Magazine article Ivey Business Journal Online

Dean Carol Stephenson on Negotiation

Magazine article Ivey Business Journal Online

Dean Carol Stephenson on Negotiation

Article excerpt

The French author, Andre Marois, once wrote that: "Business is a combination of war and sport." And to be sure, business is often compared with competitive sports and warfare, a black and white world of winners and losers, where the mighty triumph and the weak are conquered.

But the truth is, business is not a zero-sum game and it's not fought on battlegrounds. Rather, business is about building and sustaining relationships relationships among customers and companies, relationships among managers and employees, and relationships among governments and industries. In business, communications is more important than force and knowledge is more valuable than size.

As the articles in this edition of the Ivey Business Journal clearly explain, communications, knowledge and cooperation are the hallmarks of effective negotiation - and essential strengths in a business world driven by relationships. As Steven P. Cohen points out in his article, negotiation is not about winners or losers or who's right or wrong. Rather, it is a "process that yields an agreement each party will willingly fulfill ... and any process that leaves a party feeling like a loser will reduce the loser's enthusiasm for honouring - and fulfilling - the deal." He makes a powerful case for the importance of a collaborative mindset in negotiations. He demonstrates how negotiating parties that treat each other like partners, not competitors, and that share information instead of hiding it, fulfill the near-term deals that lead to enduring business relationships. …

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