Negotiating Outcomes: Book Review by Francine Cullari

Written by Francine Cullari on November 25, 2019. Posted by Alexis Menard on December 10, 2019 at 12:50 pm

Negotiating Outcomes (Harvard Business School Pocket Mentor Series, Harvard Business School Press, Boston, MA, 2007)

Among the plethora of business advice books and articles, the Harvard Business School Pocket Mentor Series provides the most complete albeit concise advice on ten topics ranging from leading teams to managing projects to negotiating outcomes.  Negotiating Outcomes has 94 pages of cogent steps to having success in any type of negotiation process.  Alumni have on occasion contacted me to report favorable results using the recommended techniques in purchasing a car, being interviewed for employment, and investment club policy.

The booklet first distinguishes between distributive negotiation, in which a gain by one side is made at the expense of the other (win-lose), and integrative negotiation, in which joint and individual is the goal for both sides (win-win). Tactics for each type of negotiation are explored.  Steps prior to negotiation, including various preparation forms, the first meeting of negotiators, and negotiation itself are identified and explained. 

Specific steps are recommended to deal with barriers to agreement, such as lack of trust, saboteurs, differences in gender and culture, communication problems, irrational escalation, partisan perception, overconfidence, unchecked emotions and unreasonable expectations.

There are numerous books on how to negotiate, but it unlikely you will find an easier-to-read, easier-to-use, thoroughly clear, and inexpensive aid.

-Francine Cullari, MA, MBA, JD