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Both styles remain predominant in negotiating and Craver introduces the reader to some of the research on the effectiveness of practitioners of these two dominant negotiating styles. It is interesting research.
Craver cites a study of the negotiating styles of practicing attorneys conducted by Professor Gerald Williams of Brigham Young University some twenty years ago that may surprise many readers. According to Professor Williams’ research, most practicing lawyers do not use an adversarial style in their negotiations. Two thirds of the attorneys, as viewed by their colleagues, used a cooperative approach and only twenty-five percent of the lawyers were seen as practitioners of an adversarial style of negotiations (p.10).
More importantly, peer assessment concluded that cooperative negotiators fared far better than adversarial attorneys in the negotiating arena. Fifty-nine percent of the cooperative style negotiators were viewed as effective negotiators and only a miniscule 3 percent were considered ineffective. Only 25 percent of the adversarial style negotiators were deemed effective by their peers and a staggering 33 percent were judged to be ineffective. A more recent study reported last year by Professor Andrea Kupfer Schneider, found over half of adversarial style negotiators were considered ineffective by their peers (p.10).
There is much that the negotiator can draw from these findings, not the least of which is that the intelligent negotiator must be able to adapt and operate successfully in an arena of diverse approaches. Reliance on a singular style, as Professor Craver well illustrates is a recipe for disaster.
Given this, Craver offers a third style as the best primary style for the intelligent negotiator. The Innovator approach, as the author calls his preferred style, is a hybrid of both of the preeminent negotiating approaches. Its hallmarks are beginning with principled offers, matching one’s counterpart on how much and what is disclosed, relying on objective criteria and recognizing that the primary goal of the negotiator is to obtain beneficial results for themselves and secondarily for the opponent.
The core of the book, however, is far from a discourse on a singular approach, but rather the teaching of the underlying fundamental skills and techniques that every negotiator regardless of their approach requires to succeed in practicing the art. The book, therefore, is an intelligent negotiator’s guide to the practice of negotiations.
Craver explores the process thoroughly and leads his reader through the tough issues confronting every negotiator with concise and well-reasoned advice. The author shows the reader the importance of setting high goals, even increasing them before negotiations begin. He gives the reader solid advice on how to construct an opening offer and coaches the negotiator on its critical impact on the psychology and course of the negotiations to follow. The reader learns how an opening offer operates as an anchor, its role in bracketing the negotiating settlement range and its use in framing the other party’s perception of gain and loss in the potential agreement. If these concepts are not clear to you, they are clearly explained in Craver’s work.
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