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Win-Win Negotiation

Everyone of us in our daily life negotiates for something. One may be negotiating with

his/her teacher to give him/her more marks, one may be negotiating with his/her parents for a

permission to take their car or one may be negotiating with his/her spouse to go to to an opera

instead of a chinese resturant. Negotiation is defined as a dialogue in order to resolve disputes

or to reach an agreement upon a particular course of action or to compromise for individual

or collective benefit or it may be intended to design outcomes to satisfy various vested

interest. It is regarded as the basic and primary way of alternative dispute resolution. It is a

general misconception that negotiations only occur when there is no fixed or established set

of rules, procedures, or system for resolving a conflict, or when the parties prefer to work out

side of the system to invent their own solution to the conflict. Even when there are fixed

statutes and regulations people still tend to indulge in negotiation to reach a better deal.


Win-win negotiation style was evolved in 1970s from Economic Game Theory. “Getting to

Yes” by Fisher& Ury is regarded as one of the first contributions in this respect. The aim of

win-win negotiation is to find a solution that is acceptable to both parties, and leaves both

parties feeling that they've won, in some way, after the event. This helps people keep good

working relationships afterwards. This negotiation style is also termed as mutual gains

bargaining by some authors. “Win-win negotiating isn’t a matter of altruism, morality, or

ethics. I practice and preach it for one simple, unsentimental reason: it’s the only thing that
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works.” (Thomas, Jim. Negotiate to Win: the 21 rules for successful negotiating.) It is the

only way to track, finalize, and sustain rewarding agreements. Win-win negotiation refers

means no trickery, lying, foul play, or misbehavior of any sort. It means tactfully pointing out

the other side’s mistakes. Win-win negotiation demands to keep results within sensible

constraints, but it doesn’t make you the guarantor of the other side’s success. And neither do

it asks for an even-steven deal.

Win-Win Tactics

Before using the tactics intended for win-win outcome one has to bear in mind What the

tactic to be used is about, what type of words or phrases negotiators should use to execute

the tactic, what are the advantages of using this tactic, How the tactic may backfire or limit

one’s effectiveness and general information about the use of this tactic. (Gosselin, Tom.

Practical Negotiating: Tools, Tactics, and Techniques.)

Need for Win-Win Style of Negotiation

The first question one asks himself is that why do I choose win-win style approach for

negotiation when I can play the hardball? The answer is “Win-win negotiating is mandatory

because the other side survives the talks… they’ll get you if you hose them.” (Thomas, Jim.

Negotiate to Win: the 21 rules for successful negotiating.) as mentioned earlier it helps in

maintaining a working relationship with others. In comparison to a win-lose approach (where

one kills the hen to get all the eggs at once and ends up losing the one daily egg) win-win

approach is more of a long-term approach where people can comprise on smaller losses today

for the purpose of getting bigger gains tomorrow.

Situations Where Win-Win Approach is not Needed

After being pestered so much in favor of win-win approach one still has to keep in min that

win-win approach isn’t the only approach to negotiation. There are situations where win-win
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negotiating isn’t required: a one-shot deal. If one will never be dealing with the other side

again, they can’t retaliate. In such a situation (from a purely economic perspective), win-win

negotiating isn’t only unnecessary, but wasteful. Bargain as aggressively as one’s conscience

allows. Car deals, house deals, buying or selling something through a private-party classified

ad are few of the examples.


A few of the writers criticize that “….it is important to observe that the original meanings of

the terms "collaborative" or "integrative" are NOT synonymous with the term ‘win-win’,

which is used to denote that both parties ‘win’ in a conflict episode. Yet, the terms are often

used interchangeably.” (Mcnary, Lisa, D. The Term "Win-Win" in Conflict Management: A

Classic Case of Misuse and Overuse. The Journal of Business Communication.).

Another critique is called Wissman Paradox which hypothesizes that "win-win" is a falacy

and one of two situations should exist: either there is no real conflict or some type form of

compromise is there. The Green Conundrum conjectures that every stakeholder in a conflict

management situation can not be taken into consideration; even as the immediate parties may

look like "winners," the stakeholders in the larger systems may be the ultimate losers. It

means there is always a loser in every conflict management situation involving more than two

parties, and the mystery is to find out the loser. (Mcnary, Lisa, D. "Win-Win": The Creation of a

Communication Oxymoron in the Business Sector.)

Common sense tells us that no situation is equally good for all parties involved. One winner

always comes away with a bigger piece of the pie.
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Works Cited

Cohen, Stephen, P. Negotiating Skills for Managers. McGraw-Hill. (2002).

Gosselin, Tom. Practical Negotiating: Tools, Tactics, and Techniques. John Wiley & Sons,

Inc. (2007).

Mcnary, Lisa, D. The Term "Win-Win" in Conflict Management: A Classic Case of Misuse

and Overuse. The Journal of Business Communication, Vol. 40. Issue: 2. Page

Number: 144+. (2003).

Mcnary, Lisa, D. "Win-Win": The Creation of a Communication Oxymoron in the Business Sector.

Retrieved October 31, 2008 from



Morrison, William, F. The Savvy Negotiator: Building Win-Win Relationships. Praeger.


Nagel, Stuart, S. Super-Optimum Solutions and Win-Win Policy: Basic Concepts and

Principles. Quorum Books. (1997).

Thomas, Jim. Negotiate to Win: the 21 rules for successful negotiating. Perfect Bound

(HarperCollins). (2005).