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 Power and Negotiation  posted by  duggu   on 1/2/2008  Add Courseware to favorites Add To Favorites  
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Williams, Michele, 15.665B Power and Negotiation, Fall 2002. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT OpenCourseWare), (Accessed 10 Jul, 2010). License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA

A diagram from lecture notes - separating issues in negotiation.

A diagram from lecture notes - separating issues in negotiation. (Courtesy of Prof. Michele Williams.)

Course Highlights

Professor Williams describes this course as "experiential." At the heart of the course is a set of negotiation exercises in which student have the opportunity to apply what they have learned from readings and class discussion. A bibliography of the exercises and videos used in the course are listed in the syllabus. A number of lecture notes and assignments are also provided.

Course Description

This course is designed to provide you with a competitive advantage in negotiation. You will learn and practice the technical skills and analytic frameworks that are necessary to negotiate successfully with peers from other top business schools, and you will learn methods for developing the powerful social capital you will need to rise in the executive ranks of any organization.

In this course, you will learn to successfully face the challenge of negotiating materially rewarding deals while also building your social capital. You will work with training materials on leadership and relationship building that have been used with over 200 principals and partners in international professional service firms (40% were non-US nationals), and a social capital assessment tool used by these executives to receive feedback from senior partners and over 2000 clients. In addition, you will have the opportunity to participate in a lunchtime workshop on "Leadership and Emotional Intelligence" led by an executive coach, Charles Wolfe of Charles J Wolfe Associates.

Overall, this course is designed to enhance your ability to negotiate within the context of an ongoing relationship. As a manager, consultant, or professional service provider you will negotiate with your counterparts, team members, clients, and subordinates on an ongoing basis. Further, in today's less hierarchical organizations, you will be forced to negotiate with others to get your work done. Every time a project falls behind, critical new information is uncovered, or the competitive landscape of your industry changes, you will need to renegotiate tasks, plans, goals, or fees with your key stakeholders.

In sum, we will focus both on the analytic tools necessary to become a highly successful negotiator and on the relationship building skills necessary to negotiate deals that will enhance your social capital, your ability to lead others, and your book of loyal clients.


Course Objectives

The objective of this course includes improving your ability to

  • negotiate effectively
  • analyze negotiation situations
  • develop a strategic plan for effective negotiation
  • gain an intellectual understanding of negotiator behavior
  • develop interpersonal strategies for increasing your social capital
  • increase your emotional intelligence
  • gain confidence as a negotiator

The purpose of this course is to understand the theory and processes of negotiation and power of social capital so that you can negotiate successfully in a variety of settings. This course will provide you with the opportunity to develop skills experientially, understand useful analytical frameworks, grasp how social capital is created and destroyed, and appreciate the role of emotion in many negotiation situations. 

Each week, we will cover an aspect of negotiation in depth, explicate some key issues, discuss the reading, and examine critical issues that have been raised with regard to your experience. The course is designed to be relevant for a broad spectrum of negotiation problems faced by managers, consultants, etc.

Meeting Times:
This course meets once a week.

Grading for this Course

There are 3 distinct components to grading that add up to 100% as indicated below.

1. Class participation (15%)1

  •  Quality of discussion in class (5%)
  •  Performance on negotiation exercises (10%)  
    • Quantitative performance [negotiation outcome] (5%)
    • Qualitative performance [negotiation process] (5%)

2. Pre-Exercise Diagnoses and Journals (60%) (focus on your understanding of core concepts and your development as a negotiator)

  • Weekly pre-exercise diagnoses (30%)
    Analyze case exercise materials for negotiation situation of all parties involved. Use terminology, frameworks, and concepts from the course to develop a strategy for the in-class role-play exercises (2 pages each, 550 word limit).
  • Analytic Journal (30%)
    • Analytic Journal Assignment A (15%): Analyze one of the role-play negotiation exercises from this course using the terminology, frameworks, and concepts introduced in the course. For part I, 2-3 pages, describe and critique your behavior and the behavior of all other parties involved. For part II, 1 page, provide feedback to your counterpart (in total, 3-4 pages, 1125 word limit).
    • Analytic Journal Assignment B (15%): Analyze a "real-world" negotiation experience from your personal or professional life using the terminology, frameworks, and concepts from the course. The negotiation may be one that you have already completed, one that is current and/or ongoing, or one that you anticipate facing in the near future. (3 pages, 825 word limit) 

