My Approach to Ethical Systems:
Most weeks I teach negotiation to corporate leaders, and I coach teams who want to implement a Mutual Gains Approach to Negotiation in highly competitive situations. My work has taken me to more than two dozen countries and across nearly every industry.
I find that negotiations are often moments at which “the rubber hits the road” in terms of how people understand situations and how they reconcile many competing goals (including psychological ones). Most high-stakes commercial negotiations on behalf of companies and business units create tension and conflict within the organization, because organizations pay people to worry about different things.
This “inside-outside” problem, as it is called in the negotiation field, can lead to a lot of self-serving rationalizations. But it can also serve as an enormous learning opportunity for organizations who adopt a different stance toward negotiation. Larry Susskind and I have written much more about this and other things in our book, Built to Win: Creating A World Class Negotiating Organization (2009, Harvard Business Press). I also write articles, role-play simulations and cases, and write and direct films showing specific kinds of negotiations.
I come to negotiations as a clinical and social psychologist, and I consult to the Virginia Affective Neuroscience Lab and have an abiding interest in the neural and affective mechanisms involved in self-management, and the dilemmas that everyday life presents to us on a daily basis.
Finally, I think a lot about the nature of political differences, the psychological needs and preferences that may underlie such differences, and implications for practitioners who want to promote more innovative and productive policy conversations. My colleagues at the Consensus Building Institute serve as neutrals in complex disputes and policy dialogues, working on projects in the US and in many countries around the world. I learn a lot from them.
My Ethical Systems Research page: Negotiation
My Major Relevant Publications:
- Resolve: Negotiating Life’s Conflicts with Greater Confidence (2017) (public library) How to handle life’s negotiations more effectively and with less stress by developing three distinct types of confidence: mastery, awareness, and poise.
- Built to Win: Creating a World Class Negotiating Organization (2009) (public library). This book is about negotiating deals that protect key relationships, which are often overlooked in the pursuit for deals that achieve competitive advantage.
- “How we feel about the deal,” article in Negotiation Journal (2011).
- “The effectiveness of negotiation training,” article in Negotiation Journal (2008).
- “Tailoring the mutual gains approach to negotiation for counterparts in Japan, China, and Korea,” article in Negotiation Journal (2006).
- “Why Harvard Is So Hard to Lead,” article in Chronicle of Higher Education (2006).