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Negotiation is not a competitive sport. In competitive sports, the object
is to end up winning the game, the race, or the event. Negotiators who
focus on treating other parties as opponents run the risk of ending up with
reluctant counterparties to whatever agreements may be reached. Unless all
the parties are fully committed to their agreement, it may well fall apart;
in those circumstances the negotiation has failed.
The ethics of negotiation should be based on several understandings:
Thus the Golden Rule of treating others as you would wish to be treated has the bottom line value of increasing other parties’ enthusiasm about negotiating with you as well as their enthusiasm about the ultimate agreement.
Good negotiation ethics: honesty, transparency, respect for others are all genuinely pragmatic approaches to use. A negotiatorąs reputation is not unlike that of a restaurant: if you have a bad meal, you are not likely to return. And a negotiator with whom others donąt want to deal is effectively out of business.
Steven P. Cohen, President of The Negotiation Skills Company, Inc. (www.negotiationskills.com) and author of Negotiating Skills for Managers (McGraw-Hill, 2002) was awarded his Masters degree in Business Ethics by Henley Management College (UK).
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Copyright © 2004, Steven P. Cohen and The Negotiation Skills Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Copyright © 2004, The Negotiator Magazine