The Competitive and the Cooperative Negotiation

When we say ‘how do we organise the negotiation’ will deal with aspects such as where we negotiate, at which time, at which table, in which room or space and with which logistics. However, the strategic part also comes in to this ‘how’, as it is to negotiate cooperatively.

In general, there are two strategies that are commonly used for negotiations: the competitive and the cooperative.

The cooperative strategy tries to create value and take care of the other party, while the competitive one aims to recover value and defend the negotiator’s own interests. As such, the right strategy would undoubtedly be a mixture of the two that allows you to protect your interests and preserve the relationship.

Another part of the ‘how’ factor is all the logistical aspects that we must take into account and that we will have to preserve. These aspects include thinking about the negotiating process itself, which means: where are we going to negotiate, at which times will we conduct the negotiation, in which place, under which conditions, who will participate in the process and how we will structure it? All these aspects are also part of the negotiating strategy.

Competitive negotiation

This is a negotiation in which the available value is fixed and the parties try to get the largest piece of the pie. Therefore, with this negotiating style, there is one side that wins and another that loses. The question is: who is going to request more value?

This leads us to distributive negotiation, which is aimed at getting the maximum value. This model is sometimes said to produce a null result, because one wins what the other loses.

With this strategy, information is an essential element. If the other party knows little about you, it will be difficult for them to detect your weaknesses and preferences. We can communicate our interests, but never their intensity. Without this information, your posture will be more solid and comfortable.

Cooperative negotiation

With cooperative negotiation, both parties collaborate to reach an agreement that allows both to obtain maximum performance. In this case, the first step is to create the value and then to distribute it.

When you want to turn a competitive negotiation into a cooperative one, keep in mind that the parties will have to associate to reach an agreement that can satisfy both of their interests. At the same time, they must create and share value.

These cooperative negotiations are very important in today’s world, because they will allow you to sustain the relationship with the other party. In cooperative management, the objective is twofold: firstly, to create as much value as possible for you and the other negotiator; and secondly, to be able to recover it later.


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