Helping Students Identify and Respond to Hardball Tactics in Negotiation: a Series of Classroom Activities


  • Ed Wertheim Northeastern University


While those teaching negotiations understandably focus on integrative (win-win) negotiations as the most effective mode of conflict resolution, it is important to discuss distributive (win-lose or competitive) modes.  We must help prepare students to deal effectively with counterparts who use more competitive approaches.  This paper presents an effective way to teach about various competitive (hardball) tactics and how students might deal with such tactics.  Dealing with “hardball tactics” is a topic of strong interest to students.  They typically negotiate with people with more power than they have, and dealing with people with more power and people who use hardball tactics is high on a list of concerns.