Integrative Negotiation Tactics

Cite this article as:"Integrative Negotiation Tactics," in The Business Professor, updated October 22, 2017, last accessed August 3, 2020,


What are some “integrative negotiation tactics” and how should you employ them?

• Expand and Modify the Resource Pie – add resources in such a way that both sides can achieve their objectives.

• Use Nonspecific Compensation – allow one person to obtain his objectives and pay off the other person for accommodating his interests.

• Cut the Costs for Compliance – one party achieves her objectives and the other’s costs are minimized if he agrees to go along.

• Find a Bridge Solution – when the parties are able to invent new options that meet all their respective needs they have created a bridge solution. Successful bridging requires a fundamental reformulation of the problem so that the parties are not discussing their positions but disclosing information that will satisfy needs.

• Super-ordination – when “the differences in interest that gave rise to the conflict are superseded or replaced by other interests.”

• Compromise – compromises are not considered to be a good integrative strategy except for circumstances where parties are very entrenched and it is unlikely that a more comprehensive agreement is possible.

• Brainstorm – generating as many solutions (including non-obvious solutions) to the problem as possible. The following rules should be observed when engaging in brainstorming.

• Take Surveys – asking a large number of people to list all possible solutions they can imagine.

• Perspective-taking – Ask questions about interests and priorities and provide information about your interests and priorities. Avoid the illusion of transparency in which negotiators believe they are revealing more than they actually are.

• Unbundling and Bundling – Begin by unbundling (or identifying separately) the issues. Once all issues are understood, make package deals (rather than single-issue offers).

• Logrolling – Successful logrolling requires the parties to establish (or find) more than one issue in conflict; the parties then agree to trade off among these issues so that one party achieves a highly preferred outcome on the first issue and the other person achieves a highly preferred outcome on the second issue.

• Multiple Simultaneous Offers – Make multiple offers of equivalent value simultaneously. An approach to this tactic might include:
⁃ devise multiple-issue offers;
⁃ devise offers that are all of equal value to yourself; and
⁃ make the offers all at the same time.

The advantages for the negotiator are that she can be aggressive in anchoring; can gain better information about the other party (inductive reasoning); can be persistent and persuasive regarding the value of an offer; and can overcome concession aversion.

• Contingency Contracts – Contingency contracts are those that change based upon some designated occurrence or non-occurrence. Structure contingency contracts by capitalizing on differences in valuation, expectations, risk attitudes, time preferences, and capabilities. This is an extremely useful tactic to bring parties together when there is a standstill. Note that, effective contingency contracts:
⁃ should not create a conflict of interest;
⁃ should be enforceable and may require a written component;
⁃ should be clear, measurable, and readily evaluated; and
⁃ should require continued interaction among parties.

Common errors by negotiators that often do not lead to a win-win or integrative outcome include:

• Overcommitment – Parties may commit to reaching a win-win deal while having an incorrect idea about what win-win is. This overcommitment can ignore the realities of the negotiation and cause a loss of value or failed negotiation.

• Compromise – Collaborating is a fundamental aspect of integrative negotiations. Often, however, negotiators confuse collaboration with compromising between the two parties positions. While this may be necessary, it can also occur at the expensive of value creation and result in a more distributive process. It is important to remember that compromise means slicing the pie, rather than expanding the pie through integrative tactics.

• Relationship Focus – Understanding the nature of the relationship at stake is imperative in distributive and integrative negotiations. Focusing on a long-term relationship, however, may result in accommodation by one party. It is important to remember that a long-term relationship can be a win-win throughout multiple negotiations, but that is not absolutely certain. Before taking an accommodative stance to build a long-term relationship, determine whether such a relationship will yield value in the future.

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