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We can easily detect two different types of feelings. For red, negative feelings and for blue, positive feelings. The question is: how can we be moral and ethical when we have negative feelings? It is obvious that we can't. And as long as we are feared or greedy, we wouldn't do so. A small example can be when greedy people call the trusties - suckers and the feared call the courageous ones - mad. It is unethical and is a way of undermining the superiority of the two feelings by the ones that are unable to have them.

We can not have feelings like fear and courage or trust and greed in the same time. But we can combine them in any other way. And what I found is:

greed + courage = aggressive red

greed + fear = devious red

trust + fear = softer blue

trust + courage = assertive blue

The only real ethical type is the assertive blue. Because the softer blue is feared. Jonathan Sims came up lately with the notion of "devious blue". And I think his theory has a lot of links with the "fear" within the softer blue.

My theory is that in negotiation we mustn't decide if we will be ethical or not. Instead we have to make other two decisions: 1. What are our interests and how powerful are they? 2. What are our feelings about the situation?

It is very hard to change our interests. And sometimes, apparently, they clash with morals and ethics. The solution is in attitude. We have to control our feelings. If we are led by negative feelings no matter how much we want to be ethical and moral, we can't. But if we have positive feelings, there is no need to think about moral and ethics. They will come naturally.

Ethics and morals are a set of social rules based on a system of values. Instead of breaking these rules we have to find ways to use them in our benefit by controlling our feelings.

Radu Ionescu is a negotiation consultant and negotiation trainer for Resources, Development & Ideas. Based in Romania, Mr. Ionescu works for Romanian and East European Companies. He assists and advises clients in contract negotiation, conflict solving and mediation and is also a columnist for several Romanian business magazines. To learn more about Radu Ionescu, please visit his site at or contact him at

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September 2005