OTPIC Officially Retired

As of December 2, 2005, the Online Training Program on Intractable Conflict (OTPIC) has been officially retired, and is no longer open to new registrations.

The successor to OTPIC is a course called Dealing Constructively with Intractable Conflicts (DCIC). The new curriculum is built around one of our major projects, Beyond Intractability, and offers a much more extensive and informative set of learning materials than that available through OTPIC.

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International Online Training Program On Intractable Conflict

Conflict Research Consortium, University of Colorado, USA

Soft Bargaining

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    In their best-selling book on negotiation, Getting to Yes, Fisher, Ury, and Patton compare three kinds of negotiation or bargaining: soft, hard, and principled. Like hard bargaining, soft bargaining involves the negotiation of positions, rather than interests. However, to avoid the common problems associated with bargaining over positions, the negotiators will take a "soft" approach: treating the participants as friends, seeking agreement at almost any cost, and offering concessions easily in the interests of preserving (or creating) a good relationship with the other side. Soft bargainers will trust the other side, and will be open and honest about their bottom line. This leaves them vulnerable to hard bargainers who will act competitively–offering few, if any concessions, concealing their bottom line, even making threats. In a negotiation between a hard bargainer and a soft bargainer, the hard bargainer will almost always emerge with a substantially better deal. (Yet two hard bargainers competing against each other may end up both losing–hence the advice to bargain hard in all cases is not wise.) Fisher, Ury, and Patton suggest that principled negotiation–which negotiates interests rather than positions is the best alternative to either hard or soft bargaining.

Links to Examples of Soft  Bargaining

Dean Pruitt--Strategic Choice in Negotiation
Pruitt discusses four basic negotiation strategies--problem solving, contending, yielding , and inaction, and the way in which each of these affects the   negotiation's outcome.  Yielding is essentially the same as soft bargaining.
D. Lax and J. Sebenius, "The Manager as Negotiator: The Negotiator's Dilemma: Creating and Claiming Value
This article discusses when to use hard bargaining, when to use soft, and how to solve the dilemma of choosing between those two approaches

Links to Related Approaches

Hard Bargaining

Principled Negotiation

Links to Related Problems

Refusal to Negotiate

Poor Process or Structure

Copyright 1998 Conflict Research Consortium  -- Contact: crc@colorado.edu