• Course Introduction

        Negotiation refers to the process of interacting in order to advance individual interests through joint action.  Contrary to what you might think, negotiations are not confined to the professional world; we often negotiate in our personal lives.  The principles that guide successful negotiations in world politics are equally important in the business world as well as our personal lives.  In fact, almost every transaction with another individual involves negotiation.  As you will learn in this course, negotiation, conflict resolution, and relationship management are complex processes.  Successful practitioners possess and apply a blend of perceptual, persuasive, analytical, and interpersonal skills that you will examine carefully in this course.

        In the ever-changing environment of modern business, firms start and grow by virtue of successful negotiations and by developing long-term relationships among two, three, or more parties involved, either directly or indirectly, in various business processes.  By the same token, such relationships can break down due to ineffective negotiating behavior and conflict management approaches.  Such breakdowns can also occur because of misunderstandings and misperceptions of the other parties' positions and interests.

        This course will start with the conceptual framework of negotiations as it applies to all areas of negotiation in both the public and private sectors.  As the course progresses, you will focus on business negotiation skills and strategies designed to help you maintain healthy business relationships.  Specifically, you will learn about the concepts, processes, strategies, and ethical issues related to negotiation as well as appropriate conduct in multicultural business contexts.  You will also learn to better understand the theory, processes, and practices of negotiation, conflict resolution, and relationship management so that you can be a more effective negotiator in a wide variety of situations.  If you take advantage of the opportunities this course offers, you will be more comfortable and more productive managing negotiations as well as professional and personal relationships.

        You will examine strategies that are effective as well as those that are not.  If a strategy works, you will determine how well it works and discuss alternatives to the less effective approaches.   You will also identify various patterns of negotiation and conflict resolution in different national and cultural contexts, and you will gain an understanding of the influence of national and cultural variations in the decision-making process.

        By the end of this course, you will have developed an understanding of the principles, strategies, and tactics of effective negotiation, conflict resolution, and relationship management and enhanced your ability to assess the impact of interpersonal styles, personality, culture, and other variables that influence negotiation.

      • Unit 1: What Is Negotiation?

        Negotiations (also referred to as "bargaining”) take place in a range of contexts.  While the objectives of this course focus on business negotiations, you will learn that negotiation principles apply to a vast and diverse range of personal, business, and public situations. You could find yourself negotiating a weekend curfew with your teenager or perhaps a new home purchase.  In business you might negotiate a purchasing contract with a supplier, a new project with employees, or a merger between two major corporations. In the public sector, you might find yourself in the middle of a negotiation on anything from a new school board policy, the content of a new bill with your Congressional representative, or an international trade agreement with China.  Regardless of the context, the basic principles of negotiation are the same.  Whether you are involved in a friendly exchange or a high-stakes conflict resolution, you are essentially in a two-way communication for the purpose of reaching an agreement.  The same skills that diplomats use to negotiate international peace agreements will help you become a more effective business negotiator.

        Completing this unit should take you approximately 7 hours.

        • Unit 2: Negotiation Strategies and Biases

          According to the Stanford Graduate School of Business, "Successful bargaining means looking for positives in every possible circumstance.”  You cannot accomplish this without careful planning.  The product of the careful negotiation planning is your negotiation strategy.  The strategy you use in a negotiation is heavily reliant on the outcome that you desire.  An understanding of the principles, strategies, and tactics used by effective negotiators will help you become more confident in your ability to choose a negotiation strategy that will help you accomplish your goals.  Perhaps more important than planning an appropriate strategy is to become knowledgeable about what motivates us and our counterparts to make decisions.  In this unit, you will learn about various biases that affect our decision making and how to use this knowledge to overcome obstacles to clear, objective, and effective negotiations.  In subsequent units, you will learn how to apply these concepts to specific negotiation theories in order to add or create value for all participants to the negotiation.

          Completing this unit should take you approximately 13 hours.

          • Unit 3: Processes and Phases of Negotiation

            As you have progressed through learning materials in Units 1 and 2, you have learned that regardless of the inevitability of conflict in your life, you can choose from an array of negotiation approaches to manage the conflict effectively.  In this unit, you are going to consider some basic principles from time-tested negotiation theory.  You will explore both competitive and collaborative negotiation strategies.  In addition, you will learn about four distinct phases in the negotiation process and how appropriate implementation of each phase will lead to effective negotiation.  By the end of this unit, you will see that you do not always have to settle for your piece of the pie.  Using a successful negotiation strategy can make the pie bigger for all concerned.

            Completing this unit should take you approximately 15 hours.

          • Unit 4: Managing Different Types of Business Negotiations

            In this unit, you will learn about factors that are important for negotiating in an organizational context.  Business negotiations can include negotiating your salary, ironing out contracts with your company's suppliers, settling contract issues with a labor union, or negotiating a merger.  You will consider how to negotiate as the underdog in business-to-business transactions.  Transformational negotiations can go beyond providing a win-win solution to a problem; they can help you build alliances.  By the end of this unit, you will no longer look across the negotiation table and see an adversary; rather, you will learn to regard your counterpart as a partner engaged in a collaborative effort in building a long-term strategic alliance.

            Completing this unit should take you approximately 14 hours.

          • Unit 5: Conflict Resolution

            Perhaps you feel that conflict is an inevitable part of life.  If you agree, you are not alone.  Have you have ever driven a car in rush hour traffic?  Have you ever been faced with an angry customer (or been that angry customer)?  Are your coworkers or employees less than perfect 100 percent of the time?  Any of these scenarios can result in conflict.  Unless it is managed properly, conflict can damage an organization and destroy interpersonal relationships.

            In this unit, you will learn how conflict can be a positive influence if it is managed properly.  In fact, conflict that is effectively resolved can help personal and professional relationships grow and strengthen.   You will explore some alternatives to the potential lose-lose outcome of conflict.  By the end of this unit, you will be familiar with ways to diagnose conflict and apply new strategies to solving the problems associated with conflict.

            Completing this unit should take you approximately 11 hours to complete.

          • Unit 6: International and Cross Cultural Negotiation

            Negotiating across national and cultural boundaries raises additional challenges for participants.  All of us are a product of the culture and geographical areas in which we were raised and now live.  Culture creates biases in our perceptions, motivations, interests, and strategies, which may give rise to a host of conflicts in the negotiating process.  Aspects of culture that may affect negotiations include such things as language, dialect, societal norms, business etiquette, religion, values, cuisine, hygiene, comfort, and personal preferences.  International negotiations are also often impacted by historical events, nationalism, legal restrictions, tariffs, geographic distance, topographic conditions, multilateral alliances, and political conflicts.

            Completing this unit should take you approximately 23 hours.

          • Optional Course Evaluation Survey

            Please take a few moments to provide some feedback about this course at the link below. Consider completing the survey whether you have completed the course, you are nearly at that point, or you have just come to study one unit or a few units of this course.

            Link: Optional Course Evaluation Survey (HTML)

            Your feedback will focus our efforts to continually improve our course design, content, technology, and general ease-of-use. Additionally, your input will be considered alongside our consulting professors' evaluation of the course during its next round of peer review. As always, please report urgent course experience concerns to contact@saylor.org and/or our Discourse forums.