiation process. This includes disruption of the regular course of actions to increase the exit costs, involving third parties to the negotiation process, or schedule manipulations (Lewicki, et al., 2011).

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According to Roger Fisher and William Ury (1987), a ‘winning’ negotiation leads to a better and more sustainable process for dealing with different (and in some cases, contradictory) positions of negotiators and results in more effective outcomes, both in terms of the solutions found and human relationships. To achieve an ideal negotiation, Lewicki et al. (2011) recommend the following sequence of steps to be undertake by a negotiator. First of all, ultimate goals of the negotiation have to be determined, prioritized and strategized. Initially, a negotiator has to define the issues, which are supposed to be discussed during the negotiating process. After the issues are being defined, a negotiator is supposed to prioritize and assemble them, and define his/ her own bargaining mix. Next, a negotiator is advised to proceed with defining interests of each counterparty in the negotiation process, the negotiator’s own resistance point and costs of exiting the negotiation process. Then a negotiator is supposed to estimate the target point, or planned share, and the asking price, which might be initially requested. Estimating the negotiator’s own target point, it is required to follow initially identified goals of the negotiation process and take into account potential trade-offs. Social context of the negotiation and the negotiator’s own constituents have to be considered by identifying their interests and prioritizing their impact. Next, the counterparties in the negotiation process have to be thoroughly analyzed including conducting needs assessment, estimating the counterparty’s bargaining mix, social context, reputation and other determinants. Finally, a negotiator has to plan presentation of issues to the counterparties and identify protocols needs to be followed in this negotiation.

Multiparty negotiations are considered to be a specific type of negotiation process that involves more than two counterparties and are influenced by the co-joint interests of different counterparties, a variety of agendas applicable to the process, and different forms of coalitions between the negotiators (Crump, 2003; Susskind, 2004). Lewicki et al. (2011) distinguished three essential stages of managing multiparty negotiations: the prenegotiation stage, the formal negotiation and the agreement phase. During the prenegotiation stage, participants usually interact with each other informally, learn the issues and construct an agenda. In the next stage, the formal negotiation, participants select a chair, build coalitions, use and update the agenda. In the final stage, the agreement phase, participants select the best possible option among alternatives, elaborate an action plan on the solution implementation and evaluate the negotiation process (Lewicki, et al., 2011).

  • Crump, L. (2003). Multiparty negotiation and the management of complexity. International Negotiation, 8(2), 189-195.
  • Fisher, R., Patton, B., & Ury, W. (1987). Getting to yes: negotiating agreement without giving in (1st ed.). Hutchinson Business, London.
  • Lewicki, R. J., Saunders, D. M., Minton, J. W., Roy, J., & Lewicki, N. (2011). Essentials of negotiation. Boston, MA: McGraw-Hill/Irwin.
  • Susskind, L. (2004). Making the Most of Multiparty Negotiations. HBS Working Knowledge. Retrieved 20 March 2017, from