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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Business School : Business Studies

Undergraduate Course: Negotiation (BUST10039)

Course Outline
SchoolBusiness School CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course addresses an area where many resource allocation decisions depend not on the outcome of market forces but on the interplay of bargaining between two or more groups. Such situations may be found in purchasing a car, a carpet, or a house; in contracting for the services of a painter, a builder, or a plumber; in determining the terms and conditions of one's individual employment; in corporate take-overs; in union-management agreements concerning groups of workers; in free trade agreements within groups of countries; in divorce settlements; in setting regulatory conditions; in determining the location of an environmentally dangerous facility; and in many other areas of resource allocation.
Course description Some of the important considerations that bear on such situations have long been understood in economics, e.g. the concept of reservation price. Others are only now being addressed. These new developments principally concern game theory and can be traced back to the work of Thomas Schelling as summarised in his The Strategy of Conflict. More recent examples of this line of work can be found in Avinash Dixit and Barry Nalebuff's Thinking Strategically. It has to be emphasised that this is not a course in game theory and does not pursue the theoretical approach. The approach we will adopt here is more behavioural and applied.

This course attempts to recognise that the proper understanding of negotiation requires we go beyond the traditional boundaries of economics and management science, and address notions of bounded rationality, biases in decision making, social influence etc. What is outlined here is not a course in game theory. This course will place much greater emphasis on bounded rationality. It will also make extensive use of role playing and group based simulations. There will, therefore, be a substantial "practical" component to the teaching.

Outline Content

1. Determining price and value; BATNA; zone of agreement; focal point; the canonical distributive bargaining case.
2. Perceptions and biases; framing; anchoring; escalation.
3. Strategic behaviour - two parties; commitment; integrative versus distributive negotiation.
4. Strategic behaviour - more than two issues; more than two parties; coalitions.
5. Bargaining over positions versus principles.
6. Third parties; facilitators, mediators, arbitrators and rule manipulators; negotiating via information technology.
7. Negotiation in the Shadow of the Law.
8. Strikes.
9. Environmental conflict resolution.
10. Ethics of negotiation; fairness; lies versus 'strategic misrepresentations'.
11. Negotiation and culture; Body Language.
12. Electronic Negotiation

Student Learning Experience

Negotiation cases and simulations form an important part of the course. In each case you will be asked to sign-up for a particular role in a case, e.g. the buyer of a used car. You will then be assigned to a "team", e.g. matched up with the seller of a used car. Each team will have a physical area in which they can negotiate in privacy. Sometimes the lecture theatre itself will suffice. At other times you will be free to break out into other spaces. Combining these exercises with a coffee break is fine (and, indeed, we shall see that social interaction plays an important part in negotiation), but please maintain your focus on the exercise at hand and return to the lecture theatre by the deadline set. Late returns to class will miss the all-important 'de-briefing' component of the learning exercise.

Even more so than in other courses, attendance is essential. As an important part of learning in this course comes through the role playing exercises you are strongly advised to attend all teaching and learning sessions. Any student who, for whatever reason, fails to attend three or more of the teaching and learning sessions is advised to drop the course in favour of some alternative.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements Business Honours entry
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Understand some of the economic theories that are relevant to the negotiation process.
  2. Understand and discuss critically components of the negotiation process.
  3. Apply the principles of the negotiation process to negotiation in practice.
  4. Understand and apply the concept of bounded rationality.
Reading List
The principal text for the course is:

Leigh Thompson, The Mind and Heart of the Negotiator, Prentice Hall, Pearson; 7th edition Global Edition (2021), OR there are earlier editions that serve equally well. Clearly newer is better.
Main Library (HUB SHORT LOAN) - Ground floor Shelfmark: HD58.6 Tho.

Alternative texts which cover some aspects of the course are:

Howard Raiffa, John Richardson and David Metcalfe, Negotiation Analysis, The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2002, pp548. (STANDARD LOAN - 2nd floor HD58.6 Rai.)

Howard Raiffa, The Art and Science of Negotiation, Harvard University Press, 1982, 373pp.,Main Library [SHORT LOAN] - Shelfmark: BF637.N4 Rai.

Max H Bazerman and Margaret A Neale, Negotiating Rationally, New York: Free Press. 1992 (.3011554 Baz)

An entertaining and insightful background overview of the area is available in:

Kennedy, Gavin (1989, 1994), Everything is Negotiable. Hutchinson (Short loan: BF637.N4Ken or .311.116Ken).

Resource List:
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Cognitive Skills

After completing this course, students should be able to:

Be self-motivated; curious; show initiative; set, achieve and surpass goals; as well as demonstrating adaptability, capable of handling complexity and ambiguity, with a willingness to learn; as well as being able to demonstrate the use digital and other tools to carry out tasks effectively, productively, and with attention to

Knowledge and Understanding

After completing this course, students should be able to:

Demonstrate a thorough knowledge and understanding of contemporary organisational disciplines; comprehend the role of business within the contemporary world; and critically evaluate and synthesise primary and secondary research and sources of evidence in order to make, and present, well informed and transparent organisation-related decisions, which have a positive global impact.

Identify, define and analyse theoretical and applied business and management problems, and develop approaches, informed by an understanding of appropriate quantitative and/or qualitative techniques, to explore
and solve them responsibly.
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserProf Brian Main
Tel: (0131 6)50 8360
Course secretaryMs Heather Ferguson
Tel: (0131 6)50 8074
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