Personal Characteristics & Integrative Negotiations

Cite this article as:"Personal Characteristics & Integrative Negotiations," in The Business Professor, updated October 2, 2017, last accessed August 3, 2020,


What personal characteristics of negotiators facilitate a successful integrative negotiation?

An integrative negotiation is unique in that it involves more complex interest and, thus, requires a more complex strategy. The following are characteristics of orientations of a negotiator that tend to improve their proficiency in integrative negotiations.

• Common, Shared, & Joint Objectives or Goals. Negotiators should seek commonality in goals or objectives with regard to any interest. A common goal is one that all parties share equally, each one benefiting in a way that would not be possible if they did not work together. In the absence of a common goal, the parties may be able to identify shared goals for any interest. A shared goal is one that both parties work toward but that benefits each party differently. If a specific interest goal is not common or shared, it may be possible to combine the the interest with others in support of a greater ultimate goal or objective. A joint goal is one that involves different personal goals agreeing to combine them in a collective effort.

• Confidence in Problem-solving Ability – Parties who believe they can work together are more likely to do so. Confidence is related closed to perceived ability or knowledge. I high level of skill of knowledge is known as expertise. Expertise with regard to an interest at stake in a negotiation strengthens the negotiator’s understanding of the problem’s complexity, nuances, and possible solutions. Expertise, if approached correctly, will generally lead a negotiator to be more open minded and creative regarding potential resolutions or possible outcomes.

• Openness to alternative perspectives – Integrative negotiation requires a negotiator to accept both her own and the other party’s attitudes, interests, and desires as valid. Empathy is the ability to understand the position of other party. This is important for successfully employing a cooperative strategy in an integrative negotiation.

• Motivation and Commitment to Work Together – For integrative negotiation to succeed, the parties must generally be motivated to collaborate. Collaboration entails a cooperative approach to resolving the conflict at hand. This generally requires a belief in a common fate or understanding of the level of dependence in the negotiation.

• Trust – Mistrust inhibits collaboration. Generating trust is a complex, uncertain process. In Ch.10 of the material, we discuss in detail the role of trust and relationships in negotiation.

• Clear and Accurate Communication – Negotiation is essentially a communication exercise. Of note, negotiators must be willing to selectively share information about themselves as part of the negotiation process. Further, negotiators must understand the communication, or meaning each party attaches to their statements. In Ch. 9 of this material, we discuss the significance of communication in negotiation.

• Discussion: Which of the aforementioned elements do you believe would be most important to a successful integrative negotiation? Can you identify additional characteristics of a negotiator that would facilitate integrative negotiations? Do you think any of these characteristics would be a detriment in distributive forms of negotiation?

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