Mental Models in Negotiation

Cite this article as:"Mental Models in Negotiation," in The Business Professor, updated October 22, 2017, last accessed July 4, 2020, https://thebusinessprofessor.com/lesson/mental-models-in-negotiation/.

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What are mental models of negotiation?

Mental models are the ways in which people understand social and physical systems. While frames concern how individuals receive and process information, a mental model concerns how individuals approach a situation. That is, it is the mental predisposition that results from a number of influences, such as their mental frame or their cognitive biases. Negotiators’ mental models shape their behavior in the negotiation process. Five distinct mental models of negotiation include:

⁃ Haggling Model – This is a competitive mindset where each negotiator tries to obtain the biggest share of the bargaining zone. This is often characteristic of a competitive approach to negotiations that may employ a power-based or interest-based view of the negotiation.

⁃ Cost-benefit analysis (Decision-making model) – This is a logic-based model that draws more heavily upon a collaborative strategy used to expand the potential value available.

⁃ Game-playing model – This is characteristic of a competitive bargaining strategy in which one party seeks to maximize their value by outmaneuvering the other party.

⁃ Partnership model – Negotiators who build rapport to nurture long-term relationships and often make sacrifices to uphold the relationship. This is characteristic of a collaborate negotiating strategy.

⁃ Problem-solving model – This model seeks to come to a firm, logical outcome that resolves any conflicts. It is generally marked by a collaborative or accommodative strategy.

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