Reasoned negotiation

This negotiating method was invented in the 1970s, by Law Professors Roger Fisher and William Ury from Harvard University.

They used this method for the first time in 1978, for the Camp David agreements; in 1979, they founded the Harvard Negotiation Project.

This method is based on 4 principles:

Separating personal questions from the problem to be solved

Negotiating on the basis of the interests at stake, and not on the starting positions

Coming up with solutions that provide mutual benefits

Using “objective” criteria

Reasoned negotiation avoids haggling during negotiations; it ensures the following:

  • Each party’s needs and concerns are taken into consideration,
  • The use of “objective” criteria grounds the negotiations on tangible, measurable, and reliable elements that are accepted by both parties,
  • The parties can move beyond their emotions, being empowered to negotiate thanks to a positive and constructive technique,
  • The parties come up with a range of possible solutions, one of which will provide both of them with a greater mutual benefit.
  • The parties reach a “win-win” negotiation,
  • The parties preserve or/and restore healthy relationships with each other.

Reasoned negotiation is particularly well suited to labour law, given that in disagreements, there is often an interference with the parties’ personalities and an effect on the emotions, which make it very difficult for them to successfully overcome their emotions.

A lawyer with an expertise in reasoned negotiation can be the person who guides his/her client through the negotiation until they have a satisfactory agreement in hand for all the parties concerned, which accordingly, enables them to maintain good working relations with each other.