ONE OF THE GREAT challenges of social life is dealing with difference. Diversity in race, religion, gender or generation leads to people adopting contrasting cultural practices, beliefs, values and ways of doing things. These differences, in turn, can cause problems when people from disparate backgrounds have to attempt to sort out areas of disagreement. Of such is the stuff of wars, communal conflicts and industrial disputes. But even at a more mundane level, among families and friends, there is a frequent lack of concordance when deciding what to do or where to go. Negotiation is one way of overcoming such difference. As Lewicki et al. (2003: ix) pointed out, 'negotiation is not only common but also essential to living an effective and satisfying life. We all need things-resources, information, cooperation and support from others. Others have those needs as well, sometimes compatible with ours sometimes not.' This means we inevitably have to enter into regular exchanges of give and take with other people. While many think of it primarily in the context of resolving international disagreements, hostage situations or industrial disputes, in fact we all have to negotiate on a day-to-day basis. It may take place in the context of, for example, agreeing where to eat, what movie to see, what time the children should be home by, where to go on holiday, or more formally the sale and purchase of houses and cars. In this sense, negotiation is pervasive in our lives.
Professionals, of course, have added responsibilities for negotiating with colleagues, managers, clients, and so on, as part of their work role. All jobs necessitate a capacity to negotiate and bargain effectively