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Updated: 14 Dec 2020

Principled Negotiation

[prin-suh-puh ld] [ni-goh-shee-ey-shuh n]

Principled negotiation is an interest-based approach to negotiation that focusses primarily on conflict management and conflict resolution. Principled negotiation uses an integrative approach to finding a mutually shared outcome.

First explained in the book Getting to Yes, principled negotiation is used mostly in North America. The concept is more popular amongst academics and mediators than in business. Business to business sellers have criticized those academics who put principled negotiation forward as a negotiation panacea. Professional buyers tend to brand these academics as idealists who don’t understand the challenges posed in the real world by negotiating with trained sales negotiation professionals.

Principled negotiation has become synonymous with the more popular phrase “Win-Win.” This phrase was originally taken from game theory. Although Fisher and Ury drew from various disciplines in their 1981 book Getting to Yes (including many lessons taken from NLP), many mediation practitioners and academics have subsequently contributed in answering the challenging question: how can we best achieve principled negotiation in many different contexts?

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