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When individuals negotiate, they must initially use the Information Stage to create value by discussing the different issues to be addressed and by exploring the interests underlying those items. They must be willing to disclose their basic interests if progress is to be made, but they are usually not entirely candid for strategic purposes. They may over-state the degree to which they want items they think the other side values and under-state the degree to which they want items they believe the other side does not value. They then move into the Distributive Stage to decide how their joint surplus is to be divided. This is usually a highly competitive part of their interaction as each side endeavors to claim a greater share of the surplus. Once they have reached a tentative agreement, they should use the Cooperative Stage to see if they can still expand the overall pie and improve their respective positions. The inherent tension between value creation and value claiming results from the need for the participants to be sufficiently open during the Information Stage to let the parties know what they have to share, but not so open that they cannot use skilled techniques to let them claim a greater share of the surplus during the Distributive Stage.

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