Best Practices in an Integrative Negotiation

Cite this article as:"Best Practices in an Integrative Negotiation," in The Business Professor, updated October 2, 2017, last accessed July 4, 2020,

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What procedures are considered best practices in a integrative negotiation?

Begin by understanding the primary approach to a distributive negotiation. As part of any negotiation procedure, you must assess your interests and strategy. Below, we outline unique or additional components to the process to make the negotiation integrative in nature.

• Step 1: Identify and define the interests in conflict. As in a distributive negotiation, the first step is to focus on the interests at stake. In an integrative negotiation, there are generally multiple interests. Thus, it is important to evaluate and prioritize the interests at stake. This is a critical step because it sets broad parameters regarding what the negotiation and provides an initial framework for dealing with the conflict.

⁃ Note: There is almost always more than one type of interest underlying a negotiation. Types of interests might include: Substantive Interests; Process-based Interests; Relationship-based Interests; and Interests in Principle

• Step 2: Assess your BATNA with regard to the alternative interests. Evaluating and selecting alternative courses of action is again part of the strategic planning process. As examples of what we will discuss in Chapters 5 & 6, below are some approaches to evaluating strategic options. Be able to justify you preferences for one alternative over another. You may want to address issues of risk preference, expectations and logistics (such as time preferences).

• Step 3: Determine your reservation point, but do not reveal it. There may be a reservation point for every interest at stake.

• Step 4: Determine your target point (be realistic, but optimistic).

• Step 5: Research the counterparty’s BATNA and estimate her reservation point. This is very difficult when there are multiple interests at stake. If, however, there is one outstanding interest for a competitor, this is extremely useful information.

• Step 6: Assess your strategic position and objectives. In Chapters 5 & 6 we discuss what makes up a strategy – namely the orientation, objectives, and plan. With an understanding of the other party, you can pursue a competitive, collaborative, yielding, compromising, or avoidance strategy. Your objectives will concern how you will seek to approach each interest. For example, will you use logic or emotion to seek commonality of understanding, or will you attempt to deceive the other party? Then you can begin forming a plan for how you will carry this out. The plan is generally fully of tactics for carrying out your strategic objectives in accordance with your orientation.

• Step 7: Set your Anchor. Generally, you will open up with a packaged or bundled offer of the interests at stake. To give room for concessions, it is still advisable to aspire high on all available interests. Unlike in a distributive negotiation, however, it may be possible to increase your request for any single interest if you are wiling to reduce your request for another.

• Step 8: Plan your concessions. Based upon your perception of the situation and the other party, develop a plan for how you will approach concessions. You may follow a pattern. For example, you could plan to make multiple small concessions followed by a large concession to signal a “bottom line” or final negotiation point. Any plan should concern the extent of concession (small or large) and the frequency or timing.

• Step 9: Make a final offers. This can be difficult when there are multiple interests at play. A final offer in such situation should NOT really be a final offer, unless you specify a reservation point for any given interest.

Of course, there are any number of ways to approach an integrative negotiation. This proposed approach simply seeks to identify a logic and cohesive approach to dealing with an otherwise difficult scenario.

• Discussion: How do you think the proposed approach to an integrative negotiation situation compares to that of distributive negotiation? Which step of this approach do you find most challenging and why?

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