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Dealcrafting; The Substance of Three-Dimensional Negotiations

NCJ Number
Negotiation Journal Volume: 18 Issue: 1 Dated: January 2002 Pages: 5-27
David A. Lax; James K. Sebenius
Date Published
23 pages
This article sets out the basic principles of successful, mutually beneficial negotiations, which the authors refer to as dealcrafting.
The authors of this article describe a three-dimensional approach to negotiations. Rather than focusing simply on the process of negotiation, as is the case in a one-dimensional approach, the authors look beyond process to lay out the basic principles for crafting value-creating deals in negotiations. The authors describe two-dimensional negotiation as focused on the potential value that is latent in the negotiation process. The focus of this article is on what they refer to as dealcrafting, which involves the negotiation of value agreements. The authors suggest three broad strategies for effective dealcrafting. First, rather than trying to directly increase individual shares through a value-claiming argument, the authors suggest that a joint focus on expanding the total resources, then allocating these resources appropriately, will maximize individual as well as joint results. Second, instead of searching for common ground and shared interests during a negotiation, negotiators need to understand the benefit of differences. Complementary differences may turn out to be extremely profitable when combined. Finally, by looking outside the locus of those immediately involved, a differences approach may suggest a change in the game -- by adding or subtracting various variables that have complementary differences -- for mutual benefit. Throughout the article, the authors use numerous case examples to illustrate these basic principles of dealcrafting. Tables, notes, and references