3. Short Paper, 4-6 pages, 1650 word max. (25%)

  • "Best-Self" Self-Evaluation and Negotiation Goals Paper (Analysis of your own negation style and sources of power-i.e., your strengths, weaknesses, and goals for development.) Your paper will analyze assessment tests such as the FIRO Element B, peer feedback, and the University of Michigan "Best-Self" assessment exercise.

4. Scoring of assignments will be evaluated according to the following criteria

  • Demonstrated understanding of concepts and tools from this course
  • Appropriate and through application of course concepts to your chosen topic
  • Appropriate application and cited reference to concepts from course readings
  • Demonstrated ability to introspect and critique your own ideas and behavior
  • Demonstrated ability to understand the perspectives, actions and emotions of others
  • Creativity in developing elegant solutions to problems
  • Creativity in developing suggestions and goals for improved future negotiations
  • Overall quality of arguments and clarity of expressed ideas

1 Class attendance and on-time arrival are prerequisites for class participation credit.

Teaching and Learning Format

This class is designed to be experiential. The core of the course is a series of negotiation exercises. These exercises are framed and analyzed in terms of readings, lecture, and in-depth class discussions. The course will also include one or two optional workshops lead by executive coaches. In addition, a panel discussion with professional service experts is being arranged.

Course Reading
The major reading for this course will be found in three books and a course packet, which contains chapters from key books on negotiation as well as relevant Harvard Business Review articles. The three required books are as follows: Essentials of Negotiation, Getting to Yes, and Getting Past No. You will also find a list of recommended books at the end of the syllabus.

Lewicki, R. J., D. M. Saunders, and J.W. Minton. Essentials of Negotiation. 2nd ed. Boston, MA: McGraw-Hill, 2001.

Fisher, R., W. Ury, and B. Patton. Getting to Yes. 2nd ed. New York: Penguin Books, 1991.

W. Ury. Getting Past No. New York: Bantam Books, 1991.

Required Self-assessments:

  1. Keirsey Sorter (MBTI)
  2. FIRO Element B (online)

Weekly Reading Assignments: I have selected some readings relevant to each week's discussion. Lectures and discussion will assume familiarity with the assigned readings. You should be aware, however, that I may add or subtract reading assignments as we go along in response to the dynamics of the course.



  1       Introduction and Distributive Bargaining       New Recruit      
  2       Integrative Bargaining       Computron      
  3       Advanced Integrative Bargaining       El-Tek      
  4       Tacit Negotiations and Perceptual Barriers to Negotiation       Sharc     Analytic Journal A Due
          Optional Lecture: Emotional Intelligence Workshop             Guest speaker: Charles J. Wolfe, Charles J. Wolfe Associates
  5       Negotiation Subprocesses I: Emotion Barriers and Emotional Intelligence       Chem-E      
  6       Negotiation Subprocesses II: Communication and Listening Barriers       The Coleman Account (video case) and Amanda      
  7       Negotiation Subprocesses III: Difficult People as Barriers and Third-party Solutions       Telepro     Best-Self Assignment Due
  8       Multiparty Negotiations: Power and Coalition Building       Federated Science      
  9       Power and Politics of Negotiating Change       Negotiating Change      
  10       Panel of Experts: Negotiating Long-Term Relationships       Wrap up Negotiating Change (1st half of class)
Expert Panel (2nd half of class)
    Analytic Journal Assignment B Due
  11       The Power of Teams in Negotiation       Global Negotiation, Part I      
  12       Global Negotiations       Global Negotiation, Part II      
  13       Wrap-up       Conclude Global Negotiations     Take Aways Assignment Due
                Tell A Friend