The Negotiator Magazine

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3. It may strengthen their leverage.

Parties also may go public to attempt to maximize their leverage. How? By suggesting publicly that their alternative to doing the deal with the other side is perfectly acceptable.

Let's say a union leader publicly suggests that they have prepared for a strike. Simply making this statement in public may increase the likelihood that their employer will view a strike as a more realistic possibility.

A reasonable evaluation of the leader's statement is that he would not "go public" and put his credibility on the line if it were not true. Since leverage is based in part on the parties' perception, the employers' changed perception of the union's willingness to strike may strengthen the union's leverage.

4. It may help to control the agenda.

Finally, parties may go public to try to control the agenda. They might do this by highlighting the importance of certain issues, or by raising the stakes in the negotiation.

By publicly commenting on certain issues or publicly committing to certain positions, parties also may limit their ability to backtrack on those issues. Backtracking on issues after publicly committing to them involves lost credibility. Nobody wants to suffer this.

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