The Negotiator Magazine

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Reader's Review

John Baker

Leverage: How to Get It and How to Keep It in Any Negotiation
By Roger Volkema
214 pp. New York: AMACOM, 2006
Softcover Edition (US) $16.95

Roger Volkema is Associate Professor and Chair of the Management Department in the Kogod School of Business at American University (Washington, D.C.). Dr. Volkema holds a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Professor Volkema is the author of Negotiation Toolkit and a contributor to a variety of professional publications.

Dr. Volkema has given students of negotiation an interactive tutorial on that amazing phenomenon: leverage. His approach is logical, focused and presented in a format that gives the reader many opportunities to practice identifying and managing leverage throughout the negotiation process.

Leverage is a familiar term to the most ancient laborers who quickly learned that using its principle gave them a mechanical advantage that allowed them to achieve impossible feats. At its core, of course, was the ability to multiply and focus power on an objective.

Dr. Volkema’s book is about a similar, but different type of leverage: “social leverage” and its application to multiply and focus power in a negotiation. It is a definable and measurable phenomenon, the author explains as he begins his work. “The more it costs Party B not to have an agreement with Party A, the more Leverage Party B has,” Dr. Volkema states (p.3).

From this beginning, the author proceeds to add layers and approaches that should assure every reader insights into the meaning, types and management of leverage in negotiation. For example, we quickly encounter chapter after chapter providing further definition. Leverage is examined in terms of four characteristics, then as four distinctive states and then as seventeen common indicators of its power. The book’s design is a building block approach to building practical negotiation skill.

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May 2006