Negotiation is a process involving two or more people of either equal or unequal power meeting to discuss shared and/or opposed interests in relation to a particular area of mutual concern.
Negotiation is a dialogue intended to resolve disputes, to produce an agreement upon courses of action, to bargain for individual or collective advantage, or to craft outcomes to satisfy various interests. It is the primary method of alternative dispute resolution.
Negotiation occurs in business, non-profit organizations, government branches, legal proceedings, among nations and in personal situations such as marriage, divorce, parenting, and everyday life. The study of the subject is called negotiation theory. Those who work in negotiation professionally are called negotiators. Professional negotiators are often specialized, such as union negotiators, leverage buyout negotiators, peace negotiators, hostage negotiators, or may work under other titles, such as diplomats, legislators or brokers.
As a process, negotiation has three dimensions. First, negotiation is an educational process: it enlightens the other side about your team's concerns, perceptions and aspirations. Second, negotiation is a problem-solving process: inevitably the parties involved have different perspectives that must be reconciled if there is to be progress. Third, negotiation is an interdependent process: workable and sustainable progress depends on building a cooperative relationship with the other side. In general, negotiating a workable balance among competing interests requires a combination of direct and indirect diplomacy, discussion and consultation, compromise and concession, and above all, flexibility.
The advocate's approach
In the advocacy approach, a skilled negotiator usually serves as advocate for one party to the negotiation and attempts to obtain the most favorable outcomes possible for that party. In this process the negotiator attempts to...