Key Characteristics of Position-Based Negotiation

Negotiation is a skill that permeates our personal and professional lives, but it takes on various forms and approaches. Position-based negotiation is one approach to successful agreements that centres on asserting and defending positions to reach favourable agreements. We will examine the key characteristics of Position-based negotiation here to show how best this method may be deployed.

What is Position-Based Negotiation?

Before discussing the key characteristics of Position-based negotiation, we should know what it is! It is a method of bargaining where parties define their initial positions, often extreme, and make concessions to reach an agreement. This approach is characterised by 

  • focusing on positions
  • Concession-making
  • limited information sharing
  • commonly employed in high-stakes negotiations

Also, read our blog post on “how to negotiate” for a better understanding!

Characteristic Features of Position-Based Negotiation

Here are the key characteristics of Position-based negotiation!

Focus on Positions

In position-based negotiation, the emphasis is placed on the positions taken by each party. Rather than finding underlying interests or needs, negotiators declare their starting points and then work towards an agreement through compromise. For instance, in a salary negotiation, an employer may start with a low initial salary offer, and the employee may start with a high one. Both parties then adjust their positions through this process.

Examples of How Positions Can Be Used

  • In a real estate deal, the buyer might initially offer a significantly lower price than the asking price, while the seller aims for a higher price. They then meet somewhere in the middle.
  • During a labour union agreement, workers may demand substantial wage increases while the company aims to control costs. The final agreement will involve both sides making concessions.

Read more about negotiation fundamentals here!

Importance of Concessions

Concessions are a pivotal component of this approach. Negotiators are expected to give and take, gradually moving closer to a mutually acceptable agreement. Making concessions can be a key element in building trust and rapport among parties.

Examples of How Concessions Can Be Used

  • In a business acquisition, the buyer might offer to take on certain liabilities of the seller while the seller agrees to a lower purchase price.
  • In international diplomacy, nations may exchange concessions on trade tariffs and security agreements to foster cooperation.

Read our blog post on client communication for a better understanding!

Limited Information Sharing

One of the key characteristics of Position-based negotiation is the limited information sharing. Parties may strategically withhold information or provide partial details to gain an advantage. This approach can create a sense of uncertainty that can be leveraged during agreements.

Examples of How Limited Information Sharing Can Be Used

  • In a vendor-client debate, the vendor may not disclose their production costs, giving them room to adjust prices in response to the client’s initial offer.
  • In a legal settlement, one party may withhold crucial evidence until a late stage, leading the other party to agree to more favourable terms in exchange for its disclosure.

Check out our blog post on the keynote speaker here!

High-Stakes Negotiations

This approach is often deployed in high-stakes scenarios, where the outcome can have far-reaching consequences. It allows parties to be competitive and assertive while striving for advantageous agreements.

Examples of How This Approach Can Be Effective

  • Nuclear disarmament talks between superpowers often begin with extreme demands and gradually shift toward mutually agreeable terms.
  • International peace agreements may initially involve harsh demands and limited cooperation, eventually leading to treaties that prevent conflicts.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, position-based negotiation is a method that places a strong emphasis on positions, concessions, and limited information sharing and is frequently used in high-stakes negotiations. Negotiators can leverage key characteristics to boost their skills and maximize success by understanding and employing these features effectively. 

At Necademy, we know that this approach might not fit every scenario perfectly. Still, it remains an effective and essential asset in the negotiation toolbox, helping achieve favourable outcomes even under challenging conditions. If you want to know more about the key characteristics of Position-based negotiation, feel free to ask in the comment section!