Psychological influence in negotiation subject of paper by Harvard Business School profs

Psychology of negotiationDeepak Malhotra and Max H. Bazerman, professors at Harvard Business School and recognized negotiation experts, have published a paper available to the public for downloading that ponders the “Psychological Influence in Negotiation: An Introduction Long Overdue“. (Direct link to PDF download here.)

For anyone who studies or teaches negotiation, or negotiates frequently (and that, my friends, includes every single one of you — any time you’re trying to talk things through with someone else, you’re negotiating), this paper provides important information presented in an accessible and highly readable format.

This paper discusses the causes and consequences of the (surprisingly) limited extent towhich social influence research has penetrated the field of negotiation, and then presents a framework for bridging the gap between these two literatures. The paper notes that one of the reasons for its limited impact on negotiation research is that extant research on social influence focuses almost exclusively on economic or structural levers of influence. With this in mind, the aper seeks to achieve five objectives:

(1) Define the domain of psychological influence as consisting of those tactics which do not require the influencer to change the economic or structural aspects of the bargaining situation in order to persuade the target;

(2) Review prior research on behavioral decision making to identify ideas that may be relevant to the domain of psychological influence;

(3) Provide a series of examples of how behavioral decision research can be leveraged to create psychological influence tactics for use in negotiation;

(4) Consider the other side of influence, i.e., how targets of influence might defend against the tactics herein considered; and

(5) Consider some of the ethical issues surrounding the use of psychological influence in negotiation.

To consider how best to influence your counterpart at the negotiation table and counter in turn the influence they themselves wield, you’ll want to read more.

For learning more about mastering negotiation, in particular the power of influence and persuasion, Malhotra and Bazerman’s recent book, Negotiation Genius: How to Overcome Obstacles and Achieve Brilliant Results at the Bargaining Table and Beyond, serves as an excellent resource.

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